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The 160th Illinois State Fair kicks off with the Twilight parade on Thursday, Aug. 9.

It runs from Thursday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 19, at the fairgrounds in Springfield.

This year, the State Fair will be celebrating Illinois’ bicentennial. In 200 years, the fair has changed in many ways, but it continues to attract people from all over the state and country.

The admission charge at the fair is $10 for adults 13 and older and free for children 12 and under.


  • The Dairy Building: This is where the famous Butter Cow resides during the fair. It takes about 500 pounds of unsalted butter to sculpt the cow, which has been a tradition since the 1920s.
  • Conservation World: This area features a number of free and unique attractions, including fishing clinics, youth archery and BB gun ranges, dog demonstrations, a rock climbing wall and a lumberjack show.

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July AOM HeadshotKas King of Belleville is the July artist of the month. He’s a painter who mainly uses acrylics and spray paint.

How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion? If so, tell us about it.

I’ve been creating my entire life. I started painting all of three years ago! The moment I knew was when I gave up my love for sports to take on my artistry during high school.July AOM Pic 1

Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you? 

Up until the age of 27, Illinois is all I’ve ever known. With Chicago and the Metro East being such a major art hubs,July AOM Pic 2 the arts are more vibrant than ever.

What opportunities does Illinois present for local artists?

What Illinois offers is a place where artists can find themselves eventually branching out and bringing those influences back.

What do you like about Illinois?

What I like most about Illinois is that it’s literally in the center of the country; we have the opportunity to take influence from either coast.

What is your favorite medium to work in?

My favorite medium would be acrylics and spray paint.

Where can people view and purchase your work?

July AOM Pic 4With my website not being complete, I am available as Kas King on Facebook. You can like my Magnify Art Gallery page for updates with shows and events at my gallery. I am also on Instagram at BlakkBobbRoss.

What artist inspires you and why?

Bob Ross, Jean Michel Basquiat, KAWS, King Saladeen and Alec Monopoly inspire me. Each of these artists single-handedly blazed their own paths into being household names within the art world.

June AOM HeadshotAshley Piasecki is the June Artist of the Month. She lives in Milan and specializes in acrylic painting.

How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion? If so, tell us about it.June AOM Art 2

I have always been artistic. My love for art turned from a hobby to work when I was 17. I started painting and selling shoes. I did freelance art and painted shoes through college.

Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?

My recent works are taking the shape of the Mississippi River—somewhat muddy, rocky, watery, geographic and topographic looking. I work as the weekend gallery assistant at the Quad City Arts Center in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, which has a view of the Mississippi. I draw inspiration from Illinois’ geographic location in proximity to Iowa and the Mississippi River. I live in Milan on a country road where I am able to peacefully paint outside.

What opportunities does Illinois present for local artists?

The Quad City Arts is a fantastic non-profit resource for artists.June AOM Art 5 The QC Arts are continually seeking and exploiting local, national and international opportunities for artists of all mediums! Another opportunity that I have created for myself is the relationship I have built with local interior designers who use my work in their clients’ homes.

What do you like about Illinois?

One thing I like about Illinois is the weather. We have all four seasons. Illinois also has great universities, especially Northern Illinois University, and I love our sports teams, including the Bears, Cubs and Blackhawks. In addition, the history of Illinois fascinates me, and the shape of Illinois is interesting as well. The outline of the state’s borders is like an arrowhead.

What is your favoriteJune AOM Art 3 2 medium to work in?

I paint using acrylic mostly. I use oil if I'm feeling fancy, and I’ll paint with watercolor on rainy days.

Where can people view and purchase your work?

People can see and buy my work at State Street Interiors located at 905 State Street Bettendorf, Iowa. They can also view my work on Instagram.

What artist inspires you and why?

Artists Celeste Wrona and Sally Mustang inspire me. They have a sophisticated grasp on balance. Their works are abstract, watery, earthy, and have an elegant use of color.

Chicago’s Cloud GateCloud Gate more commonly known as “The Bean” has been named among the top 10 landmarks in the country by TripAdvisor.

The travel website said it compiled the ranking using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide.

First unveiled to the public on May 15, 2006, the elliptical sculpture is British artist Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work installed in the United States.

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memWhat better way to celebrate Memorial Day than spending time with your family and honoring all the brave men and women who gave their lives to make this country what it is? Below are some Memorial Day parades and ceremonies in the Chicagoland area over the weekend.  


Chicago is starting Memorial Day Weekend with a wreath laying ceremony and parade at 11a.m. on Saturday, May 26 at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza. Following the ceremony, there will be a parade promptly at noon that will go south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren.

The Norwood Park Memorial Day parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday and end with a ceremony at approximately 12:15 p.m. The parade will begin at Onahan School and travel west toward Northwest Highway, ending at Taft High School where the ceremony will take place.

North/Northwest Suburbs

Lincolnshire Memorial Day Ceremony

At Lincolnshire’s ceremony, Captain Raymond C. Leung of the U.S. Navy will speak at 10 a.m. on Monday at Spring Lake Park. The Daniel Wright Middle School band and color guard will perform at the event. After the ceremony, the Sea Cadets Division 911 will retire a worn American flag. Those who plan on attending may also bring flags to retire.

Lincolnwood Memorial Day Parade

The parade will begin at 10:20 a.m. on Monday at Madeleine’s Garden. The parade will start at the corner of Cicero and Pratt Avenues and will end in Proesel Park at Madeleine’s Garden, where a ceremony will be held at 11 a.m.

Lincolnwood’s parade allows children ages eight and under to participate by riding bikes, scooters and wagons decorated in a patriotic theme. Children participating must be accompanied by an adult and all riders must wear helmets.

West Suburbs

Battle of Cantigny 100th Anniversary

In Wheaton, there will be a 100th anniversary celebration of the famous World War I battle where the U.S. Army liberated the French village of Cantigny from German occupation. The celebration will include a wreath-laying ceremony, a poppy display, World War I themed family activities, military vehicles and a World War I themed photo booth. To end the celebration, the Illinois Brass Band will perform at 3 p.m.

Naperville Memorial Day Parade

The Naperville Memorial Day Parade will include 17 different marching bands and will begin at roughly 10:30 a.m. at Jackson and West Street. It will end at the Saints Peter and Paul church parking lot.

South Suburbs

Beverly Area Memorial Day Parade

Before the parade kicks off, the Beverly Area Planning Association’s 41st annual Ridge Run will take place where more than 3,000 athletes will gather to compete. There will be entertainment, food, children’s activities and special guests at Ridge Park following the race.

The parade will begin from 110th Street and Longwood Drive at about 10 a.m., and march north to Ridge Park. After the parade, the BAPA will have a wreath-laying ceremony along with a color guard at Ridge Park.

Homewood Memorial Day Parade

The Homewood Memorial Day Parade will start at 10:30 a.m. and travel south on Dixie Highway before ending at Veterans Park for a Memorial Day ceremony. The ceremony is to remember, reflect and honor those who have served, are serving and those who have given their lives for this country.