From a vendors' food contest to American Idol auditions to the likes of Pitbull and Steely Dan on the grandstand stage, the Illinois State Fair promises something for everybody. The Twilight Parade leads up to the fair's Preview Night Thursday, Aug. 7, with the fair running through Aug. 17.
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“I'd call him a hero,” says state agriculture director Bob Flider of the parade's grand marshal. “His name is Kevin McKee, and he's part of the 2014 Paralympic gold medal sled hockey team.” Flider, the fair's manager, and other state officials were on stage for the preview, set in the fairgrounds' Happy Hollow and highlighting some of the beautification going on in that former carnival space.