Illinois State Fair 10 Must Do's | Springfield, Illinois | Visit Springfield

Share this Blog


The most jam packed 10 days in Springfield, full of thrills and excitement.

Come have a blast at the Illinois State Fair August 10 - 20, 2023. The Fair offers tons of food, carnival rides, livestock shows, world renowned concerts, free entertainment, harness racing and so much more!!

With so much stuff going on, we didn’t want you to get lost in all the details, so here are

10 things you ‘must do’ while having an awesome State Fair experience!! 

 1. Watch the Twilight Parade.

Every year on the 1st Thursday, the parade marches through Springfield kicking of the 10 days of entertainment! There’s a competition for local high school bands, horseback riders, floats and what is a parade without candy?!

2. Hit the Track for some Harness Races.

Held at the Illinois racetrack, known as one the fastest dirt track in the world. With free admission and Pari-Mutuel Wagering you will enjoy some of Illinois finest horses and a chance for the horse racing enthusiast to wager on their favorite! Good luck!

3. Get Your Ride On.

Carnival Midway will definitely keep you entertained, regardless of age! Looking to be spun, flipped, scrambled or swung they have just what you are looking for. Buy tickets or purchase a bargain bracelet for unlimited rides for the day.

4. Stroll through Conservation World.

With 30 acres of rolling hills and woodlands, there is so much to do here. Attend a fishing clinic, check out the IDNR Outdoor Amphitheater events, watch the Lumberjack Show, yep the men with beards and plaid shirts, wonder through various program tents, and of course, as always, enjoy some food and drinks!

5. Eat…Yes, Eat your way through the Fair.

Is it fried? Eat it! How about on a stick? Yep, you’re right, eat it. Enjoy a delicious IL Pork Chop on a stick, a yummy Corndog or how about Gator on a stick? Time to scarf down some fried goodies like Twinkies, Snickers, Oreos and well the options are endless! Another must is a bucket of sugar filled Mini Donuts, yes please!

6. Listen to some Live Music.

Head to the track as major headliners like Old Dominion, Maren Morris or the rockers like Chevelle take the stage in the Grandstand every night or enjoy free music throughout the grounds every day!

7. Visit the Livestock Barns.  

Wander through the livestock barns to see sheep, swine, cattle, poultry and other 4-H raised farm animals.

8. Check out the Butter Cow.

Head to the Dairy Building and check out this iconic Fair tradition since 1922. Nothing like 500 pounds of unsalted butter hand sculpted and turned into a cow! Can’t miss this one! While in there, cool off with some ice cream or try an award winning cream puff!

9. Tour the World.

Visit the Village of Cultures right next to the Main Gate and try a specialty at one of the fifteen nationality food booths, including Brazilian, German, Mediterranean and Jamaican as well as two international beer booths. While you’re there enjoy Live Music daily from Noon – 9pm.

10. Take a Slide Down 66.

Your day is not complete until you grab that burlap fabric, hike the stairs and feel the wind in your hair as you slide down this 150 foot long yellow slide. A staple at the Fair since the late 60s.

Bonus 11. See the Gate 2 Route 66 Experience & Legends Neon Sign Park.

Already known as a Route 66 city, Springfield welcomes the new Gate 2 Experience.  Enjoy a walk through the entire Illinois Route 66 corridor in microform. Marvel at the Legends Non Sign Park with new and restored neon signs, lit nightly from dusk-10:30pm, a paved brick road, a 25' tall, gray steel Route 66 Giant, drive-in theatre replica and interpretive signs highlighting each Route 66 community from Chicago to the Chain of Rocks bridge. 

 Be sure to stop by the Information Booth to find out all the fun things to do in Springfield when you leave the fair!!

Make sure you share your adventurous moments with us for our #SnapSpringfield Photo Contest! We know you're taking pics and selfies, so why not try to whin a prize while you're at it!.  And,  you might be featured in future Visit Springfield marketing!

 Check us out on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to share your pics with us by using