© 2022 NPR Illinois
Stand with the Facts
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jesse White to be State Fair Twilight Parade Grand Marshal

Jesse White
Illinois Secretary of State's Office
/
Jesse White

As he prepares to end his record run as Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White will be honored as the Illinois State Fair kicks off.

White, who was first elected in 1998, had previously announced he won’t seek another term this year. The Democrat is the longest serving Secretary of State in Illinois history. He also spent 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly.

“Jesse White has spent his entire life devoted to service,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “From his time in the US Army, to inspiring our youth with decades of public service, his example should be celebrated throughout the state of Illinois. I couldn’t be prouder to join this great Illinoisan in leading the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade.”

“We are thrilled to have Jesse White kick off the 2022 Twilight Parade,” said Rebecca Clark, Illinois State Fair Manager. “His years of participation in this parade with the famous Jesse White Tumbling Team has wowed children and adults for years. His participation this year embodies our Grow With Us theme.”

White served our country as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Reserve. He played professional baseball for seven seasons with the Chicago Cubs organization. In 1959, White founded the internationally known Jesse White Tumbling Team to serve as a positive alternative for at-risk children residing in public housing in and around the Chicago area. Since its inception, more than 18,500 young men and women have performed with the team. White has spent 61 years working as a volunteer with the team to help kids stay away from gangs, drugs, alcohol, and smoking, and to help set at-risk youth on the path to success.

The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday August 11. The fair begins that day and goes until August 21.

Related Stories