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August 10, 2001

Illinois First Lady Brings Past, Present Together at State Fair

SPRINGFIELD -- Visitors to Illinois First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan's tent at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, August 10-19, will be able to personally experience the past, present and future of the state in one location.

The tent reflects the diverse interests of the First Lady herself, and follows the theme, "Harvesting our Greatness: past, present and future." It is designed for families with children under age 10 to learn, hands-on, about Illinois' rich history and resources.

One of the most exciting exhibits hosted by the First Lady will be a real bobcat machine that children can pretend to operate, courtesy of the Capital Development Board.

The Pennies for Lincoln campaign continues to assist with construction of Mrs. Lincoln's Attic in the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. So far, Illinois school children have contributed $55,000 in pennies since the campaign began in February.

From modern machinery, children can then step back in time as volunteers in period dress from Lincoln's New Salem village treat them to crafts, games and toys from the 1800's, such as marbles and pickup sticks. There will also be demonstrations of old time quilting, broom making and coopering (barrel making). Volunteers from the Old State Capitol will provide additional Lincoln-era children's activities from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. daily.

For those who enjoy more current toys, K'NEX Industries is providing 12,000 Lincoln Logs for visitors to create a giant Lincoln Log Village. In another area of the tent, children can design their own race cars out of Legos and then find out how fast their creations move down a racetrack. And, they can make and take home a souvenir frame.

On August 17, Mrs. Ryan will be hosting Futures for Kids Day. She serves as chair of Futures for Kids, the statewide resource for programs and policies related to the health, safety and education of infants, children and teenagers. The day's events will include celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Illinois Safe Kids Coalition (10:00 a.m. in the Emerson Building), recognition of the Youth Making A Difference Award winners (1:00 p.m. at the Illinois Building Auditorium) and a child safety seat demonstration by the Illinois State Police.

Mrs. Ryan is also continuing her role as honorary chair of the 4-H CAN Make a Difference food drive. For the fifth year, she is asking state fair visitors to bring non-perishable food items for distribution to the state's food pantries. "This time of year donations are needed badly because food supplies collected during the holidays become depleted," Mrs. Ryan explained. Donors will receive discount coupons for use at fair food booths.

For more information and a detailed schedule of state fair activities and events, go to www.futures4kids.org.


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