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DU QUOIN — State Fair Manager Luke Sailer and Assistant Du Quoin State Fair Manager Tribretta Reiman made several stops in Southern Illinois on Monday to promote the 2018 Du Quoin State Fair.

After announcing Cheap Trick would play Aug. 26, Bicentennial Day at this year’s fair, the pair announced the fair would host a birthday party for the state that day. Other events will be happening around the state, including events at Kaskaskia and Vandalia.

Sailer, a native of Carmi, was named state fair manager on March 1, but he has been with Illinois Department of Agriculture for three years. He served as non-fair manager and assistant fair manager before getting the call to head the two Illinois state fairs.

“Tibretta and I have a great working relationship. It’s so wonderful to see the fair come to life,” Sailer said.

He is also proud of the rich history of agriculture in Illinois, the state’s number one industry. Since he has attended several Du Quoin State Fairs, Sailer believes people return each year because of the way the fair makes them feel.

“The first day of the fair is like a family homecoming,” Sailer said. “We want people to have that homecoming.”

For Reiman, who started at Du Quoin State Fair in March 2016, the fair is like a homecoming. Four generations of her family have shown at the fair, starting with her grandfather at the very first Du Quoin State Fair. Both say they have a passion for making the fairs fun and sustainable.

Reiman would like to remind businesses that they can host company picnics at the fairground during the Du Quoin State Fair. Anyone who is interested should call the fair office at 618-542-1515.

Sailer promised that Cheap Trick is the first of many good things to be announced for this year’s fair, including a surprise for fans of harness racing.

Sailer stayed at Hayes House Thursday night to get an early start on Friday morning. He arrived about 9 p.m. and drove around the fairground.

“All the lights were on. It was just beautiful,” Sailer said.

Every day, Sailer drives through the front gates of the fairground in Springfield to go to his office, past a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Reiman does the same thing in Du Quoin. They both say they are a little nostalgic, but it keeps them grounded and focuses on the fairs.

“It makes you appreciate the great opportunity that we have. We are blessed to hold the positions we hold,” Reiman said.

Du Quoin State Fair will be Aug. 24 through Sept. 3. Vendor, exhibitor and concessions applications are available now at www2.illinois.gov.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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