Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation launches coliseum naming contest
Contest open to 4-H, FFA, and Junior Horseman’s Council members

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[December 13, 2018]   Contest entries are now being accepted by the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation to rename the Coliseum on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The contest runs through December 14. The winner will be selected by the Fair Foundation and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and announced in early January.

Current members of Illinois 4-H, FFA, and the Junior Horseman’s Council are eligible to submit their naming ideas to the contest. Each member is allowed one entry and can submit it online at

The winner will receive a silver platter of recognition and an Illinois State Fair Mega Pass. The winner could also be a guest of honor at the grand re-opening of the Coliseum and serve as a youth fair marshal during the 2019 Illinois State Fair.

“Agriculture is an integral part of our state’s identity, and the Illinois State Fairgrounds play an important part in promoting our agriculture industry,” said Governor Rauner. “Our youth in agriculture, including 4-H and FFA members, are the future of this industry, so it’s only right that we let them name the historic building that will be open for generations to come.”

A generous donation of $1 million from the Rauner Family Foundation, announced on Agriculture Day at the 2018 Illinois State Fair, has arrived at the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. This donation is specifically earmarked for repairs and updates to the historic Coliseum, which has been closed since it was declared unusable due to structural deficiencies.

The Foundation already made several improvements to the Fairgrounds ahead of the 2018 Illinois State Fair, including roof replacements and additional lighting and fans. In the Swine Barn, two 16-foot fans were installed above the show rings to help keep exhibitors, animals, and spectators cool, not just during the Illinois State Fair, but at other non-fair events that take place there throughout the year.

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Lighting improvements were also made to the Livestock Center Show Ring, including the installation of 35 new LED bulbs, thanks to the George Obernagel Family Farm in Monroe County. Their sponsorship of the Livestock Center will continue into July 2019, with improvements also slated to be made to the Center’s audio system.

“The Department would like to thank the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, Governor Rauner, and all of those who have made donations to the Foundation,” said Director of Agriculture Raymond Poe. “This Fairgrounds has so much history and holds fond memories for so many people – we want to make sure that continues for several more generations.”

In addition, the Foundation recently purchased roofing materials for Barns 16A and 16B. This allowed state employees on the fairgrounds to reshingle both barns. These barns are located near the Coliseum and contain 22 horse stalls each. Previously unoccupied, they may now be used during the Illinois State Fair and during the many horse shows that take place on the Fairgrounds throughout the year.

For more information about the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, check out its website at https://www.ilfair

[Denise Albert]


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