Downstate film commission wins prize at State Fair

Central Illinois Film Commission a winner at the State Fair

Spiderman, Marilyn Monroe, Holly Golightly and the Marlboro Man on the Central Illinois Film Commission float waved to delighted onlookers as they eased down the parade route at the recent Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Entered at the last minute to celebrate CIFC’s 10th anniversary, the float was not only an audience hit, but it won second place among the 41 entrants in the non-commercial category, one of four category winners out of 74 floats wafting along the capital’s 9th Street Aug. 13.

“The audience loved it, especially Spiderman, who really thrilled the kids along the parade route scrambling for photos with ‘Spidey,’” relates Linda Lou Long, a producer and vice president of CIFC for eight of its 10 years of operation.

Before the parade’s 6 p.m. start, a judging committee worked itself down the line of floats, stopping to talk to the CIFC members.  “Then they returned and notified us we had won the Director’s Award for second prize,” Long says, still sounding surprised by their unexpected honor.

Marilyn Monroe (Laura Richter) and CIFC president Dean WilliamsThe float featured the movie characters, a 35mm camera, directors’ chairs, CIFC photos and logos, and 20 Film Commission members holding the Film Commission’s clapboard-logo signs walking beside the vehicle. 

Winning was not on the committee’s collective minds last July when member Crystal Page, a consultant, floated the idea of CIFC joining the parade, having participated in the Fair parade with another group in 2014.

A parade committee was formed of photographer Dean Williams, CIFC founder/president, Steve Giddings, owne of Studio G Productions (who provided the float’s truck and flatbed), actress Laura Richter (who portrayed Marilyn Monroe), Page and Long.

Walmart’s float led the parade as first prize winner in the commercial category.  In CIFC’s non-commercial category, the 4H Club took top prize.

After the parade ended, Long was walking down the Fairgrounds’ Main Street when she heard cheers coming from a nearby tent. Entering, she found Fair officials in the process of presenting award plaques.

“When I said our float was a winner, I was given a big, beautiful, engraved plaque. It was an exciting close to a very long but rewarding day.”