Throughout war, political upheaval, and social changes, American culture in the 1970’s flourished. Anti-war protesting was highly visible among American college and universities. Mood rings, lava lamps, and pet rocks all became staple items in households across the nation. In Springfield, the 1979 Illinois State Fair ran from August 9 through August 19. To enter the State Fair, adults paid $1.50. Children, age 13 and under, cost only 50₵.
At the Grandstand, the Illinois State Fair hosted amazing acts such as Bill Cosby and Mary Macgregor, Willie Nelson, Chicago, and Chubby Checker. Jerry Lee Lewis was scheduled to perform, but he failed to appear. The new Agriculture Building was under construction at 8th Street and Sangamon Avenue. McDonald’s hosted a petting zoo in the Park Area of the fairgrounds.
During 1979, these other memorable events occurred around the world:
Jan 6 – The Village People’s song “Y.M.C.A” became the band’s only No. 1 single in the United Kingdom.
Jan 13 – YMCA files a libel suit against the Village People for their “Y.M.C.A” song.
Jan 26 – Dukes of Hazzard, a future hit TV show that highlighted a Southern family, premieres on CBS.
Feb 7 – In Los Angeles, Pink Floyd performed their live version of The Wall for the first time.
Mar 4 – The US Voyager I took a photo that revealed Jupiter’s rings.
May 4 – Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to be elected as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
June 23 – The Charlie Daniels Band released their hit song “Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
July 1 – Sony introduced the Walkman to the public.
July 16 – Saddam Hussein succeeded Premier/President al-Bakr of Iraq.
Aug 30 – While on a canoe trip in Georgia, rabbit attacked President Carter.
Oct 17 – Mother Teresa of India was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nov 4 – 500 Iranian “students” seized the UK embassy in Iran taking ninety hostages. The hostages were held for over four hundred days. This event became the basis for the 2012 movie Argo starring Ben Affleck and John Goodman.
Nov 13 – In New York, Ronald Regan announced his candidacy for the US Presidency.
What were some of your favorite moments from the 1980’s? Share your favorite photos and stories with us! Just tag the Illinois State Fair or #MakingMemories.
The 2014 Illinois State Fair runs through August 7 – 17.