160th Illinois State Fair: Old standbys, $30M for new look

Illinois State Fair 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The 160th Illinois State Fair kicks off with concerts, carnival rides, livestock competitions and free entertainment.

The fair runs Aug. 9-19 with the Prairie State’s Bicentennial celebration as its backdrop. Illinois-born country singer Brett Eldredge leads a Grandstand lineup that also features Boy George, Halestorm, Luke Combs, Ludacris, Foreigner and more.

The deteriorating fairgrounds got a $30 million state-funding boost this year. Roads have been repaved. Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says it will pay to re-roof most buildings and restore the 117-year-old Coliseum for the 2019 fair. It’s been closed because of its unsafe condition.

Smokey Bear will welcome visitors to the ever-popular Conservation World. The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show will return as will an expanded house to publicize the dwindling monarch butterfly population.