There is something about being inside a State Fair Grounds before it opens. Walking the grounds without a crowd is magical. At least that’s how it felt when I took a walk around before the Media Day event. The event explains all the new fun facts for the 2019 Illinois State Fair!
Illinois Director of Agriculture John Sullivan along with the Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon and Alexis Bladel, Miss Illinois County Fair Queen and other State Fair dignitaries shared the stage offering information about new offerings.
Located on 360 acres this fair is worth coming to in some ways just to look at the architecture of the buildings.
The theme this year is “Build Our Future” – which is just what they have been doing.
This year the long awaited reopening of the Coliseum will take place. Events will be taking place again inside this historic building. Fair Director Kevin Gordon said that the 118 year old building had been condemned in 2016 due to rusted support column bases and rotted support beams. These have been replaced and this crown jewel has been restored to its original beauty.
For me, this was very exciting news. They have also fixed several roofs, electrical, plumbing and other aspects of the grounds to ensure safety and upgrades. Roads are next on the agenda after the fair.
Everything is waiting for the opening on August 8th. The event takes place the 8th – the 18th making this the end of summer show stopper in Springfield, Illinois. It is also the culmination for many youth that participate in fairs throughout the year.
The fair is more affordable this year!
The Illinois State Fair has lowered the admission prices to make the fair more affordable for families and individuals. There are also free admission on Veterans Day Sunday August 11th and Senior Day Monday August 12th and First Responder’s Day August 16th. Be sure to have ID’s to prove your status.
Way’s to save at the fair.
This year at the fair they are offering a Mid-Week Motivator where visitors can sign up Monday – Friday August 12 – August 15 where various prizes will be awarded each day. Winners names then will be placed in a drawing for a chance to win a grand prize of a drone, golf cart, or hot tub!
To enter, visitors need to sign up at various kiosks located throughout the fair, check the state fair website or listen to Neuhoff Media radio stations for details.
Other fun ways to save money this year include the announcement of “Feeding Frenzy”. When the theme to “Jaws” comes on over the loud speakers several vendors will offer food at 20% off. This value will take place each day from 2-5!
Perhaps the best kept secret at the fair is the Ag tours. On media day several FFA officers Brodee McCormick of Athens Illinois (State Recorder) Colin E. White of Forest City (Secretary), Gage Miller (President) Emma Freebairn of Ottawa (Treasurer) and Lane Harvey of Fairfield (Vice President) were on hand. Two members, Brodee McCormick and Lane Harvey took me and an anchor from WCIA and an Illinois Department of Agriculture intern for a mock tour.
Mike Hall that heads up the antique tractors on display pulled a people mover and away we went!
The tour includes several agricultural stops throughout the fair. They stop at Piglets on Parade where the new piglets are born. Harness racing, master gardner’ and other fun stops are included. On the ride you learn lots of fun agricultural facts. Did you know horses can run 27 miles per hour and that they can see 360 degrees? Goat meat is one of the fastest increasing meats in Illinois and so much more.
The fact is we are all touched by agriculture in some way or another and these tours help bring this home.
The Illinois State Fair 2019 has lots of entertainment and things to see and do. Don’t forget the exciting Conservation World. Like Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Calahan stated during the media day, Conservation World is like the icing on the cake at the fair. Last year we took the grand kids there and they rock climbed, fished, did archery and more, all for FREE!
What you choose to do is limitless and depends on your personality. The fair really has something for everyone, concerts, races, wine tasting, shopping, even husband calling! The sky is the limit! Oh yeah, there is the sky ride! You can’t leave the fair without that or a visit to the iconic Butter Cow!