The Illinois State Fair happens from August 8-18, 2013, in Springfield, Illinois, which is about ninety minutes by car from St. Louis, MO and 4 hours from Chicago. Within the fairgrounds is Conservation World, a 100-acre recreation and information area for all things about nature: hunting, fishing, boating, camping, etc., run by the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.

It is our plan to host a volunteer team of Puddle Duck owners to stay on the grounds for the week, building a new PDR from scratch with materials provided on-site, and to demo sail or row their own PDR once a day for a few minutes as part of the demonstration. Arrangements are available to camp on the site with an RV and the fairgrounds will provide all utilities, sanitation, and parking for free, as well as general admission passes to the grounds each day. It's basically a "working vacation", where you spend a little time building each day and answering questions about the PDR, launching and sailing or rowing yours in the pond at the location, and then at the end of the week, the newly-built PDR will be raffled off to some fairgoers that enter a drawing.

You won't need to "perform" or do a "show": just show up daily and build a little, take a break and talk with anybody that asks about what you're doing, work a little more... you'll have seven days to build the hull and a sail, materials will be provided free from local vendors, and there will be power on site, just bring your own tools and templates. The State Fair kicks off with a parade Thursday night the 9th, and if you're in town by then, as an option, we could make the PDR you bring with you a float in the parade, if you're willing.

We also plan to have a crafts table nearby where kids will build and sail little PDR models each day.

The state will arrange for news coverage of the building process and sailing, so the build team will get media exposure on TV, radio, newspapers and on YouTube. Our satellite TV operation will broadcast stories about the PDR project nationwide.

You would be onsite from about August 10 thru the 17th or 18th. Operating hours for the build demo are daily, 10 AM until 4 PM. After 4 each day, you're free to enjoy the food and fun at the fair. If your team is large enough to work in shifts, half can enjoy the fair or local tourist sites during the day while the other half builds.

We have awesome entertainment on the fairgrounds each night, including Toby Keith, Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Head East, The Million-Dollar Quartet, Perry, Gary Allan, Thompson Square, Frankie Ballard, and Brushfire. The world-renowned Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is here, along with his home, the tomb, and many other Lincoln sites. We have daily horse racing, motorsports like dirt track ARCA cars and sprint cars, Motocross, and tractor pulls. Some years we host Junior circuit rodeo. There's plenty to see here.

If you think you would like to participate in this project, we REALLY need to get a team or individual signed up in the next month or so, so we can get the marketing and sponsorship machine in motion. If we can't get a builder to commit by May, the project may die, and that would be a shame. We're looking for a die-hard Duck evangelist, who wants to show people they too can become boaters with just a few bucks, a handful of weekends and a dream. Please help us share the Puddle Duck Experience with a wider audience.


Dave Cassens, IL Dept. of Natural Resources
Conservation World
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702-1271 217/785-7742 Office
email david.cassens@illinois.gov

Mark.suszko@illinois.gov subject: PDR