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Fun fair convention planned

SPRINGFIELD – A fun time is guaranteed for anyone attending this weekend’s 112th annual convention of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs in Springfield.

In fact, the theme for the event at the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express is “Let’s Have Fun.” This year, 22 queens are vying for the title of Miss Illinois County Fair Queen at what is expected to be a packed convention.

“It looks like we are going to have a really good crowd,” notes Charlyn Ware, secretary for the IAAF.

The Illinois State Fair Manager, Rebecca Clark, will discuss how her fair handles security during an informational session on Friday.

“We are going to have a panel of some of the county fair people who make sure the fairs are very safe,” adds Ware.

The showcase is Friday evening, featuring several bands performing in hopes of being booked at a county fair or two this summer. The Central Illinois Farm Network’s Kent Casson will emcee this event as he has for the past several years.

Phil Nelson is the keynote speaker for Saturday’s breakfast meeting. His family has shown at county fairs for many years. Nelson is past president of the Illinois Farm Bureau and former Illinois Department of Agriculture director.

“Then, we’ve got the talent show, so it just goes on and on,” said Ware.

A weekend highlight is the county fair queen pageant and Cathy Redshaw will be retiring from her post as pageant director, which she has done for a dozen years. Ware said she has given so much to the IAAF over the years.

“This year is going to be extra special just because of that.”

All events at this weekend’s IAAF convention in Springfield are open only to registered guests with a convention badge.

More information can be found at

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