Food and wine show at Du Quoin fair offers business opportunities

The 2013 Illinois Food and Wine Products Show at the Du Quoin State Fair offers a unique opportunity for Southern Illinois businesses.

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Entrepreneurship and Business Development unit and the Illinois Department of Agriculture are partnering to present the showcase of Illinois food products. The show is set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in the air-conditioned Expo Hall. This year's event will also include cooking demonstrations featuring Illinois edibles.

Show organizers are now accepting applications to participate in the expo at no cost.

An Illinois food product is, by definition, any product produced, processed or packaged in Illinois, or a product for which the company headquarters is located in Illinois.

"The Illinois Food and Wine Products Show at the Du Quoin State Fair is another great way to showcase what Illinois has to offer and to continue creating consumer awareness to 'Buy Illinois.' If every Illinois household would dedicate just $10 of their existing weekly grocery budget toward buying Illinois products, more than $2.4 billion would be generated annually for the state's economy," said Bob Flider, Illinois Department of Agriculture director.

Participating companies will offer product samples, promotional information and items available for the public to purchase. The marketplace will be at the north end of the Expo Hall and will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Aug. 31 and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 1. Each featured business will have a 10-square-foot area for displays.

Any Illinois food/drink business is welcome to participate but all must be clients of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU Carbondale or the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Becoming a client is free and takes just a few minutes.

Food product businesses must apply no later than July 19 to have the opportunity to participate in the Illinois Food and Wine Products Show. Businesses chosen to participate will receive notification after the application period ends. The only expense involved in participating is providing samples to fairgoers.

Cooking demonstrations throughout the week will be a bonus to the 2013 fair. Guest chefs will prepare special recipes, particularly highlighting Illinois products.

The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners will also be participating in this year's event and host 10 participating local wineries. The wineries will offer tastings and sales, and will highlight food and wine pairings in conjunction with the cooking demonstrations.

"I am excited to see the Illinois Food and Wine Products Show continue to grow and flourish. Along with faithful returnees from previous years, each show brings new food and wine clientele. Recognizing these agribusinesses as a vital part of our state's economy is one of our main roles in fostering 'buy local foods' momentum throughout the state," said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIU.

To sign up for the show, inquire about the cooking demonstrations, or learn more about the Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit at SIU Carbondale, call 618/453-3805, or visit the website at

You may obtain a show application by contacting Russell at or by calling 618/453-3805.

The Entrepreneurship unit launched the "Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace" seven years ago at the Du Quoin State Fair and it has earned accolades from participating businesses and fair visitors. The show expanded two years ago, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, to become a food products sampling and sales promotional event.