- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - High school marching bands and floats are set to compete while entertaining the crowds during the annual Illinois State Fair twilight parade.

The parade steps off Thursday at 6 p.m. at Ninth Street and North Grand Avenue in Springfield and ends at the fairground’s grandstand. The twilight parade kicks off the state fair every year. This year’s theme is “Making Memories at the Illinois State Fair.”

Grand marshal of this year’s parade is Kevin McKee, a member of the U.S.’s gold medal-winning Paralympic sled hockey team.

Carnival rides will be open Thursday evening and will have discounted ticket prices during the fair’s Preview Night. The state fair runs through Aug. 17.

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Online: http://www.agr.state.il.us/isf/parade.htm