The Illinois State Fair is underway.
Gov. Pat Quinn presided over the traditional ribbon-cutting Friday morning, with the historic arch of the fair’s main gate protecting the event from drizzle. The fair has been damp, gray, and muddy so far.
The governor addressed a question about criticism the fair is a perennial money-loser.
“I don’t know the exact dollar amount,” Quinn said. “You know, it is, I think, an opportunity for us to make an investment in something that pays dividends for a lifetime,” recalling the fair queen’s story of coming to Springfield as a 5-year-old to participate in a smile contest.
Also on hand was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, which led the governor to reiterate that Illinois really is the “Land of Lincoln.”
The fair runs through Aug. 17.