Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bad to the Bone with the 1985 Illinois State Fair

Arguably one of the most memorable decades in recant American history, the 1980’s was chock full of cultural changes. It was the decade where President Ronald Regan declared a war on drugs, big hair and neon clothes ruled the fashion world, and the Berlin Wall fell. At home in Springfield, the 1985 Illinois State Fair was held from August 8 through the 18. Admission was a mere $2 for adults while child 16 and under could get in for only $1. The Grandstand line up was full on talent. The Illinois State Fair hosted such acts as Survivor, Willie Nelson, comedian Gallagher, The Beach Boys, and John Waite with Meat Loaf. Willie Nelson performed for over ten years at the Illinois State Fair.

            Before each evening Grandstand show, David Merrifield performed an awe-inspiring trapeze act while suspended from a helicopter. At the Illinois Building, exhibits from Australia, China, and Japan were featured. The Japanese exhibit contained a robot named Yume-Maru Jr., which greeted guests. Additionally, there was a robot orchestra which played from a selection of twenty-three songs.

During 1985, these other memorable events occurred around the world:

Jan 1 – VH-1 debuted.

Jan 28 – “We are the World” was recorded by a group of super stars from the United States as a charity single for Africa. This group included such musical talent like Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, and others.

March 6 – Yul Brynner appeared in his 4,500th performance of the musical The King & I.

March 15 – The first Internet domain name was registered. The domain name?

May 16 – Michael Jordan was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

June 27 – Route 66, the historic roadway that ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, was decertified.

July 13 – LiveAid rose over $70 million for African famine relief.

Aug 27 – At the age of 14 years and 8 days old, Mary Joe Fernandez was the youngest person to win a US Tennis Open Match. She beat Sara Gomer in the first round.

Sept 20 – Walt Disney World hosted its 200 millionth guest. 

Sept 22 – In Champaign, Illinois, Willie Nelson and other country musicians participated in Farm Aid.

Sept 29 – MacGyver debuted on ABC-TV.

Oct 9 – In New York City, Central Park dedicated a portion of its acreage as Strawberry Field to memorialize The Beatles.

Nov 17 – Howard Stern began broadcasting on 92.3 WXRK-FM in New York.

What were some of your favorite moments from the 1970’s? Tell us or share your photos!

The 2014 Illinois State Fair runs through August 7 – 17.

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