With our second straight hot weekend, finding water headlines Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings. For myself, that means playing on Lake Michigan with my family this morning, and hopefully we will catch some practice of the Air & Water Show while tubing and swimming. But Downstate, the Illinois State Fair opens today and runs through Aug. 23, and with it the free Conservation World opens inside the fair. And I love it.
CONSERVATION WORLD: It's things like this, Trina Whitener working with barn owl Tobin three years ago (BTW, that's one of my favorite photos), that make visiting Conservation World a highlight for the family at the State Fair. Well, that and they usually have 17th Street Barbeque, which people far more discerning than me have voted best in the nation, right inside the entrance to Conservation World. I can go without fair food (do i really need a fried Snickers at my age?) but save up room for a major barbeque at 17th Street at Conservation World.
Think of Conservation World as an outdoor show/conservation demonstration rolled into one at a 30-acre outdoor setting. It is open from 10 a.m.-7p.m. during the fair, which runs through Aug. 23. I put the release of all the stuff at Conservation World at the end below.
Of course, if you want to do the normal fair things, like stare back at the sheep, you can always do that too.
PERCH FISHING: Some days are better than others, but these west and southwest winds have been helping to hold perch along the Chicago shoreline, especially on the North Side. Boaters off Olive Park have been doing better than shore fishermen, especially for jumbos.
FLOATING: Last weekend, I stopped by Reed Canoe Rentals in Kankakee and they said it was there second straight weekend where all their canoes and kayaks were out. I think some people are taking advantage of visiting Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais and making a day of it with a float down the Kankakee.
WADING: All area rivers are low, in some cases reaching the point of being too low. It is a perfect time at least for comfort for wading.
CATFISH OPEN: Lakeside at Shabbona Lake has been together monthly fishing events. For August, it is the Catfish Open on Saturday, from 6 a.m.-7p.m. The winner will be determined by the heaviest catfish stringer, up to limit of six fish. These are individual catches and anglers can not combine catches into one stringer. Catfish may be weighed in anytime prior to 7 p.m. Prizes will be for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, $100, $50 & $25 respectfully.
Check www.shabbonalake.com or call Lakeside at (815) 824-2581.
NWTF BANQUETS: The National Wild Turkey Federation banquet and fundraiser for Windy City Longbeards is one of those things that I keep meaning to attend. In part simply because of the placement of it at Erie Street Cafe, 536 W. Erie, Chicago. It's tonight, but again this year, I cannot attend. For information, contact Matthew Dunn at (312) 814-2521.
HUNTING PERMITS: This is a reminder more than anything. Today is the last day to apply for firearm/muzzleloader deer permits, second lottery; and the last day to apply for youth deer permits, first lottery.
PERSONAL PICKS: One of the things about doing this Chicago WWW each week again is that I can check myself whether I did the things i hoped to fit it. Last weekend I mentioned I planned to catch some of the Perseid Meteor shower. Well, usually I torture a few of my kids and make them stare at the sky during one of the prime times. Not this year, and the few times I have tried, I have seen exactly zero shooting stars.
Today, our family will play on Lake Michigan off downtown for a story. And i mean play, tubing, swimming and hanging out at the Play Pen. . . . I think either Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I will be able to sneak in an hour or two of wading on the Kankakee. . . . I should go perch fishing, but that won't happen. . . . We will not make it down to Conservation World until next week, sort of a lead-in to school starting again. Below are the details on Conservation World.
Conservation World Celebrates the Outdoors at the Illinois State Fair
Lumberjacks, Cool Dog Trick Show, Fishing and Hunting Activities
SPRINGFIELD, IL -Traditional state fair favorites including the Timberworks Lumberjack Show and the Cool Dog Productions Trick Dog Thrill Show are featured as part of a full schedule of family-oriented activities and entertainment at Conservation World during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 14-23 in Springfield, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller announced today.
"From the exciting shows like the Cool Dogs and the lumberjacks to fishing clinics, target ranges and canoe rides, Conservation World is a great place for families to spend time during the state fair," Miller said. "We want youth, families, and folks of all ages to spend more time in the outdoors in Illinois. Conservation World exhibits, hands-on activities and entertainment will provide a sample of all the great things to do outside in Illinois."
Located just inside Gate 7, Conservation World is a 30-acre park located on the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. During the fair, Conservation World is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. each day. It is easily accessible through pedestrian gates just north of the Junior Livestock Center and near the IDNR Headquarters building, and via a state fair tram stop.
"Parents love to bring the kids to Conservation World because there is so much for youngsters to do - for a few minutes or a few hours," Miller said. "While children are trying to catch a bluegill or practicing their archery skills or on a canoe ride, the adults can enjoy the shows, tour the exhibits, or enjoy a sandwich and a cold drink on one of our comfortable park benches under a shade tree and relax."
Among the entertainment highlights at Conservation World:
The always-popular Timberworks Lumberjack Show performs three times daily at noon, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. The shows include competitions in log-rolling, chainsaw and cross-cut sawing, pole climbing and ax throwing.
The Cool Dog Productions Trick Dog Thrill Show will be featured daily at 12:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. The Las Vegas-based dog show has been thrilling audiences for more than 25 years.
The Bass Tub show will appeal to anglers and fish enthusiasts of all ages, with tips on catching popular sport fish in Illinois. The programs are at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.
The Lincoln Storytellers will present informative programs on natural resources past and present on Friday, Saturday and Sunday both weekends of the fair at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Conservation World's Illinois Green Industry Association Amphitheater stage.
Chris Camp brings his popular "The Whip Guy" show to the Illinois Green Industry Association Amphitheater stage daily at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4 p.m
Fair visitors will enjoy visiting with professionals from the Illinois Green Industry Association at the gazebo near the amphitheater. They can answer questions about home lawns and gardens, house and garden plants, garden design, and other horticultural issues.
Conservation World again welcomes the expert glass artisans from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. SIU glassblower demonstrations are planned throughout the day from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Conservation World visitors can also enjoy a number of other popular activities:
Fishing clinics for youngsters - which include catch-and-release fishing - are at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the fishing pond near the Conservation World main gate.
Local and state sporting organizations host a free 3-D Archery Range and a BB Gun Range open from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. each day of the fair, providing youngsters an opportunity to test their shooting sports skills. Volunteers from Illinois sporting organizations help youngsters improve their skills.
Smokey Bear visits with youngsters each day at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Forest Resources Tent
Voyager canoe rides in the 20-passenger canoe on the main lake at Conservation World are provided each day of the fair from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Chainsaw artists Wendy and Mike Rhodes conduct demonstrations on their unique wood work. Candle making demonstrations can be found in the Conservation World log cabin.
Field dog demonstrations will be conducted near the Conservation World lake on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. both weekends of the fair.
Roger Sigler brings his antler dog show to Conservation World with performances at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday both weekends of the fair. Enjoy the show as these trained dogs find shed antlers
In the IDNR Director's Tent at Conservation World, visitors will find displays highlighting the state's natural resources, Outdoor Illinois magazine and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta. Once again this year, FOID card applications and photos will be available in the Director's Tent.
Hands-on activities and informative displays on outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources stewardship in Illinois are located throughout Conservation World. In the Law Enforcement Tent, Illinois Conservation Police officers will be on hand to answer questions about natural resources regulations and safety while enjoying the outdoors. License and permit information will also be available in the Law Enforcement Tent.
IDNR wildlife, fisheries, and habitat restoration biologists will be on hand to answer questions about rules and regulations, hunting and fishing prospects, programs available to assist private landowners, and opportunities to get more people involved in conservation activities.
Displays and information on state parks, education programs for youngsters and free materials for school teachers, mining and oil production, forestry management and tree farming, and protection of threatened and endangered species are also featured.
The Illinois Department of Human Services will provide an air-conditioned mobile nursery for nursing babies or changing diapers in Conservation World. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency hosts children's games focusing on clean air, water and other environmental efforts.
Conservation World also welcomes local park districts and conservation districts on Sat., Aug. 22 as it serves as one of the featured venues for Park District Conservation Day at the state fair.
Conservation World has also become a state fairgrounds destination for food, with an expanded lineup of famous food vendors. Southern Illinois' famed 17th Street Barbeque returns to Conservation World with world champion barbeque, ribs, chicken, and sandwiches. Visitors will also find Vose's corn dogs and O'Brien's state fair menu available in Conservation World this year. Other vendors will have old-fashioned root beer, the best kettle corn on the fairgrounds, pork rinds, honey, jams and jellies, and shaved ice.
Illinois State Fair admission includes free admission to Conservation World - open daily from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. throughout the fair.