Gov. Rauner opens Illinois State Fair; state ag director treated after fall

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Gov. Bruce Rauner opens the Illinois State Fair with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Gov. Bruce Rauner has opened the 2017 Illinois State Fair .

The Republican cut the ribbon on the agricultural extravaganza Thursday. That’s a day earlier than usual. It preceded the “Twilight Parade” which traditionally kicks off the festivities.

Agriculture Department Director Raymond Poe tripped shortly after the ribbon cutting. The 73-year-old Springfield farmer fell backward on the Main Gate pavement.Witnesses said he struck his head.

He was conscious, sitting up and appeared alert as medical personnel examined him.

Rauner stayed with Poe until he was transported in a golf cart. Then Rauner and Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti walked the fairgrounds with Illinois County Fair Queen Claudia VanOpdorp .

The fair continues through Aug. 20. Admission is $10 for adults and $3 for seniors. Children 12 and under get in free.