Governor cuts ribbon to open Illinois State Fair

Gov. Bruce Rauner cuts the ribbon to the 2018 Illinois State Fair with new fair manager Luke Sailer (left) and Illinois Director of Agriculture Raymond Poe. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Let the 2018 Illinois State Fair begin!

And Gov. Bruce Rauner, at Thursday afternoon’s ribbon cutting ceremony, said he’s glad to be a visitor to the fairgrounds, and not a tenant, as he predictably recounted his year living in the agriculture director’s house while the Governor’s Mansion was being overhauled.

“If we were a little more creative,” he said, “we would have thought to do a fund-raiser for the fair foundation. We could have charged ten bucks to look out our windows last year at the fair.”

That could have helped the laggard numbers of the fairgrounds foundation, which has raised about $30,000, compared to the mansion foundation’s $15 million.

And state agriculture director Raymond Poe cracked a joke about there not being any cords on the ground near the ceremony; he fell at the end of last year’s event.

The Illinois State Fair runs through Sunday, Aug. 19.