August 05, 2010

‘Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace’ set for fair

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Conceived and born right here in Southern Illinois, these products have markets that sometimes encompass the globe.

At this year’s Du Quoin State Fair, the Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s entrepreneurship programs offers visitors the opportunity to see and purchase some of the products created by the region’s innovative entrepreneurs. This is the fourth year for the Made in Southern Illinois exhibit at the fair, but this year’s event expands in a new direction.

Previously, a different company got the spotlight each day of the fair, giving 30 businesses a chance to shine over the course of three years. This year, the event expands to feature more businesses and becomes a retail marketplace as well as an entrepreneurship showcase.

Media Advisory

Reporter, photographers and news crews are welcome to visit the Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace at the Du Quoin State Fair Expo Hall Aug. 28-Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 618/453-3805 or e-mail

Plans call for showcasing 10 vendors Aug. 28-Sept. 1 and 10 more Sept. 2-6. The marketplace will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily in the air-conditioned Expo Hall.

Artisans and producers from around the region will display a wide variety of products there. Some are handcrafted creations, others are innovative products. Visitors can talk to the entrepreneurs, learn more about their businesses and their handcrafted or homegrown products and even make purchases.

“The Du Quoin State Fair attracts about 350,000 visitors annually with the majority visiting the Expo Hall where the fair Home Show is also housed. Our marketplace is just inside the main entrance of the building, thus attracting considerable attention from visitors. We are excited that Du Quoin State Fair visitors will get to see some of the best products Southern Illinois has to offer!” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center. A complete list of featured businesses will be available at the fairground.

Russell said program consultants from the SIUC Entrepreneurship and Business Development Programs will also be on hand to answer questions and assist other aspiring entrepreneurs with information about starting and growing a business or expanding an existing business in Southern Illinois. The programs include the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, the Illinois Small Business Development Center, the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, and Operation Bootstrap.

Also, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture through the Du Quoin State Fair, the SIUC Entrepreneurship and Business Development Programs are co-sponsoring “Southern Hospitality: A Culinary Tour Through Illinois.” Adjacent to the Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace, this booth will feature Dylan Lipe, Du Quoin State Fair executive chef. Lipe will prepare a variety of recipes highlighting foods from local growers and producers. Cooking shows are at 6 p.m. Aug. 28-Sept. 5, with additional shows at noon Aug. 28-29 and at 1 p.m. Sept. 4-5. Lucky audience members will get to sample Lipe’s cuisine.

For more information about the Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace or the SIUC entrepreneurship programs and the assistance they offer businesses in the region, call 618/453-3805 or look online at