Officials say the popular television talent-search program "American Idol" will conduct open auditions at the Illinois State Fair next week.
State Fair manager Amy Bliefnick told reporters Thursday that the television show will have open calls Aug. 8 and 9 at the entrance to the carnival midway.
Illinois officials also unveiled plans for the annual agricultural extravaganza at the fairgrounds in Springfield.
Other firsts include a "Golden Abe" awards program for food vendors. That's designed to encourage new, creative culinary delights from the fried-on-a-stick crowd.
The theme of this year's fair is "Making Memories." Featured at the fair this year will be the family of Larry Moffett, eastern Illinois cattle breeders who have shown their stock at the expo for more than 60 consecutive years.