The Illinois State Fair is a lively annual event that takes place each August in Springfield. Over eleven days in August, concerts and entertainment, rides and attractions, horse racing, and camping provide a variety of options for locals and tourists alike to have some end-of-summer fun. Each of the days has a different theme, from preview night, to horse racing day, senior citizens day, and family day. Hundreds of competitions keep up the excitement during the State Fair of Illinois including Grand Champion Livestock.
The Illinois State Fairgrounds offers many services to visitors to ensure a smooth visit in Springfield. Child care facilities and wheelchair services ensure that all visitors can take part in the fun of the State Fair in Springfield Illinois. For the duration of the fair, the Illinois State Fairgrounds are open from 7 am to midnight, and buildings are open from 9 am to 9 pm. Springfield's location close to a major airport with access to rental cars makes it easy for travelers to add it to any Illinois vacation itinerary. The city is a few hours' drive from Chicago and Rockford, but the fair is still an easy overnight trip for anyone visiting other cities in Illinois.
There is a concert to satisfy any music lover at the State Fair in Springfield Illinois. Whether it's country, classical, or something else entirely, each night sees different genres of performances. The twilight ballroom is open nightly from 8 pm to 11 pm and features performances of jazz and swing music. At Country Junction, first-class entertainment is provided for the country-music lover. The apex stage features performances of young entertainers, who might just be tomorrow’s big stars. These performances take place on one of the fair’s free twelve stages. Concerts featuring contemporary artists are also offered at the Illinois State Fair, and performers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, American Idol runner-up Bo Bice, and Kelly Clarkson have taken the stage. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster, and they go on sale months in advance.
Music isn’t the only entertainment at the State Fair in Springfield Illinois. Kids Korner offers family entertainment, including face painting and a play area for toddlers. Ethnic Village is a location featuring foods with an international edge and similar entertainment. In addition, the Illinois State Fair features more than 100 carnival and adventure rides. One of the most popular, the Mega-Drop, subjects riders to a frightening 130-foot fall. With plenty of opportunities to be flipped upside down and swung around, families with children of all ages will enjoy the rides.
Another popular spectacle found at the Illinois State Fairgrounds is the popular Butter Cow. Since the 1920s this sculpture has been the unofficial symbol of the entire fair. To sculpt the life-size cow, 500 pounds of unsalted butter is used, and over the course of two days, the cow is sculpted over a wood and wire frame. A major attraction of the fair, the unveiling of the butter cow takes place during one of the first days.
Beyond entertainment, the Illinois State Fair also has educational offerings. Campus Town is a showcase for Illinois colleges, where visitors can gain more information on the academics, athletics, social life, and activities of a university. Conservation World is a showcase of the natural world, where visitors can take a look at a variety of reptiles. After an educational day, a bit of theater and comedy is a welcomed change. The Dueling Pirates High-Dive Show is appropriate for families of all ages. A favorite annual event for locals, the Illinois State Fair is a staple of the summer in Springfield.