July 15, 2008
Quirky but entertaining special events, ranging from the bench press and deadlift championship to the infamous diaper derby, will return to the 2008 Illinois State Fair.
Fairgoers interested in competing in the 15 events must register in the upcoming weeks. The first approaching deadline is July 31 for the amateur talent contest and the baton twirling contest. The talent contest consists of five separate competitions: best female vocal solo, best group vocal and male vocal solo, best keyboard or instrumental performance, best dance solo and best dance group. The contest culminates Friday, Aug. 15, with a talent showcase, a celebration of the talent competition winners.
The 2008 Illinois State Fair also will offer a number of special events devoted entirely to babies and children, the first being a baby photo contest. Contestants must submit a 5"x 7" photo of their baby by Aug. 1 on a 7"x 9" white poster board; the winning photos will be displayed in Kids Korner along with their ribbons.
Friday, Aug. 15, will feature three consecutive events for toddlers and children, starting with a smile contest at 1:30 p.m., followed by a decorated diaper contest at 3 p.m. and a diaper derby at 4 p.m. All contestants can pre-register by Aug. 1 or may register the day of the event. Contestants in the smile contest must be between five and 15 years old. Babies in the decorated diaper contest must be no more than 18 months old, while babies in the diaper derby must be younger than 12 months old. Trophies and ribbons will be awarded to winners in the diaper derby and the decorated diaper contest, while cash prizes will be presented to the winners of the smile contest.
Two other contests devoted to children are the cutest little farmer contest, which is open to children two through 10 years old, and the pedal tractor pull, which is open to children who weigh between 30 and 80 pounds. Both contests will take place Tuesday, Aug. 12 in Country Junction. Participants are encouraged to pre-register by Aug. 1, but may register the day of the event.
The same deadlines apply for the fiddle and banjo competition and the ponytail contest. The fiddle and banjo competition is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 9; pickers must perform two tunes, a hoe down and a waltz. The winners will receive cash prizes and ribbons. The ponytail contest will be held in Country Junction Friday, Aug. 15.
Fairgoers older than 15 years of age will have a chance to demonstrate their muscle at the bench press and deadlift championships. The contests will take place Sunday, Aug. 17, in classes divided by age, sex and team. An entry fee of $50 is required to compete; trophies will be given out to lifters who come in first, second and third place. For more information, contact Dr. Darrell Latch at Son Light Power Gym at (217) 253-5429.
Auctioneers wanting to save a few dollars on this year's bid calling contest should register soon because the entry fee will increase from $30 to $50 on July 15. The contest, sponsored Illinois State Auctioneers Association, has a cap of 25 auctioneers and will be held Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. Winners will receive as much as $400 for their call.
The last special event contest deadline, for the chili cook-off, is Aug. 11. The event itself will be held Sunday, Aug. 17, with cooks competing in three divisions: red chili, chili verde and salsa. Cash awards will be presented to the winning participants.
Questions about entry requirements should be directed to the Special Events office at (217) 782-0777. This year's fair runs from Aug. 8-17.
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