- Associated Press - Friday, July 14, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Officials are receiving criticism for their decision to move the traditional route for the annual Illinois State Fair.

The Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade scheduled for Aug. 10 in Springfield. It will now start in the city’s Lincoln Park and go north, bypassing a street it has passed through for years, The State Journal-Register (https://bit.ly/2tSd2FZ ) reported.

Opposed to the new route are residents who live and work near the previous route and have watched the parade from their homes and businesses for decades.

“It’s going to ruin our annual state fair party,” said local business owner Jim Davison. “We usually have about a thousand people on my lot. Everybody up and down my street, which is Route 66, all have yard parties and their friends come over and watch the parade. It’s a yearly big event. It’s like your birthday party.”

Mayor Jim Langfelder is also opposed to the route change, saying it interferes with the city’s tradition.

“I’m not sure if they realize the thousands of people who come out and enjoy the parade,” Langfelder said.

Rebecca Clark, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said the new route will provide handicapped-accessible bathrooms, more shade and water fountains for participants and spectators.

“It was just a really great opportunity,” she said.

Clark said the change in route will save costs because fewer streets will need to be blocked off. The parade is expected to drop from $10,000 to less than $5,000.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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