THURSDAY NIGHT: A few clouds. Low: 59. Winds: Light Southeast.
FRIDAY: Partly cloudy, with a slight chance of showers and storms near midnight. High: 84. Winds: South 5-15 mph, gusts up to 20 mph.
Agriculture, Main Point To State Fair
A soggy start to the Illinois State Fair.
"With agriculture also
comes rain and so the livestock competitions are continuing," said Bob
Flider, Illinois Ag Director. "The kids are still in there. They're
showing their livestock. People are still having a great time here at
the state fair."
A muddy track postponed harness racing for three days.
is the fastest dirt mile track in the world and we have a very
experienced crew that has been doing yeomans work, trying to get it
prepared for the races," said Jeff Squibb, Illinois Department of Agriculture.
But a few setbacks didn't stop fairgoers from enjoying what the event is really all about - agriculture.
The fair itself was started as a celebration of agriculture and also to educate farmers to bring in the most modern farming methods and the newest equipment, and to help educate farmers on what's out there so that really, the fair's roots we hold true to that even today.
Educating the smallest fairgoers.
"Looking at the little pigs cuz they're so cute," said Tessa Raddatz of Effingham.
"I've been looking at the animals and I milked a cow," said Camden Raddatz, also of Effingham.
To addressing the tough issues in farming.
"We're trying to get the farm bill out the door as soon as possible," said Scherrie Giamanco, State Executive Director of Illinois FSA. "It's hard to do. It's completely new and we want to make sure we don't make any mistakes."
It's no mistake the best competitive auctioneers in the state are found at the fair's bid calling contest.
"Auctioneers are very prominent in the ag industry in Illinois," said Ryan Jordan of the Illinois State Auctioneers Association.
"They have a lot to do with the values, whether it be from farm land, farm machinery," said Brian Curless, Illinois State Auctioneers Association and the 2013 state auctioneer champion.
Livestock is also one of the values. Like at the Governor's Sale of Champions, where the prize-winner junior livestock are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
"It's kind of the pinnacle for the young people showing their animals and the hard work that they do," said auctioneer, Bill Decker. "It gives them the chance to spotlight their activities, and with their hard work, they know what they might accomplish to being a champion."
And being a champion has its rewards. 12-year-old Shaylee Varner of Morris smashed existing records when her grand champion steer sold for $100,000.
"I was like 'wow.' I didn't know that was going to happen at all," Varner said.
Not only are those at the fair making memories, some, like Varner, are making their dreams come true.
"I'm probably going to put it in the bank for college," Varner said. "Probably something for agriculture of just being a teacher."