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Jackie Joyner-Kersee to Grand Marshal Tonight's Parade
Illinois Ag Connection - 08/08/2019

The Illinois State Fair along with Governor JB Pritzker announced Wednesday that Olympic Gold Medal winner and East St. Louis native Jackie Joyner-Kersee will serve as the Grand Marshall for the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade.

The retired American track and field athlete won three gold medals and is ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. On top of her athletic accomplishments, Joyer-Kersee is an active philanthropist giving back to her Illinois hometown though her work supporting children's education, racial equality and women's rights.

"A six-time Olympic medalist who has spent her life inspiring young women and fighting for a quality education for all children, racial equality and women's rights, Jackie Joyner-Kersee represents the best of Illinois," said Pritzker. "I couldn't be prouder to join a legendary East St. Louis native to kick off the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade."

"We are thrilled to have Jackie Joyner-Kersee kick off the 2019 Twilight Parade," said Kevin Gordon, Illinois State Fair manager. "Her mission to encourage young people in our state to pursue athletics and academics fits perfectly with our theme Building our Future."

Pritzker, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan and other state and local dignitaries will mark the opening of the state fair at 3 p.m. with a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the Main Gate. Following the event, many dignitaries will travel to Lincoln Park on Springfield's north end for the start of the annual Twilight Parade. The parade will step-off from the southeast corner of the Nelson Park loop and travel north to Sangamon Avenue. From there, it will travel east down Sangamon Avenue into the Main Gate of the fairgrounds and proceed on to the Grandstand.

Admission to the fairgrounds is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors (60 and older) and kids 12 and under are free on Preview Day Thursday. All carnival rides, including those in Adventure Village, will be open by 5 p.m. and offered at a discounted price.

Following the Twilight Parade, a free concert will be offered in the Grandstand. Montgomery Gentry will perform around 8pm following the conclusion of the Twilight Parade. No concert tickets are necessary and all seating is general admission.

The 2019 Illinois State Fair run through Aug. 18 in Springfield

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