October 9, 2010 01:18 AM
Yes, the Illinois State Fair was two months ago, but I recently posted some new photos to the photo site that I wanted to share with the world. By world, I mean both of you who read this blog (thanks!).
Each year at the fair, entertainment companies and performing artists are featured in the area just beyond the main gate. The shows are free. You just have to show up when they're scheduled to start. This year, I photographed two that I really enjoyed.
The first of the set is a performance by the BMX Pros Trick Team. Their high-flying, gravity-defying tricks took me back to my bike-riding days around the neighborhood, building ramps with my friends out of 2-by-4s and plywood. OK, I never came anything close to what these guys do, but you get the nostalgia.
Their show really was top-notch. I didn't know what to expect before they started, but it's much more than guys jumping bikes off ramps. The tricks they do in the air and on the ground clearly require dedication, professionalism and nerves of steel. If you ever get a chance to watch one of their shows, I highly recommend it. Tip from the pros: always wear a helmet!
The second act I photographed was The Great Bear Show (warning: site is 1990s-ish). Established in 1977, The Great Bear Show is the oldest and longest running wild animal education show in the country, according to their website. I'd believe it. They educate and entertain their guests with facts about bears along with a performance of tricks.
Along with education and entertainment, the mission of The Great Bear Show is to rescue and rehabilitate orphan bear cubs who would otherwise be put down, because bear cubs are completely reliant on the survival skills passed onto them by their mother. Bears cannot be reintegrated into the wild once they have become accustomed to humans. There were a lot of other bear facts presented at the show, such as types of bears of North America, their eating habits, sizes and weights. The tricks are performed by the bears on a reward basis and are designed to emulate activities bears would occupy themselves with in the wild. The Great Bear Show definitely was fun and educational.