SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois State Fair announced that the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) Illinois Product Farmers Market will begin with “Opening Day” at the Market on Thursday, May 18 from 3:30 –7 p.m. at “The Shed” on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Fair officials said marketgoers will enjoy a taste of the fair with lemon shake-ups, Cozy Dogs, mini doughnuts, hot and cold coffee, lotus drinks, ribeye sandwiches, kettle corn, cotton candy, snow cones, brats, hot dogs, and more. Attendees can also enjoy seasonal Illinois products along with other festivities.

“We could not think of a better way to open the 16th annual Illinois Product Farmers Market than highlighting all the great things we have going on at the fairgrounds,” said Jerry Costello II, Director of the IDOA. “From the largest summer event in the state to promoting the state’s number one industry by selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and Illinois products weekly, the Illinois State Fairgrounds is the place to be.”

Officials said marketgoers will receive a free Illinois Product reusable bag to use throughout the event. They said there will also be an Illinois State Fair prize wheel offering a chance to win many prizes, including free state fair admission and parking, a bottle of Illinois wine, concert tickets, Illinois Product Farmers Market Cash, or an Illinois Product Basket full of items from the farmers market vendors.

IDOA reported other activities at the Farmers Market include Touch-A-Truck, free balloon animals, bandana tie-dying, market play, Springfield Lucky Horseshoes inflatable batting tee, Springfield Park District’s yard games, Illinois State Museum science and history exhibit, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum giveaways, YMCA kids’ activities, and live music from Robert Sampson.

“The 16th Annual Illinois Product Farmers Market is a testament to the invaluable role vendors, farmers, and growers all play feeding and growing our state—and, our fairgrounds continue to set the stage to uplift the driving force that is our Agriculture industry,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “This event kicks off yet another season of opportunities for our state’s communities to come together and celebrate the bounty that Illinois produces.”

IDOA said they will match every $25 spent in Link at the Illinois Product Farmers Market. If marketgoers spend $25 in Link, they will receive an additional $25 in Link Match to spend on fruits and vegetables, event officials reported.

Marketgoers can also purchase Mega or Jumbo Passes at a discounted rate at the event to use at the 2023 Illinois State Fair from August 10-20th in Springfield. Officials said drivers can find The Shed on the fairgrounds by entering the Main Gate and taking a right on Illinois Avenue. Parking is located across the street.

The Illinois Product Farmers Market will be held every Thursday beginning May 18 until September 28, excluding the two Thursdays during the Illinois State Fair. The Illinois Product Fall Market will be held on October 14, officials said.

All products sold at the Illinois Product Farmers Market are processed, produced, or packaged in the state of Illinois. Fair officials said space is still available for vendors to participate in the 2023 market. Applications can be found by contacting agr.farmersmarket@illinois.gov.