For those who may be unaware, CORAL has had a relationship with the Illinois State Fair since 2005, when they built their first award-winning float for the Twilight Parade. This tradition continued for the next decade as every year after, their floats got bigger and more intricate…and continued to win the grandest awards.
The idea to build a float for the fair came out of an incident with an elected official who stated that LGBTQ rights were not important in the Springfield area because he knew of only one or two gays that lived here. As a result of that statement, CORAL felt it was time to show everyone that the LGBTQ community DID have a presence in Central Illinois and what better way of doing this but to show it at the State Fair.
From 2005 through 2015, with exception of one year when a float wasn’t created, CORAL produced an award winning float. Even in the year that a formal float wasn’t presented for award contention, the Rainbow Flag Corps represented CORAL with their very own “King Corn” float and won an award for their presentation. That decade, was and still is, very special to CORAL as it brought members of the LGBTQ community and their allies together for a common cause – we all matter and won’t be invisible out of convenience for others.
This year, the State Fair had a Twilight Parade exhibit at the Grandstand showing all the years that CORAL’s presentations won awards. Some of the float pieces were spread out around the area to show the detailed work that went into every float. CORAL is proud to know that they are a part of the history of the Illinois State Fair that won’t be forgotten.