Gov. J.B. Pritzker, organizers of the Illinois State Fair and others cut the ribbon at the main gate of the Illinois State Fairgrounds last month. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Fair manager points to good weather, recent renovations

The state Department of Agriculture, which hosts the fair each year, reported on Tuesday that about 708,000 people attended the fair, an 11% increase from 2022.  

State Senate Republican Leader John Curran, of Downers Grove, speaks to the crowd during Illinois State Fair Republican Day festivities in Springfield. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

During Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair, state party leaders sought a message of unity ahead of the 2024 presidential election. While former President Donald Trump’s name and political slogans were visible on signage and clothing, the speakers generally kept their focus on Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to the crowd at Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner remained popular punching bags for Illinois Democrats as they rallied in Springfield Wednesday, while the party also touted a long list of recent policy wins. Republicans will have their own rally Thursday.

State Sen. Darren Baily, the GOP nominee for governor, speaks at the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

In Illinois, where Democrats hold both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, all statewide executive offices and super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, GOP nominee for governor, state Senator and farmer Darren Bailey is hoping to ride in on a tractor.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood of the Peoria-area laid out his vision for what would happen in Washington if the White House and Congress were in Republican hands, at the State Fair on Thursday. (WTTW News)

Democrats had their day in the limelight at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday. Next, it was Republicans’ turn to get into campaign mode, with an annual meeting of the Illinois GOP’s top leaders and a rally.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood speaks at Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (WTTW News)

Democrats have their day at the Illinois State Fair. Our politics team weighs in on that story and others — and crunches some City Council committee spending numbers — in this week’s roundtable.

Pritzker, however, who has been a mainstay at the fair since it opened last week, skipped Democrats Day. (WTTW News)

It’s an annual tradition that is back after a break last year due to the coronavirus: political rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Typically, the fair is roughly six months away from the primary, but this cycle, the calendar is a bit off due to delayed census results.

The Illinois State Fair Butter Cow is revealed on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (State of Illinois livestream)

The sculpture was unveiled to great fanfare Wednesday, but the 800-pound bovine was barely visible to observers thanks to steamed-up glass.

(Courtesy of Illinois State Fair)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that the Illinois State Fair, scheduled for August, will be canceled in 2020 due to risks posed by the coronavirus.

Democrats take the stage for Governor’s Day at the state fair in Springfield. Our politics team tackles the 2020 election and more in our weekly roundtable.

In this June 12, 2000 file photo, country music fans are reflected in the glasses of Southern rock group Confederate Railroad lead singer Danny Shirley during a concert in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)

Country rock band Confederate Railroad has been barred from performing at an Illinois state fair because of its use of the Confederate flag.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan addresses the crowd at a Democratic Party breakfast in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Democrats are on the attack as they campaign at the Illinois State Fair. We have a live report from Springfield.

Gov. Bruce Rauner (Chicago Tonight file photo)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday slammed Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker’s spending on political advertisements. “You know what? You can only put so much lipstick on a barrow,” Rauner said.

The nine-day event has something for everyone, including an attraction that’s been found to lure folks to the fair who might not otherwise go: an auction of unclaimed property.

Thursday is Democrat Day at the Illinois State Fair and, as expected, they used the opportunity to slam Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s anti-union, pro-business Turnaround agenda that they say is preventing lawmakers from approving a statewide budget. We’ll have more news from Springfield with Chicago Tonight’s Amanda Vinicky.

Carol Marin reports on GOP Day at the State Fair in Springfield.