Illinois State Fair visitors get “energized”

This year’s state fair featured a brand new area with renewable energy displays, activities, engaging safety and energy efficiency programs, guest speakers and giveaways – along with returning features like the arcs and sparks of live power line demos and other traditional favorites.

It was all about “safe, smart, clean, and green” energy in the Illinois Energy Zone. The Energy Education Council (EEC) partnering with organizations across Illinois ­provided nearly two dozen attractions.

People of all ages learned from ­riding on the energy bike, checking out the solar energy house, getting free Illinois popcorn popped using solar and wind energy, ­seeing what geothermal energy is all about and finding out about ­biomass, biofuels processing and more. And safety ­programs were held several times each day, with special presentations by power lines accident survivors.

The 18-foot energy efficiency wall created by the Illinois generation and transmission cooperative Prairie Power, Inc. allowed visitors to see what’s inside their walls to better understand air and energy leaks, ­insulation and sealing.

“In recent years at the fair, we’ve seen growing interest in energy ­efficiency and clean energy,” said Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. “By partnering with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and many other ­organizations, we were able to show fair visitors what’s happening in the state with ­renewable energy ­technology, efficiency ­measures and much more, sharing ­valuable ­information in a dynamic and ­enjoyable way.”