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 Gov. Bruce Rauner opened the 2017 Illinois State Fair on Thursday with the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the state fairgrounds in Springfield.

 The State Fair’s directors, managers, grand marshals, FFA and 4-H representatives, the lieutenant governor and elected officials joined the governor as he cut the ribbon, symbolizing the beginning of the State Fair.

 “It is my honor to be here to help celebrate generations of families who have made Illinois the great state that it is,” the governor said. “Over the next 11 days, you will see these families and their hard work, be it for food they grew, the livestock they raised or the service and entertainment they bring to this state.”

 Some of the fair events include livestock competitions, harness racing, the Illinois Bicentennial Beer Competition, rides and concerts.

 Generations of families throughout the state and across the country have been coming to the fair since it began in 1853. Its original purpose was to showcase Illinois’ agricultural achievements, which it continues to do today.

 “I’ve been coming to the Illinois State Fair my entire life,” Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said.  “This is more than just a family friendly festival with corndogs and carnival rides.  This is a showcase for some of the best and the brightest in the state of Illinois. Our youth exhibitors are here to compete on the biggest agricultural stage our state has to offer. It’s a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation, and that’s something we are extremely proud of.” 

 The State Fair runs through Aug. 20.

 

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