RANTOUL AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: State Fair begins 11-day run on Thursday
Rantoul Area Chamber Of Commerce issued the following announcement on Aug. 7.
SPRINGFIELD — The state of Illinois is celebrating its 200th birthday with a fun-filled, family-friendly 11-day festival, also known as the 166th annual Illinois State Fair.
“If there’s one word to describe the state fair, it would be ‘special’,” Fair Manager Luke Sailer said. “It means a lot of different things to different people. Everyone has their own special experience, and it’s a special time to learn what our special state has to offer.”
Every year, thousands of people travel to the Illinois State Fairgrounds to experience everything from carnival rides and corn dogs to live concerts and a cow made of butter. Here are a few more exciting things happening at this year’s fair with activities and entertainment for everyone, set for Aug. 9-19.
FOR THE THRILL SEEKERS
Sailer said one of the several new events at the fair this year include the free entertainment area Thrillville. Acts include an acrobatic team known as Pirates of the Sky, a hypnotist known as Two Blondes and a Redhead, magician Nick Sharp and several BMX pros.
“We have a lot of new things this year like the bull, bronco and bareback rodeo Friday night,” Sailer said. “We’ve got a lot of new things changing up Thrillville this year
like the new roller coaster called Crazy Mouse that fairgoers of all ages can enjoy.”
Crazy Mouse is one of the many rides the fair has to offer. Sailer said riders can purchase the unlimited ride mega pass or a one-day wristband for the carnival rides.
FOR THE YOUNGSTERS
The Kid’s Corner and Conservation World, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., offers free shows and activities daily. At the Kid’s Corner, there will be free face painting, diaper changing stations, a coloring mural and more. At Conservation World, patrons can ride in canoes, go fishing and participate in shooting sports across 30 acres of ponds, trees and grass.
Happy Hollow, another free recreational area, consists of Watershed Park, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., where kids can interact with educational water presentations. There will also be demonstrations by the ZuZu African Acrobats, a Reptile Adventure Show, Barnyard Racers, a petting zoo, and the Ancient Athletics/St. Andrews Society Strongman of the Glen Competition.
FOR THE 21+
For the older fairgoers, a demonstration by the Illinois Wine Experience from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily in the Exposition Tent will be able to sample wines from across the state. Admission is free, however, tasting costs $1. Glasses and bottles may be purchased from each winery.
Free admission to the Miller Lite Tent; Budweiser Tent; and Coors Lite Tent will also be available at the fair. Sailer said the price of beer has dropped to $4 this year to keep costs down.
FOR THE GREEN THUMBS
“In Illinois, Ag is our number one industry, which is why the Illinois State Fair’s mantra is ‘Born, Built, Grown’,” Sailer said. “It’s an agricultural showcase. We have the Governor’s Sale of Champions and the Parade of Champions along with the 4-H members.”
For the first weekend, 4-H members will have a chance to showcase their local projects to compete.
“Hundreds of children come to the fair to display and take pride in their projects and animals,” he said. “FFA members and youth exhibitors are available to take people on tours of the barns and teach them about their animals.”
FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT LOVERS
“The fair was fine last year,” Sailer said. “But this year, we’re making it bigger and better than ever. We’ve booked awesome entertainment with big-time stars.”
Mainstage entertainment includes everything from rock, pop, rap and country concerts.
— Aug 10 Boy George and Culture Club with Thomas Twins’ Tom Bailey.
— Aug. 11 Halestorm and Mastodon
— Aug. 12 Foreigner with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
— Aug. 13 Dueling Pianos International
— Aug. 14 Luke Combs
— Aug. 15 311 and The Offspring with Gym Class Heroes
— Aug. 16 Thomas Rhett with Danielle Bradbery
— Aug. 17 Brett Eldredge with Devin Dawson
— Aug. 18 Flo Rida and Ludacris with Childish Major
— Aug. 19 Brantley Gilbert with Muscadine Bloodline
The multipurpose arena will host the Outlaw 5J Rodeo Aug. 10, lawnmower racing Aug. 11, truck and tractor pulls Aug. 13-15, the USAC Silver Crown 100 Sportsman Nationals and the demolition derby Aug. 18. and the ARCA Racing Series 100 Nationals on Aug. 19.
“Really, the only thing that sets the Illinois State Fair apart from other fairs is our multipurpose arena with events that anyone can enjoy,” Sailer said.
FOR THE PENNY-PINCHERS
“The fair is family-friendly and affordable,” he said. “All of our concerts cost money, but we have so much free entertainment available.”
The other free entertainment stages and areas at the fair include Ethnic Village, the Hobbies, Lincoln Stage, Arts and Crafts Tent, the Apex Stage, the Twilight Ballroom and the Rising Star Stage.
Josh Whitman, the athletic director at the University of Illinois, will give a fall football preview at the Rising Star Stage Aug. 13.
Original source can be found here.