I must say, it was fun to be a writer (covering the event for Farm World) at today’s Illinois State Fair Grandstand Preview party and press conference. To remind the attendees of the great fair food, popular food vendors like Vose Korndogs, Fulgenzi’s Pizza, Poe’s Catering offering delectable pulled pork sandwiches and Coleman lemon shakeups were on hand providing fair food for hungry crowd. I admit I had one of each!
Bob Vose of the amazing corn dogs has had years to perfect his specialty. I was able to capture the above picture of Mr. Vose who said, “I have been after it for 47 years. It is just business as usual.”
Radio stations were at the event and I had my picture taken with 101.9 the Wolf mascot before getting down to the real reason I was there, “Oh yeah, to write!”
Animals were also on hand to remind attendees that the fair is all about agriculture. From two lovely Belgium horses that gave Summer Robbins, 2014 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen a ride, to Caleb Whitcomb’s sheep and a pair of hairy llamas they were all crowd pleasers. The Belgium horses were owned by Ken Sexton of Springfield and the lovely Queen got to ride in Jim Winches wooden wagon pulled by the horses that Sexton named Rose and Sandra.
This made smile because two of my good friends that had a chance at New Salem a couple years ago to try out two horses plowing were these very same horses, what is funny though is that my friends, like the mares, are also named Rose and Sandy!
Anyway, I digress, Ken Sexton and Jim Winch saw me taking pictures and how interested I was in the horses and the cool ride the Queen got to take. They offered me the same treatment so I sat like the royalty I am not high on the wagon and got a ride of my own!
About that time the press conference was underway and I thought after eating and playing my way through the beginning of the event I had best get to it. This year’s grandstand entertainment includes a star- studded lineup with Rapper Pitbull, the Chicago cast from the Million Dollar Quartet, country crooners Jake Owner and Hunter Hayes and country band Florida Georgia Line. Rock legends Steely Dan and Boston along with the ten finalists on American Idol will also perform. Two days have yet to be announced. “This year’s entertainment is going to be something you don’t want to miss,” Bliefnick said.
The event wrapped up with good news from Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Robert Flider who shared the results of a University of Illinois study on the impact of the Illinois State Fair. “In 2013, we had 961,000 attendees that generated 86 million to the Springfield area economy. The fair brought 1225 jobs and 2.7 million in sales tax.”
So he said the bottom line is that the 7.3 million spent to put on the fair, “comes back in multiple ways.”
The Illinois State Fair takes place from August 7-17, 2014. Log onto www.illinoisstatefair.info or call 217-782-1979 for more information about the grand stand or fair events.