5 things to do second weekend of August

5 things to do second weekend of August


The sun sets over the Midway during the 2017 Illinois State Fair at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Springfield, Ill.

The Illinois State Fair is finally back. The 11-day event begins Thursday as the opening day features The Twilight Parade — beginning at 5:30 p.m. from Lincoln Park, discounted carnival rides and a 7:30 p.m. performance from Sammy Hagar and The Circle. The rock supergroup kicks off more than a week’s worth of Grandstand headliners. Over the next few days, you won’t want to miss Friday’s 8 p.m. performance featuring singer Kane Brown with county band Restless RoadToby Keith with Craig Morgan on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. as country music again takes the spotlight and Monday’s 7:30 p.m. free tribute to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Diamond by The Traveling Salvation Show. Visit www2.illinois.gov/StateFair/Entertainment/Grandstand to see prices for all Grandstand performances and to purchase tickets. 

A packed house sees Five Finger Death Punch perform on the Grandstand Stage at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Aug. 19, 2017.

Even though the state fair will provide more than enough entertainment, food and variety in activities to get you through the weekend and beyond, there is plenty going on in central Illinois outside of all the action at the fairgrounds.

Also: Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 Illinois State Fair

With Saturday marking the 113th anniversary of the start of Springfield’s 1908 Race Riot, there will be a bike tour in commemoration of the tragic events. During the riot — which took place from Aug. 14-16 — a mob of white residents murdered Black residents, burned Black homes and businesses and attacked hundreds of people merely because of the color of their skin. Saturday’s bike tour will begin in the Springfield NAACP parking lot at 801 S. 11th St. The event, which is from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., will include food and plenty of history in addition to the exercise.

If you prefer to take in history from a screen rather than on a bike, the Jacksonville Public Library may be the perfect place for you to spend you Saturday afternoon. Beginning at 2 p.m., the library will show the PBS documentary, “Ida B. Wells: A Chicago Stories Special” which details the journey of the 19th century Chicago investigative journalist, civil rights leader and suffragist. The film highlights the battles Wells fought and shows how current activists have been able to draw inspiration from her work as they continue to fight for civil liberties. Snacks and drinks will be provided during the hour-long screening. Masks are required for those who are unvaccinated.

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