May 07, 2004

Show your support for the Illinois State Fair

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –In response to frequent requests for Illinois State Fair memorabilia, State Fair Deputy Director Mark Kolaz today announced that visitors to the 2004 event would be able to purchase souvenir items from a stand prominently located on Main Street on the fairgrounds. Additionally, Kolaz said state fair patrons would be greeted by a variety of new Gate 2 shows, including an X-Treme sports area.

"Things are really beginning to come together for this year’s fair," Kolaz said "We’ve booked some exciting and unusual entertainment for the whole family, everyone should be able find something they will remember for a while."

Themed areas of the fairgrounds continue for 2004 with Gate 2 becoming the "X Factory" with a new entertainment stage for bands and rides, including the "Spring Machine", a capsule which rockets riders as high as 220 feet into the air at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Other entertainment includes the interactive walk-thru "The Beast", the MaxAir Ski Show which performs on the largest portable ramps in the world and the High Action Bike Stunt Show featuring professionals Matt Wilhelm and Joe Marks. The "X Factory" stage will also host this year’s Battle of the Bands on both Saturdays (August 14 and August 21) of the fair.

Ethnic Village will again serve up the best food and sounds from around the world as 14 food vendors and over 40 different groups entertain on the center stage there. Across the street, the Emmerson Building front lawn will be the site of the State Fair souvenir stand where visitors can pick up a 2004 State Fair hat, pin, coffee mug or other item of fair memorabilia.

The Agri-Expo area just inside the Main Gate will also see major changes this year, with a focus on agriculture education, including expanded informational booths by the Department of Agriculture highlighting the responsibilities of each division within the department. Fairgoers will continue to enjoy the opportunity to purchase fresh Illinois produce at the Farmer’s Market.

The Key West area again hosts One Particular Harbour with Steely Pan, Groove Daddies, the ever-popular Debbie Ross and others, making that stage their island getaway.

Twilight ballroom visitors will dance the night away on a specially constructed dance floor with Sally Weisenberg and the Famous Sidemen and many other great dance bands every night of the fair except the last Sunday.

Whether your taste runs to high-flying bike jumps, country fresh vegetables or cool Caribbean tunes, the fun starts Thursday Aug. 12, Preview Night, with the State Fair Parade and doesn’t end until the fireworks wrap up the fair on August 22.

The Illinois State Fair is scheduled Aug. 13-22. For more information about this year’s fair, visit the Illinois State Fair website at

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