You cannot have an Illinois State Fair without the president.
“We’ve arranged to have President Lincoln visit the fair almost every day,” says Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “A Lincoln historic interpreter will bring the sixteenth president to life. He’ll chat with folks, and pose and be available for photos.”
Martin says fairgoers will also have an opportunity to recite the Gettysburg Address before a video camera in the IHPA booth in the Illinois Building during the fair. November is the 150th anniversary of that speech.
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The man in charge of Conservation World says an alliance with the Springfield Arts Association will bring something new to that fair mainstay. “They’re going to have local artists come in … displaying what they do,” says Dave Cassens, division director of special events, programs, and promotions for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. What’s more, “the kids can come down and learn how to weave grasses and baskets and make jewelry out of some of the resources we have.”
The Governor’s Tent will carry the theme “Our Illinois,” spotlighting attractions, products and programs from all over the state. “Many of these are family activities for people of all ages,” said Dave Blanchette, a spokesman for the governor's office. “We’re going to have construction equipment there, courtesy of the Capital Development Board, where kids can have their pictures taken … this is to highlight the Illinois Jobs Now $31 billion capital program.”
The fair’s official opening is Aug. 9, but the Twilight Parade and Preview Night are Aug. 8. The fair runs through Aug. 18.