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The Blade – Fairbury Fair Welcomes The Willis Clan

Now is the time when the town of Fairbury starts to buzz with anticipation for the Fairbury Fair. Who will show the best quilt this year? Who will have Grand Champion Livestock? What night is the Demo Derby? Friends ask “what night are you going?” The Fairbury Fairboard has a great lineup for everyone this year and our Theme is “It’s a Jungle out There….So Come to the Fair!”

Preparation for the Fair starts in January when the Fairboard makes the trek to Springfield for the State Fair Convention. Each year the board gets to watch the showcases for new acts that want to perform at Fairs around Illinois. This year there was one stand out…..The Willis Clan! “As soon as they got on stage, I knew I had to find a way to bring them to Fairbury,” said Fair Chairman Sally Goembel. The Willis Clan is a group that will appeal to all ages. They live in Nashville Tennessee and merge their Irish roots with other music and dance to perform a mix of new and old. All twelve children of the family perform in the show and all their names begin with a J. They are multi talented with voice, dance and instrumental and amazing to watch. Two months after the Fairboard booked the Willis clan they received word they the family had been booked on TLC for their own series called “The Willis Family”. This has boosted their popularity in many households.

It has been many years since the Fairboard has put an up and coming or “big name” act in front of their grandstands. Despite that fact, it didn’t take long for Goembel to convince the rest of the board that this group was worth the risk. The board booked the group that same night for Wednesday August 19th opening night show. Many challenges faced the board to prepare for a group like this. As always, this wonderful community has stepped up to help. So many volunteer workers from Fairbury and surrounding communities have been busy helping the board prep the fairgrounds and they even had a few sponsors step up with monetary donations to help defray the cost since all fair funding has been cut in Illinois. More information can be found at www.fairburyfair.com. “The Fairboard hopes to see you all at the fair Wednesday night to see the Willis Clan perform,” said President Leroy Rodriguez.

“When there is an event in town with people flowing through the streets, it gives our community businesses a boost. The Fairbury Fair is one excellent example of many that the Specialty Shops and other area businesses appreciate. The hard work of the groups involved do not go unnoticed.” says Bobbi McKeon, the coordinator for the Specialty Shops. Bobbi is appreciative that Sally Goembel, owner of Lost in Time, Timeless Treats Bakery and Lost Arts, takes such a responsibility with the Fairbury Fair. “It helps keep us working together between groups.”

Please call Bobbi at (815) 692-4500 or email fairbury@fairburyILattractions.com with any ideas or suggestions for interesting topics for our community.