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Quick Take: Ag Day, FFA tours, and pork and dairy events will occur during the state fair, Aug. 8-18 in Springfield.

August 2, 2019

4 Min Read
FFA members leading state fair tour
‘AGVOCATES’: State FFA officers will lead tours of the Springfield fairgrounds every day of the Illinois State Fair but the last day, Aug. 18. Holly Spangler

State fair’s Ag Day schedule announced

Agriculture Day at the 2019 Illinois State Fair in Springfield is scheduled for Aug. 13. Admission is discounted compared to other days. The state fair runs Aug. 8-18. On this day, Illinois agriculture is the highlight. Grand champion junior livestock — including barrows, steers, wethers, poultry trios and rabbit trios — will be auctioned at the Governor’s Sale of Champions, and Illinois processed foods will be auctioned at the Commodity Auction.

Here’s a selection of events to attend. For a full list, visit the Illinois State Fair website.

8 a.m. Duroc, Hampshire, Yorkshire and crossbred shows at Swine Barn

9 a.m. Southdown show at Sheep Barn; Shropshire show is at 1 p.m. and Suffolk show is at 4 p.m.

10 a.m. Auctioneer and bid-calling contest at Lincoln Stage

11 a.m. Draft mare, Haflinger, Belgian, Percheron and Clydesdale carts at the Coliseum of Champions.

11:30 a.m. Monarch butterfly release at Conservation World; recurs at 5 p.m.

12 p.m. Music at the Miller Lite, Coors Light and Ag tents

1 p.m. Cutest Little Farmer Contest at Ag Tent

1:30 p.m. Swifty Swine Pig Racing at Thrillville; recurs at 3, 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m. Pedal pull competition at The Shed

2 p.m. Crop of the Day demo at Ag Tent

2:30 p.m. World Record Balloon Stunt Show at Ag Tent; recurs at 4 p.m.

5 p.m. Music at Ethnic Village and Thrillville, as well as Main Street, Lincoln and Apex stages

5 p.m. Governor’s Sale of Champions at the Coliseum of Champions (previously reported at the Livestock Center)

6 p.m. Draft horse four, mare, mule and mule junior teams, as well as Haflinger six and draft horse supreme six at Coliseum of Champions

7:30 p.m. Illinois Tractor Pulling Association truck and tractor pulls at Multi-Purpose Arena

8 p.m. Why Don’t We with MAX and EBEN at Grandstand

FFA members to serve as fairgrounds tour guides

Thirty Illinois FFA officers will be staffing the 2019 Illinois State Fair in Springfield, taking shifts at the FFA Barnyard on the main drag and conducting tours every day until they leave on the last day of the fair, Aug. 18. Many of these student agricultural leaders will also be showing their horses, sheep, rabbits, swine, goats, poultry and cattle at the fair.

“We work our schedules around their schedules,” says Mindy Bunselmeyer, executive director of the Illinois FFA Center. “When they can work for us, they do.”

Hourlong tours will be held every day of the fair, starting at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Ag Tent. Tours on the final day of the fair will be staffed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“It’s a behind-the-scenes-look of the fair,” Bunselmeyer says. “We highlight all of the different animal sectors of the ag industry represented on the fairgrounds, and talk about Illinois ag history and the importance of agriculture to Illinois and our nation’s economy.”

FFA section presidents and state officers for the 2019-20 school year already know a great deal about Illinois ag, Bunselmeyer says. But the tours give them an opportunity to delve into the history of the fairgrounds and relay information back to fairgoers.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the fair, meet fairgoers and be advocates for the ag industry,” she concludes.

Illinois pork producers to host state fair event

The Illinois Pork Producers Association is teaming up with Ohio State University to host a biosecurity workshop titled “Becoming a Swientist” at the 2019 Illinois State Fair. All junior swine exhibitors are asked to attend an afternoon in the Barrow Barn learning how to keep kids and pigs healthy. The workshop will take place at 4 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Barrow Barn show ring. At 5:30 p.m., parents are encouraged to join for pizza and a panel of pork professionals. The event will include a hands-on workshop with four stations of biosecurity-related activities.

Midwest Dairy sets up presence at state fair

From a cow made of butter to award-winning cream puffs, Midwest Dairy is celebrating all things dairy at the Illinois State Fair. The Dairy Products Building is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and the Dairy Goodness Bar is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors can:

Enjoy dairy. Buy light and fluffy cream puffs, as well as any of nine flavors of hand-scooped ice cream or a glass of milk for $1. There are also shakes, sundaes and soft serve.

Snap a selfie. Take a dairy-themed selfie at the building’s selfie station. Backgrounds include a cow jumping over the moon. Selfie-takers can have their photo texted or emailed to them on the spot.

Marvel at the butter cow. The unofficial icon of the Illinois State Fair since the 1920s, the butter cow sculpture will be on display in the Dairy Products Building each day of the fair. Sculptor Sarah Pratt uses 500 pounds of unsalted butter to create the buttery bovine over the course of five days. The butter cow will be revealed on Aug. 7 at 3 p.m. in the Dairy Products Building.

Test your dairy knowledge. Each afternoon, dairy ambassadors will host live dairy trivia contests, with the chance to win dairy-themed prizes.

Color a dairy design. There is plenty of space to relax and color along with the theme of dairy.

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