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Illinois State Fair Premium Books are now available for fair visitors
Illinois Correspondent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Dogs on a stick, fried Twinkies, donuts, the Ethnic Village, a milk shake from the Dairy Barn, and of course, elephant ears are part of the smell, taste and experience of the Illinois State Fair.

For those that can’t get enough of the Fair Fairway, rides, entertainment, and of course, the contests, the planning can begin. In April, Illinois State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick announced that Premium Books for the Illinois State Fair are available. The Premium Book is a guide to all of the contests.

“The book is for contestants planning to participate in any of the more than 8,700 competitive events ranging from the longest ponytail to Illinois’ prize pumpkin,” said Chris Herbert, a communications manager for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “The books, detailing all contest rules and regulations, can be accessed online. A limited number of hard copies will be available beginning May 1.”

There is not just one book for all contests. Eight books are divided into eight categories. The books include: Livestock, Junior Department, Western Horse Show, Society Horse Show, Special Events & Twilight Parade, Miniature Horse Show and a General Book. State Fair Premium Books can be obtained online through the Illinois State Fair website at

Livestock competitions include the Open Livestock, July 1; Open Rabbits and Poultry, July 10; and Junior Livestock, July 1. Junior Livestock entries should be submitted to the exhibitors’ local county extension office by that office’s deadline.

Besides the livestock selection, there is also the general show listing with many competitions. These competitions and deadlines include: Ag Products, July 15; All culinary not otherwise listed, July 15; Amateur Art, July 15; Amateur Talent, July 31; Bee Culture (professional), Aug. 12; Bocce Ball, Aug. 17; Blue Ribbon Culinary, June 2; Christmas Trees, July 15; Culinary, July 15; Dairy Products, Aug. 9; Floriculture, Aug. 1; Gladiolus, Aug. 1; Hobbies, July 15; Horseshoe Pitching, Aug. 12; Hosta, Aug. 19; Junior Culinary, July 15; Junior Hobbies, July 15; Junior Textiles, July 15; Rose Show, Aug. 16; Twilight Parade, July 22.

With the variety of flowers, to cooking, to gardening hobbies and even horseshoe throwing for those that are looking for a chance to compete, the State Fair has the opportunity.

The Illinois State Fair is Aug. 11-20, but some activities will start before the fair’s debut. For these, Premium Books are available for the Western Horse Show, which runs June 20–July 1.

This farm news was published in the May 31, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.