It’s the first week after the 4th of July and that can mean only one thing here in Peoria: Heart Of Illinois Fair! The Fair officially starts today at 4PM, but last night was the preview night for the Fair and so of course I was there! You can check out the photos from last night and I hope you come out to check out the fun, food and events at this year’s Heart Of Illinois Fair, a true Peoria tradition at Expo Gardens!
Here we are at the home of the Heart of Illinois Fair, Expo Gardens. One thing I’ve learned about taking photos here at the fair is that it’s best to wait till the sun goes down, it's too bright out here right now to get a good shot! There’s Kisha behind the ticket booth, she remembered me taking photos from last year! Wonderful to see her pretty face again! Okay, let’s make tracks for...
The Beer Garden! There’s going to be lots of live music happening here from a brand new stage they’ve installed in the back of the Beer Garden. As you can see, there’s a lively crowd here for the preview night and there’s a familiar face over at the beer taps, it’s my friend, Matt from the Knights of Columbus flanked by two pretty women, Bonnie and Ania! Now we can let the party begin!
Here’s another familiar face, Alissa, who’s the founder of The Axe Women, who are a popular group of female logging sports athletes that put on an entertaining show that includes, log rolling, axe throwing, block chopping, cross cut sawing and a whole lot more. The Axe Women are always a crowd-pleasing event and show here at the fair and Alissa is pictured here with her husband, Mike. That’s right guys, Alissa’s married now! Sob! And the really exciting news is that Alissa and Mike got married right here in Peoria on Wednesday at Jubilee College State Park and it gets even better...they were married by Heart Of Illinois Fair Director, Roxy Baker! That is so cool, I had the newlyweds pose for a kissing photo and they truly put the “heart” in the Heart of Illinois Fair this year! Congratulations to Alissa and Mike!
And speaking of Heart of Illinois Fair Director, Roxy Baker, here she is with Greg and her sister, Gloria! Always fun to hang out with Roxy and Greg and it was wonderful to meet Roxy’s sister, Gloria!
Here’s Alissa showing me a photo from their wedding day at Jubilee College State park on Wednesday! I think it’s so cool they picked Peoria to get married in and that they did it the week of the Heart of Illinois Fair! There should be some sort of special celebration or proclamation for this...hey, Roxy, no pressure, but can you make this happen?
I went out front to see if the sun had gone down enough to start taking pictures, but it’s still too light out! Damn this summer sunshine! But while I was there I ran into Roxy at the front gate (she sure gets around!) and she was with Mike and Gale from The Peoria Friendship House who were collecting canned goods donations for the evening. I thought Mike looked familiar and it turns out we met at The First Annual Peoria WingFest back in May. Check out Mike’s video, Take The Guns From Your Sons!
As I was wandering around waiting for the sun to go down, I snapped a photo of Erma’s Sweet Rolls and the two people in the truck called me over and introduced themselves. This is Maggie and Tom and they told me they had a little bit of history to show me. The photo, third down, is the original truck that they’ve currently revamped into the one sitting here at the Heart of Illinois Fair and the photo in the bottom is the original Erma’s Sweet Roll truck from back in the ‘70’s! Very cool and great to meet both of them! I’m coming back on Saturday night, so I’m going to sample something from them then! Stay tuned for that!
And check it out, the sun has officially set on The Heart Of Illinois Fair, so now I’m going to take some preview pictures of the fair in all its night time glory! Here we go!
These are some of the food vendors that are selling everything from corn dogs to funnel cakes to cotton candy to Italian beef and sausage and so much more! This is just a small sampling of the food vendors that will be selling treats at the fair this year, so bring a big appetite when you come!
Here’s some shots of the midway at The Heart of Illinois Fair, lots of rides, games, fun and action to soak in here and once again, these are just a few preview photos, there’s lots more to do and see here all week long!
I ran into my friend, Cheri Hirschmann and her family while wandering around and that’s Cheri holding Finley and Meghan and Drew! Great to see all of them! Cheri’s a wonderful photographer, by the way and you can check out her work right here: Burnt Toast Photography.
Now this is the right time of night to get a photo of the Beer Garden! This was such a fun preview night and there’s so much going on here this week! Check out the event schedule right here and there’s live music tonight in the Beer Garden from: The Wolf & Gypsy Band, The Fourmula and Whiskey’s Gone (bands are playing from early evening till midnight). Plus there’s a Western Horse Show, Barrel Racing, Speed Events and of course, The Axe Women! There's also delicious food, live music and events, games, vendors and so much more, check it all out at The Heart Of Illinois Fair, a Peoria, Illinois tradition for the young and old for over 67 years now!