illinois state fair

The State Fair!

by grace on August 23, 2021

It was nice to go back to the fair since it was cancelled last year. The Sunday before it opened I decided to drive into the fairgrounds to see stuff since I figured that when at the fair I wouldn’t be able to walk everywhere I wanted to because of the lingering knee pain. I thought this statue at the herb garden was funny. It was also kind of funny to drive around instead of walking, and there were lots of horse and horse people; Kevin said there’s always a horse show before the fair starts.

Mom and I went for a short time and initially I felt a little freaked out being around so many people. But we kept our distance and there weren’t that many people, so I eventually calmed down.

For two years I’d been looking forward to getting a saganaki from the Greek booth at the Ethnic Village. Except it’s not called that anymore; in 2019, Governor Pritzker signed a bill to change the name to “Village of Cultures.” They didn’t change the name til after the 2019 fair, so this year is the first with the new name. Dang, I should have taken a photo of the new sign.

The place is completely the same aside from the name change, and I also can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of my saganaki. It was good but definitely an anticlimax after waiting around for one for two years. We sat by ourselves at a picnic table but soon a family sat down at the table which pretty much freaked me out. Maybe this contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for the saganaki?

Anyway, my favorite building is always the Hobbies, Arts & Crafts, and I know in years past I’ve gone bonkers taking a ridiculous amount of pictures. This year I decided not to go berserk about it. But look at this great boat made of spoons and other metal!

I loved these decorations so much that I’d like to make some of my own.

I won’t.

But it’s a good idea, anyway. This display only got 2nd place and I should have taken a photo of the 1st place winner because it was not nearly as good. Somebody had painted xmas scenes on bells, and the bells themselves were kind of ugly.

I took this shot in honor of Bev, who was robbed of a blue ribbon in the “holiday crafts – Wrapped gift box” category a few years ago. Her entry had a sewing theme and I think a tape measure was the box and it was fabulous. You see that the winner this year has a suitcase-looking gift and it’s ok, but not Bev-quality.

I wish I could take this one home! I love al this stuff from so many old state fairs, and wouldn’t it be interesting to be able to go back in time and see what it was like way back when?

I was very impressed with this award-winning quilt.

And hmm, this cake…they didn’t have many decorated cakes, and this one certainly was big. And ornate. After studying it for a while I realized it’s a Cinderalla cake, but only very subtly. The top is supposed to be the coach and beneath that, the gold circle is a clock pointing to 11:25, and there’s a teeny tiny white slipper down there at the bottom.

I thought this was pretty spectacular, and obviously the judges did too, since it’s the grand champion. The card says it’s a celery yacht and I think everybody needs a celery yacht! It says it’s “canary yellow uranium glass in a quadruple-plated silver stand.” But I wonder why they didn’t polish the quadruple-plated silver? Maybe that’s as shiny as it gets.

The butter cow kind of made me tear up just because. At the same time I was a bit freaked out because the place was pretty much packed and only about 5% of the people were masked. Many, many county fair queens were everywhere.

I have these two photos because I feel that you can tell a difference…

…not smiling in the first one, because I thought “who’s gonna see me smile?” but then I looked at i and I cold tell. Maybe you can too. Also, he inscription on the bottom of the cow says “Embracing tradition.” Really, really touching.

We walked past the double ferris wheel on our way out and now I wish I’d gone on it. It hasn’t been around for quite a few years, maybe a lot of years, but it was too hot and I was too tired.

Finally, meanwhile…Kevin used to work at the fair when a trooper, and when we were dating he claimed to love to go, but now that we’re married, I haven’t been able to convince him to join me. But we had a big storm the night before Mom and I went to the fair and Kevin spent the day chopping up and hauling lots of branches. I was amused at his sad pose here.

But then I convinced him to show me a strong man, which he reluctantly did.

And that’s all the excitement for now,

Mrs. late August Hughes.


fun at the fair!

by grace on August 29, 2019

we went to the fair on wednesday, aug. 14th. Bev was going to dance in the Illinois Building, so mom, randy and i all went to watch.

while we were waiting i had to get a picture of this ride in the children’s section; i’ve never seen it before and i don’t know why i like it so much, i guess it’s because the animals are all so cute.

I’m posting this being fully aware that bev will vigorously chastise me for putting it up here. but she looks so cute! i think i’ll also sent this photo to her daughter erin, who i’m sure will appreciate it.

Randy and i rode the giant slide, which i enjoyed, but randy said it was painful because he flew up in the air a couple times. ouch.

i took a bunch of close-ups of the giant animals on the double-decker merry-go-round. i promise myself that i’ll go on it next year. i’d really like to go on it at night with it all lit up.

isn’t this an awesome hummingbird?

plus the giant rabbit in the background.

next year, i promise.

later in the day i saw this cut-out in front of the IL state police tent and i got bev to take a whole lot of photos of me inside it. i was trying to get it so it really looked like my head was attached but i realized that it was kind of hard because they neglected to put a neck on the cutout. mom started to get bored with bev taking so many photos, but i think this one is pretty good.

it was entertaining to watch the lumberjack show; it was funny because the announcer guy told the worst jokes possible, and it was a good time partly because we got to sit down and rest. the guys were really good at what they did. here’s the axe-throwing.

you have to look closely to see the axe up in the air; it’s right below the car on the right.

this is a better shot of the second guy flinging the axe.

Here’s a video of them axe-throwing.

log-rolling was good, but kind of brief.

Video of the log-rolling.

we’d been to the ethnic village so i could get some saganaki, fried greek cheese, but when we were nearing the end of the day we went back and sat on the benches in the back.

but as we sat there watching Irish dancers, i started to think that i recognized two of them, so i moved up close.

and sure enough, this is Vaughn and Sherry from yoga! they’re really good at yoga, and vaughn can stand on his head. it was funny to see them in this different context.

Here’s a short video of them dancing.

a good time was had by all!

ok then,

mrs. nearing the end of august hughes.


hiking at the fairgrounds

by grace on August 22, 2019

Wednesday, aug. 7th, kevin and i hiked all around the fairgrounds. it was the day before the fair opened and the place was bustling with so many people. not only were folks setting stuff up, cleaning stuff off, but we saw some cows and sheep and other animals being judged.

i hadn’t seen this before.

both of these were in close proximity to conservation world; maybe they carved them there?

it was fun to be at the fair that day; the last time i’d gone we missed the chickens because they don’t keep them around long. this is good, because there were some ducks that i felt sorry for; ducks should be in water!

as we walked through the building they were judging lots and lots of eggs.

i love this new double-decker merry-go-round. the animals were so cool! it would have been neat to see it at night all lit up, but that didn’t happen.

when i went back to the fair the next week i took some close-ups of some of those cool animals on the ride.

and here’s the coliseum, finally re-opened. they’ve installed the biggest ceiling fans i’ve ever seen inside, and the place seemed nice and cool.

sheep in coats.

when we’d walked around most of the fair we hiked on over to lincoln park. maybe that day we did about six miles? yep, we’re in training again, going to go to Glacier National Park in the fall.

how is it almost the end of august? more boat rides!

ok then,

mrs. g. h.


Friday night at the fair

by grace on August 13, 2018

a while back, randy and I got tix to see boy George & the culture club at the fair.  I remember when we went to the empty fairgrounds to buy them, thinking that the concert was such a long way away…but then it snuck up on me, suddenly it was august the 10th, how did that happen?

it was a bit hot Friday evening but cooled as the sun went down.  I enjoyed a delicious wine slushy from the IL wine place; they seem to move it around a lot, but I finally asked at the info booth, and the woman directed me to the exposition building.  it looked like there were way less wineries there than ever before, but luckily the people selling wine slushies were still doing business.

after some freshly-fried Culler’s fries, we headed into the concert.  the opening act was the Thompson twins, but there’s only one twin now.  i’m not sure if he’s billed as “the Thompson twin,” and also don’t know where his twin got to.  three young women backed him up, a drummer, guitar and keyboard.  but at one point the guitar and keyboard women were trying to get people to clap along, and they were clapping their hands over their heads…but the keyboard kept going on its own.  hmm.

I honestly didn’t remember much about the Thompson twins, and the songs all sort of sounded alike.  I told kevin about that, and he said that he used to really like the Thompson twins, but not so much a boy George fan.  but i haven’t been able to lure him to the fair with me in quite a few years, so we won’t worry about our opposing views of groups….


but then i decided to just relax.  i bought a mango-rita, something I’ve never tried before, and it was also refreshing.

and when Boy George took the stage, he and the band were awesome.

I can’t remember what they started with, but I think it was a david bowie cover.  a little later they did “everything I own,” originally written and performed by David Gates & Bread.  this is funny, because just a couple of days before bev had been telling me about listening to some Bread albums, and how much she loved their music.  I just read that david gates wrote this song about his dad, who died when david was young.

boy George first recorded his version of the song in march 1987, after being arrested for heroin.  it was #1 on the UK singles chart for two weeks, and it helped boost his career after the drug bust. wow, reading a little about his life on Wikipedia – the guy has been through quite a bit.

they waited til the encore to play the iconic “karma chameleon.”

i’d go see the band again, that’s for sure.  a good time was had by all.

ok then,

mrs. Monday afternoon hughes.




and finally…Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits at the fair!

September 21, 2017

whew, i can’t say what happened to september, but i finally have a few photos and clips of the great and free show at the grandstand at the IL state fair. Bev wanted to see herman’s hermits and i figured, why not.  we didn’t have a plan, really, and were hot and tired by the […]

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bev and i go to the illinois state fair

September 2, 2017

i don’t think i’ve been to the fair for a few years.  i didn’t go last year, and we were on vacation the year before that, so that means it’s been at least since 2014. i love the fair, even though usually when i get there i immediately think “what the hell am i doing […]

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