Illinois State Fair Coliseum is back in business

After more than two years of being closed, the Coliseum at the Illinois State Fair has been rededicated. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – The 118-year-old State Fair Coliseum is ready for its close-up.

The governor and other dignitaries cut the ribbon Friday morning to dedicate an $11 million makeover which makes the structure — renamed by schoolchildren the “Coliseum of Champions” – sound. It was condemned a few years ago and is just now making its re-appearance.

There are plenty more projects to come, says Illinois Department of Agriculture director John Sullivan. “We have a lot of aging buildings which simply need maintenance and care on them,” Sullivan said. “Now we have, with the capital bill and the resources, we have started the process of rebuilding. The Coliseum is the jewel of the fairgrounds, but, you know, it’s tuckpointing, it’s new roofs, it’s electrical, it’s plumbing upgrades. We are going to do an overlay on the streets yet this year.”

The Coliseum will be host to Tuesday’s Sale of Champions.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


WJBC Voices: Words fail me

One of the sayings that was popular in the law enforcement community back then was that “There’s no Miranda north of I-80.”