‘Grow with Us’ State Fair, butter cow theme a nod to agriculture, infrastructure

‘Grow with Us’ State Fair, butter cow theme a nod to agriculture, infrastructure

By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois State Fair organizers unveiled the 101st State Fair butter cow Wednesday, an unofficial kickoff of the fair which begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 21.

The sculpture – by Iowan Sarah Pratt – consists of more than 800 pounds of recycled butter in the shape of a cow munching on a sunflower. It also pictures a farmer tending the land and growing sunflowers, one of which was eaten by the cow.

The theme of the 2022 fair and butter cow is “Grow with Us.”

It’s a nod to the state’s agriculture industry as well as $58.1 million in construction that is planned at the fairgrounds, according to Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II. The renovations are funded by the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital infrastructure program, approved on bipartisan lines in 2019.

Pritzker, at the unveiling Wednesday, said the theme for the year was fitting for Illinois, pointing to job growth and infrastructure investment.

Rebecca Clark, who was named the new fair manager this year, said the theme also touches on the fair’s agricultural roots.

“That theme is really indicative in so many ways out here on the fairgrounds, from the improvements that you see on the grounds to the youth exhibitors that show year after year in our celebrated barns,” Clark said.

This year’s fair will include new exhibits, such as a Giant Dinosaurs display created by Dino Don Inc., the world’s leading supplier of robotic dinosaurs to zoos and museums.

Grandstand attractions, among others, include pop star Demi Lovato on Saturday, Aug. 13, country duo Brooks & Dunn on Sunday, Aug. 14, country star Willie Nelson & Family on Tuesday, Aug. 16, and comedian Trevor Noah on Friday, Aug. 19.

The Department of Innovation and Technology will host its second annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Expo from Aug. 17-21, complete with e-sports competitions, drone racing and interactive exhibits. Fairgoers will also be able to take home a 3D-printed miniature butter cow from the STEAM tent.

The butter cow sculpture will remain on display in the Dairy Building throughout the fair and is viewable live via the butter cow webcam.

As for infrastructure investment, Pritzker and Costello said its noticeable from the roads to the rooftops on the fairgrounds.

“Probably one of the things most people will really notice are the roads. If you look at the roads by the cattle barn, by the swine barn, if you look at Eighth Street, if you look at the avenue of flags, those are things that are really going to stick out,” Costello said of $4.1 million of construction on fairgrounds roads.

The 122-year-old coliseum at the fairgrounds saw renovations for its structural integrity in 2019, while Phase 2 construction at the facility is set to begin when the fair concludes this year. The $16.3 million in planned renovations include electrical and plumbing work, an elevator and adding an HVAC system.

Costello said the HVAC system will allow for year-round use of the coliseum, which could mean an expansion of dog shows or other events. In 2025, the fairgrounds will host the World Clydesdale Show.

Clark said fair organizers are working with the Community Foundation of the Land of Lincoln on a long-term plan to “really help explore what the future of this fairgrounds will look like.”

The multi-purpose arena at the fairgrounds will be temporarily closed this year, but it’s also on the list of makeover projects. The 261,000 square foot arena was constructed in 2000.

It will receive $8.6 million in work, including repairs to sidewalks, walls, steps, expansion joints and electrical systems. It will receive a new canopy and other structural work, including new retaining walls around the facility.

Other renovations included roof and HVAC replacements in various buildings, as well as energy improvements and tuckpoint work.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government that is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Father Mescall

Father Tom’s welcome lives on

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Back in the June 10 edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald, we talked about the passing of the Rev. Tom Mescall, who would become the last pastor of St. Adrian Parish before it was combined with Queen of…

Peggy Zabicki

The Mechs are making a difference

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Every day we hear about the crime going on in the area, like shootings, carjackings, drag racing, theft, battery, house and garage break-ins and catalytic converter thefts. These crimes are so discouraging to hear about. Well, here’s some good news. Long time…

Mary Stanek

Central Park looking brighter than ever

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Murals make neighborhoods beautiful, adding color and art to plain walls. So, I took a dog walk towards Central Park to visit the status of the murals on both 58th and 59th Streets. Robert Valadez and his…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound September 21, 2022

GSWNH_SNW04_090922

Spirited soccer struggle in Scottsdale

After several tries over several years, a soccer squad put together by the Scottsdale Neighborhood Watch defeated a Chicago Police Department team in a match at Durkin Park. SNW President Jason Huff said while the victory was sweet, both sides actually won, because the purpose of the match was to draw police and the community…

St. Laurence soccer players spray cola during a celebrating winning their division in the Bodyarmor Sports Series soccer showcase. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg boys finish fourth at Richard Spring Invite

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg boys cross country team is unlikely to win back-to-back Class 3A state championships. But the Eagles are still strong, and it showed that Sept. 17 by finishing fourth in the Richard Spring Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Oak Park won the meet with 75 points followed by…

Evergreen Park running back Antonio Clay-Jones had a game-high 111 yards rushing in a 27-7 loss to Richards on Sept. 16. Photo by Steve Metsch

Football: Fast start helps Richards top Evergreen Park

By Steve Metsch Correspondent Richards had a chip on its shoulder coming into its homecoming game against Evergreen Park. The Bulldogs were not happy being 1-2 entering the game, while the Mustangs came in 3-0. Regardless of those records, the Bulldogs are the perennial favorites in the South Suburban Red, and it was time to…

SXU coach Mike Feminis is two wins away from No. 300. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier wins, moves Feminis within two of milestone

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Saint Xavier lost its first two games by a combined score of 88-10. The last thing the Cougars needed was for Siena Heights to come into Chicago and make itself at home. But the Saints tried, scoring on their first drive and putting the Cougars in a hole. This time,…

Mallory Pugh has 10 goals for the Red Stars. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Red Stars hanging on to playoff spot; Fire eliminated from postseason contention

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The Chicago Red Stars returned to Bridgeview with mixed results in two games, but held onto the final playoff spot in the NWSL and increased their lead over seventh-place Angel City. The top six teams make the playoff in the 12-team league. The Red Stars (8-6-6, 30 points) cooled off…

Martin Franek, of Oak Lawn, and his partner dance to the sounds of Electricland during the village’s Fall Music Festival. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

Positive reviews for new Oak Lawn Fall Music Fest

By Dermot Connolly A little rain on Sunday afternoon was the only damper on Oak Lawn’s three-day annual festival, which was renamed Oak Lawn Fall Musical Festival this year. Fifteen of the top local bands, from American English to Radio Ga-Ga, played a variety of music genres on three stages over the three days from…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Father Mescall

Father Tom’s welcome lives on

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Back in the June 10 edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald, we talked about the passing of the Rev. Tom Mescall, who would become the last pastor of St. Adrian Parish before it was combined with Queen of…

Peggy Zabicki

The Mechs are making a difference

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Every day we hear about the crime going on in the area, like shootings, carjackings, drag racing, theft, battery, house and garage break-ins and catalytic converter thefts. These crimes are so discouraging to hear about. Well, here’s some good news. Long time…

Mary Stanek

Central Park looking brighter than ever

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Murals make neighborhoods beautiful, adding color and art to plain walls. So, I took a dog walk towards Central Park to visit the status of the murals on both 58th and 59th Streets. Robert Valadez and his…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound September 21, 2022

GSWNH_SNW04_090922

Spirited soccer struggle in Scottsdale

After several tries over several years, a soccer squad put together by the Scottsdale Neighborhood Watch defeated a Chicago Police Department team in a match at Durkin Park. SNW President Jason Huff said while the victory was sweet, both sides actually won, because the purpose of the match was to draw police and the community…

St. Laurence soccer players spray cola during a celebrating winning their division in the Bodyarmor Sports Series soccer showcase. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg boys finish fourth at Richard Spring Invite

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg boys cross country team is unlikely to win back-to-back Class 3A state championships. But the Eagles are still strong, and it showed that Sept. 17 by finishing fourth in the Richard Spring Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Oak Park won the meet with 75 points followed by…

Evergreen Park running back Antonio Clay-Jones had a game-high 111 yards rushing in a 27-7 loss to Richards on Sept. 16. Photo by Steve Metsch

Football: Fast start helps Richards top Evergreen Park

By Steve Metsch Correspondent Richards had a chip on its shoulder coming into its homecoming game against Evergreen Park. The Bulldogs were not happy being 1-2 entering the game, while the Mustangs came in 3-0. Regardless of those records, the Bulldogs are the perennial favorites in the South Suburban Red, and it was time to…

SXU coach Mike Feminis is two wins away from No. 300. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier wins, moves Feminis within two of milestone

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Saint Xavier lost its first two games by a combined score of 88-10. The last thing the Cougars needed was for Siena Heights to come into Chicago and make itself at home. But the Saints tried, scoring on their first drive and putting the Cougars in a hole. This time,…

Mallory Pugh has 10 goals for the Red Stars. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Red Stars hanging on to playoff spot; Fire eliminated from postseason contention

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The Chicago Red Stars returned to Bridgeview with mixed results in two games, but held onto the final playoff spot in the NWSL and increased their lead over seventh-place Angel City. The top six teams make the playoff in the 12-team league. The Red Stars (8-6-6, 30 points) cooled off…

Martin Franek, of Oak Lawn, and his partner dance to the sounds of Electricland during the village’s Fall Music Festival. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

Positive reviews for new Oak Lawn Fall Music Fest

By Dermot Connolly A little rain on Sunday afternoon was the only damper on Oak Lawn’s three-day annual festival, which was renamed Oak Lawn Fall Musical Festival this year. Fifteen of the top local bands, from American English to Radio Ga-Ga, played a variety of music genres on three stages over the three days from…

CRR NH Airport Heating Cooling
CRR NH Uhlmann Improvement House Ad