Illinois State Fair gets underway next week

Illinois Department of Agriculture director Jerry Costello. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – You’ll see and experience some new things at the Illinois State Fair this year. Illinois Department of Agriculture director Jerry Costello says the ongoing infrastructure projects – and their results – dominate.

“Livestock exhibitors will definitely notice the difference on Eighth Street,” said Costello during Thursday’s fair preview for reporters. “Totally repaved all the way down to the cattle barns, the swine barns. This paving was done with the knowledge of the fact that, a lot of the times there are very heavy stock trailers. We think this will hold up well for years to come.”

Costello said a thorough overhaul of the Multi-Purpose Arena will take it out of commission, forcing events to be rescheduled or relocated, with the exception of two. “The truck and tractor pulls and the demolition derby will return to the Illinois State Fair in 2023.”

The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology will have a presence at the fair, and you will be able to take home your own miniature butter cow, made on a 3-D printer.

The fair runs Aug. 11-21.

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…