State Fair celebrates the best of Illinois

Preview Day on Thursday, Aug. 12 will feature the twilight parade, and discounted carnival rides. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois State Fair)

The 2021 Illinois State Fair runs from Thursday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug.  22 at the fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon Ave., Springfield. The fairgrounds are open from 7 a.m. to midnight for the duration of the fair. The Fair Administration Office is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the fair.

Daily Schedule

Thursday, Aug. 12 

Preview Night

This is the unofficial start of the fair. Gates open at 7 a.m.

Preview Day will feature the twilight parade, and discounted carnival rides. The Twilight Parade starts at 5:30 p.m. from Lincoln Park.   Carnival Midway and Adventure Village will be open late Thursday afternoon following a complete ride inspection.

Friday, Aug. 13 

County Fairs & Horse Racing Day

More than 70 county fair queens and 105 fairs and expositions from across the state are represented at the fair. It is also the first day of harness racing at the fair’s one-mile dirt track, which is the fastest in the world.

Saturday, Aug. 14 

Kids Day

The first Saturday of the Illinois State Fair is dedicated to our youngest fairgoers.  Kids Day will feature special programming aimed at educating and entertaining kids of all ages.  And remember – kids age 12 and under get in free.

Agriculture Day at the fair is Tuesday, Aug. 17. Grand champion junior livestock are auctioned at the Governor’s Sale of Champions. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois State Fair)

Sunday, Aug. 15 

Veterans & Gold Star Families Day

Veterans and their families are admitted to the grounds for free. A veterans parade and activities are some of the highlights for the day. Discounted ride passes for families of military veterans.


Monday, Aug. 16 

Senior and Scout Day

Fair visitors 60 and older are admitted to the fairgrounds for free. Special events in the Senior Citizens Center, including inductions into the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame, take place throughout the day. The Scout Day Tent will be located directly outside the entrance to the Carnival Midway.

Tuesday, Aug. 17 

Agriculture Day

Illinois agriculture, which is featured throughout the fair, is highlighted on this day. Grand champion junior livestock including the barrow, steer, wether (ram), poultry trio and rabbit trio are auctioned at the Governor’s Sale of Champions, and the best of Illinois processed foods are auctioned at the Commodity Auction.

Wednesday, Aug. 18

Governor’s Day

While the Governor attends much of the Illinois State Fair, this is his day to host special guests, including former Illinois Governors.

Thursday, Aug. 19 

Republican Day

Illinois Republicans host special guests on this day.

Pig races will return to the Illinois State Fair this year. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois State Fair)

Friday, Aug. 20 

First Responder Day

All police officers, firefighters and EMTs who show their badge at the gate will be admitted to the Illinois State Fair for free.  Also, look for special offers and discounts from various food vendors.


Saturday, Aug. 21 

Park District Conservation Day

Members of more than 45 Park Districts from throughout Illinois entertain fairgoers across the grounds and host activities in Conservation World.


Sunday, Aug. 22 

Family Day

Bring the family out and enjoy the last day of the fair.​​​​

State Fair butter cow unveiled

Daily Admission Rates (Prices Subject to change)

  • Children (0-12) Free
  • Adults (13-59) $10 (Fridays & Saturdays)
  • Adults (13-59) $5 (All other days)
  • Seniors (60 and older) $3

Free Admission Days:

  • Sunday, Aug. 15 (Veterans and immediate families free with proper ID)
  • Monday, Aug. 16 (Seniors and scouts (with proper ID or uniform)
  • Friday, Aug. 20 (First responders with proper ID)

​Parking Rates:

  • Daily $5
  • Seasonal $40 (Gate 6, Lot 18 infield)

Visit for more information.

If heading to the state fair, be aware that the northbound ramps from Sangamon Avenue to Interstate 55 are closed with traffic detoured to the Sherman interchange. (Courtesy of IDOT)

Discount Admission Booklets:

Admission booklet $45 (11) any day 2021 adult admissions)

Senior Admission booklet $30 (10 any day 2021 senior admissions)

These items are available on-line through the Agriculture Pay Portal 




The Grandstand is known for holding an assortment of concerts, horse and automobile races.  The north and south interiors accommodates vendors, displays and organizations. For the schedule of grandstand entertainers, go to


The Arena

The Multipurpose Arena (MPA) is home to motocross and motor cycle races, truck and tractor pulls, demolition derbies and much more.

See all the events scheduled for the Multi-Purpose Arena.  Click on the event below to see more detailed information.  Tickets can be purchased in person or calling Fair’s Box Office @ 217-782-1979 or online through

Information on free entertainment:


Illinois Wine Experience

Exposition Building – North Gallery

Sunday – Thursday – 1 to 8 p.m.

Friday & Saturdays – 1 to 9 p.m.

Village of Cultures Booth

Thursday Aug 12- 4 to 8 p.m.

All Other Fair Dates – Noon to 9 p.m.

The Illinois Wine Experience is sponsored by The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA)


Carnival ​

New rides have been added on the midway, adding more value to your Mega or Jumbo Pass. The Double Ferris Wheel (Skywheel) and Super Shot (similar to Mega Drop) make their way back to the Illinois State Fair along with numerous other Spectacular rides including: the Eclipse (the only ride of its kind in all of North America), X Scream, Rockstar, Screamer, Catch N Air and Surfs Up, just to name a few of our new attractions.

Mega Pass and Jumbo passes on sale .  For more information, go to



The Illinois State Fairgrounds Campground is open. Reservations are not required nor accepted. Additional information regarding our campground can be found on our non-fair space rental website.