The Illinois State Fair, the premier agriculture event in the state of Illinois, kicked off Thursday night in a new and improved way. Following the ever popular Twilight Parade, State Fair officials presented a free Preview Show that gave fairgoers a view as to what’s to come in the next week and a half.
The Twilight Parade included some spectacular floats, walking units, and much more, with the highest award of the night, The Governor’s Sweepstake Award, going to Coalition of Rainbow Alliances for their “Full Steam Ahead” float.
After the parade, fairgoers entered the Grandstand to enjoy a night of entertainment, laughter, and pre-fair festivities at the first ever Illinois State Fair Preview Show. The ZuZu African Acrobats dazzled the crowd with their high-energy routine, and provided the audience with just enough of a preview that will have them craving more from their daily shows at Happy Hollow. Other featured acts include Hooper the Hypnotist, Reptile Adventures, and an appearance by Smoky the Bear.
Rounding out the night was a concert and free autograph session from The Chicago 6. The band features three members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears team. The three retired Bears were also honored to ride in the Twilight Parade where they served as Grand Marshals.
“We are very proud that we were able to offer this Preview Night to fairgoers,” said State Fair Manager, Kevin Gordon. “It’s been something we’ve wanted to do for a while and I think it’s a great way to kick off the fair. We hope it gets everyone in the spirit to celebrate Illinois for the next 10 days!”
Twilight Parade Results:
Governor’s Sweepstakes Award: Coalition of Rainbow Alliances – “Full Steam Ahead”
Grand Marshal Award: Central Illinois Film Commission
Director’s Award: Riverton Riverbottom Rejects
Illinois State Fair Award: Lanphier High School Cheerleading
Grand Marshal Award: Wal-Mart
Director’s Award: Bliesner Fence Company
Illinois State Fair Award: Dunken the Dragon
Grand Marshal Award: Boo Crew
Director’s Award: Riverside Haunted House
Illinois State Fair Award: Central Illinois Saddle Club
Grand Marshal Award: Carl Sandburg High School
Director’s Award: Pana High School
Illinois State Fair Award: Galesburg High School