Skip to main content

Press Releases

No Data

Tech Prairie STEAM Expo to exhibit Illinois innovators

Press Release - Monday, August 15, 2022

Illinois State Fair attraction opens Aug. 17 in Orr Building

SPRINGFIELD - The second annual Tech Prairie STEAM Expo is set to open on Wednesday, Aug. 17 in the Orr Building showcasing interactive exhibits and events highlighting the use of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) in K-12 education, post-secondary education, research, business and industry.

Hosted by the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology, the Expo will allow fairgoers to engage, interact, and explore with incredible innovation and emerging career opportunities related to STEAM fields and also feature drone racing, eSports competitions, and presentations from more than 40 organizations throughout Illinois.

"We are thrilled to be Illinois' largest classroom at this year's Tech Prairie STEAM Expo where we will demonstrate the many ways STEAM is being advanced across the state," said Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology Secretary and State CIO Jennifer Ricker. "The STEAM Expo should be added to all fairgoers must see attractions. I encourage families to join us for a "Carnival of Innovation" at the STEAM Expo this week."

Tech Prairie is the result of the collaboration of many STEAM leaders and innovators throughout Illinois including the Illinois Innovation Network, Learning Technology Center of Illinois, University of Illinois Extension 4-H, and the Illinois State Fair. Feature attractions include 3D printing, paper circuits building, coding opportunities, robotics demonstrations, anatomy dissection specimens, healthcare simulation products, aerospace exhibits, digital agriculture, programmable plants, engineering experiments, rainfall simulator, assistive technology products, drones, wearable technology, and quantum information science activities.

As part of Tech Prairie, a drone competition is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 in the Grandstand at the Illinois State Fairgrounds where top pilots from around the world are expected to compete. Practice rounds and preliminary racing runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission to the Grandstand is free for the drone racing. Springfield's "Grow Our Own" Program supported by Hanson Professional Services Inc., the City of Springfield, and Sangamon County is sponsoring the drone competition. Drone racing is organized by Heart of America FPV LLC.

Another Friday highlight is an in-person job fair organized by Illinois workNet and featuring state agencies that are currently hiring throughout Illinois. The job fair will take place on Aug. 19 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Orr Building.

An eSports competition is planned for Saturday, Aug. 20 in the Orr Building. There will be three separate events at the in-person competition: 1v1 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competition, 3v3 team Rocket League competition, and Fortnite 1v1. There is no fee to enter. HP is providing the gaming machines for the eSports competition, which is hosted by Illinois 4-H and sponsored by NIC/Tyler Technologies.

Google is sponsoring the main stage in the Expo that will include daily interactive presentations at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, and Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, and at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. Presenters include Google, Z by HP Global Data Science Ambassador Hunter Kempf, Kidzeum, Underwater Robot Pilot Susan Kelsey, and Innovative Entrepreneurs Teacher Julie Hinman.

Event Daily Presentations & Highlights (all events are at the Orr Building unless otherwise indicated)

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interactive exhibits at the Tech Prairie STEAM Expo
10 a.m.                     Ribbon cutting opening
11 a.m.                     Google for STEM education presentation
1 p.m.                       Kidzeum presentation
3 p.m.                       Illinois Innovation Network Innovation Awards

Thursday, August 18, 2022
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.       Interactive exhibits at the Tech Prairie STEAM Expo
11 a.m.                      Great Lakes STEAM Underwater Robot presentation with Susan Kelsey
1 p.m.                        Innovative Entrepreneurs presentation with Julie Hinman
3 p.m.                        HP Virtual Reality Specialist presentation

Friday, August 19, 2022
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.       Interactive exhibits at the Tech Prairie STEAM Expo
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.    Drone racing in the Grandstand sponsored by "Grow Our Own" Minority
Participation Program, supported by the City of Springfield, Sangamon County, and Hanson Professional Services Inc. and organized by the Heart of America FPV. The competition will feature many of the top pilots from around the world taking on the fastest pilots in Illinois!
11 a.m.                      Hunter Kempf, Data Scientist, Z by HP Global Data Science Ambassador, presentation
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.        Job fair featuring state agencies that are hiring

Saturday, August 20, 2022
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.      Interactive exhibits at the Tech Prairie STEAM Expo
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.     eSports Competition

Sunday, August 21, 2022
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.     Interactive exhibits at the Tech Prairie STEAM Expo

The STEAM Expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 17 - 21 in the Orr Building on the west side of the fairgrounds near Conservation World. Some exhibitors will only be available on specific days while others will be open for the full five days.

More information on the expo can be found at and questions may be emailed to

Press Releases

No Data