‘The Coliseum of Champions’

Posted: 4/29/2019
Author: Visit Springfield

‘The Coliseum of Champions’

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Introducing ‘The Coliseum of Champions’

Built in 1901, the Coliseum at the Illinois State Fairgrounds stands at the epicenter of the 366-acre Illinois State Fairgrounds. The stately brick and limestone amphitheater seats over 2,500 guests, making it the perfect venue for equine shows and exhibitions.

The operation of such a unique venue takes time, manpower, and capital to operate. The 115 year old structure is still standing despite years of deferred maintenance and weather, both of which have led to the venue being shuttered and deemed structurally unsafe in 2016.

The closure caused groups that host annual business at the Coliseum to find alternative venues, leaving the city of Springfield with a bleak outlook in the hosting of future shows and events. In an effort to see this historic treasure in its glory again, the Illinois State Fairgrounds Foundation was created and began soliciting donations to restore the facility. Numerous donations, including a $1 Million contribution from former Governor and Mrs. Rauner, as well as newly-elected Governor J.B. Pritzker contributing over half of the money raised from ticket sales for his inaugural gala this past January, have now enabled the Coliseum to be restored and ready to host prestigious events once again.

Dubbed by Illinoisans as ‘The Coliseum’, the Illinois State Fairgrounds Foundation developed a contest for students involved in 4-H, FFA or Junior Horseman’s Council to submit suggestions for naming rights to the newly renovated arena. The winning name, ‘The Coliseum of Champions’ was selected.

Springfield based contractors, R.D. Lawrence are leading the estimated $10.2 million dollar project and have an expected completion date of July 20th, 2019. Check back often for progress photos and updates as the renovation nears completion.



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