Week-in-Review: Southern Illinois Made Expo

State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) welcomed local businesses and consumers to his second-annual Southern Illinois Expo over the weekend.

“This event is about providing our local businesses a unique platform to showcase their products, sell their goods and promote their destinations to consumers,” said Fowler.  “For the second year in a row, I’ve been so encouraged and excited to see the outpouring of public support for the business community of Southern Illinois.”

The event took place from 10 to 4 p.m. on July 27 and 28 at the Pavilion in Marion. Senator Fowler hosted Traveling Office Hours throughout the Expo, providing constituents with the opportunity to ask questions or speak with staff about legislative issues.

“Seeking alternative avenues for constituents to speak with staff and myself is something I’m continuously exploring,” said Fowler. “I want to ensure I’m as accessible as possible to those I represent, and the Southern Illinois Expo provided a unique opportunity to offer office resources and make myself available to constituents.”

Over 100 Southern Illinois-based businesses took part in this year’s Expo. Attendance figures reached over 3,500, with all proceeds from the event going to the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois. Proceeds for the event are expected to be tallied and revealed in the coming weeks.

State News

Illinois crops still lagging behind

After a late start due to a cold, wet spring, Illinois farmers are facing crops that remain significantly behind schedule. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as of July 21, only 36 percent of Illinois corn has the reached the silking stage, which is the first step in the process of producing corn kernels. This compares to 96 percent at the same point in 2018, and 84 percent for the four-year average.

Soybeans aren’t faring much better, with only 30 percent of the soybeans blooming. At the same time in 2018, 87 percent of soybeans were blooming, and the five-year average is 72 percent.

The overall crop quality has taken a hit, as well. On July 21, 2018, 82 percent of the corn crop was rated as good or excellent, with 78 percent of soybeans receiving the same rating. At the same time this year, however, only 43 percent of corn and 45 percent of soybeans received the good or excellent rating.

Farmers who grow winter wheat haven’t fallen as far behind though. The state wheat crop currently stands at 94 percent harvested, just slightly behind the five-year average of 97 percent.

Illinois State Fair kicks off August 8

The 2019 Illinois State Fair gets underway Aug. 8 in Springfield. The 11-day event, which brings hundreds of thousands of people though its gates, celebrates agriculture, the state’s number one employer and driver of the state’s economy.

This year’s fair will feature livestock shows, harness racing, carnival rides, a wide variety of live music and entertainers, and dozens of food and product vendors from across the state.

The Illinois State Fair runs Aug. 8-18. Admission is $10 for adults on Fridays and Saturday, and $5 all other days; $3 for senior citizens (60+); and free for kids (0-12). Fairgoers looking to get the most bang for their buck on carnivals rides have until July 31 to purchase a $70 mega pass, which is good for unlimited rides all 11 days of the Fair.

For daily schedules and lists of vendors, competitions, attractions, and the Grandstand lineup, check out the Illinois State Fair website.

Dale Fowler

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