August 08, 2012

Show will feature Illinois food, wine products

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The sixth annual Illinois Food and Wine Products Show, the premier showcase for Illinois businesses and food products, is coming to the 2012 Du Quoin State Fair on Sept. 1 and 2.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Entrepreneurship Division is partnering with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to give fair visitors the chance to discover, sample and purchase a variety of food products from around the state. The event is from noon to 7 p.m., Sept. 1, and noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 2 in the fair's air-conditioned Exposition Hall.

More than 40 vendors will participate in the trade show-style event. Admission is free.

"We are excited to continue this partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. We have so many mutual clients and helping them all get their products out to the world is our common goal. We are working to put Illinois companies and food and wine products on the global map, whether it be into the hands of individuals through a retail market, or into distribution channels," said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIU Carbondale.

Always a popular event, the show grew substantially with a wider array of products for visitors to sample and buy in 2011 when the Illinois Department of Agriculture joined SIU Carbondale's Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center in sponsorship.

"The Du Quoin State Fair is a great opportunity to highlight Illinois food companies from across the state. The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently debuted the 'Buy Illinois Challenge,' encouraging Illinois households to dedicate $10 of their existing weekly grocery budget toward buying Illinois made products and this is a great way to pass on that message," said Bob Flider, Illinois Department of Agriculture acting director.

The department defines an Illinois food product as anything produced, processed or packaged in the state or any item sold by a company headquartered in Illinois. The state boasts more than 2,500 food processing businesses, the fifth highest count in the nation, according to state agriculture officials. That assures a wide assortment of Illinois taste treats, including wine, at the 2012 Illinois Food and Wine Products Show.

The show, likewise, adds a unique and appreciated element to the fair, according to Danette Mohr, competitive events coordinator for the fair.

"Having the Illinois Food and Wine Products Show in the Expo Hall has added to the variety of displays and vendors and has really helped increase the foot traffic and what we can offer to fairgoers," Mohr said.

To learn more about Illinois food and agribusiness, visit the website at SIU Carbondale hosts the Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center with funding in part through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship and Business Development division at SIU Carbondale, call 618/536-2424, email or visit the website at