Sights and smells at the 64th annual HOI Fair

By WEEK Reporter

July 12, 2013 Updated Jul 12, 2013 at 10:51 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- The Heart of Illinois Fair opened tonight for it's 64th year.

"We've got some of the old stuff back, but we've got new. We've got a combine simulator. You can actually drive a combine, you can plant corn. And we even have a life-size cow that you can milk. So we have a lot of different things for all ages," said Les Leach, HOI Fair president.

Woody's Menagerie is always a big hit for all.

Gregg Woody said, "We do do the wildlife education show, we've got a grizzly bear cub, we have an African lion serval, armadillo and several other rare and unusual animals besides that."

Woody also does the always popular pig and goat races. And this year he brought back his Ligers Hank and Charlie. They are half tiger, half lion.

Perhaps one of the most important things at the fair is food. Some of the favorites include funnel cake, elephant ear, lemonade shake up, deep-fried Snickers, fried pickles, and alligator bites.

For some the fair has a deeper meaning. Jo and Fred Rutter met at the fair and coming back is an anniversary of sorts for them.

"1959 I wanted to ride the scrambler and it was all full and she was the only one left. And I asked to marry her a year later. We've been married for 53 years and we've missed one fair," said Fred Rutter.

You've still got 8 more days to check out all it has to offer.

Gates open at noon on weekends, 4:00 on weekdays.

Ticket prices are $10 for 13 and over, $5 children 6-12 and children 6 and under are free.

The fair runs through next Saturday July 20th.

For a list of all the events at the fair visit

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