More than a dozen trucks loaded with various rides are already parked in the SI Center parking lot just outside the fairgrounds and tents are being erected inside as final preparations for the 91st annual Du Quoin State Fair are entering the final stages.
Activity truly gets hectic Monday following this weekend's closure of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield as many vendors make their annual move south. With the Illinois State Fair enjoying big crowds taking advantage of the pleasant weather, there's no reason to believe the same interest won't be shown here particularly if the weatherman cooperates.
There'll be no delay in action at Du Quoin following the Fair's opening parade Friday evening (Aug. 23) from the south edge of the city down U.S. 51 to the fairground's main gate. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies are scheduled for 5:30 p.m., the parade at 6 p.m. and the first performance of "Extreme FMX Motorcycles" is set for 6:30 in the free entertainment area of the fairgrounds. It'll be followed by another 30-minute show an hour later and just shortly before Tonny Petersen's Hell Drivers put on a wild, crash-'em, smash-'em hour-long show at the one-half mile track on the fairgrounds.
It's free also and is part of the 2013 fair's "Wheels and Deals" theme which also is a spinoff of the Lightning McQueen Car's presence. It'll be in the parade before being located on Main Street of the fairgrounds for the first three days of this year's extravaganza.
First of three sessions of harness racing will also be taking place opening night on the fairgrounds' one-mile track in front of the main grandstand. It, too, features free admission as are Saturday and Sunday sessions, both of which are set for 12 noon starts.
Although racing purses are smaller than in recent years, horsemen throughout the state are still as competitive as ever, perhaps more so, and the presence of pari-mutuel betting will again be a feature at Du Quoin just as it is at Springfield.
It could be re-named a "free fair" as the thrill shows, harness racing, live entertainment at the beer tent and three other major areas provide shows requiring no admission.
Also Friday night Jesse White's tumblers, a well-known group which has performed for many years throughout Illinois, will be putting on a free show on the fairgrounds.
Parking fee remains same as past years $7 per car.
While there is NO per-person admission charge to enter the fairgrounds, a $7 parking fee remains the same as in previous years. It will be charged beginning Friday, Aug. 23.