Navy officers are Illinois State Fair parade grand marshals

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Two U.S. Navy officers are serving as grand marshals for the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade.

The parade steps off Thursday at 6 p.m. from Ninth Street and North Grand Avenue in Springfield. It’s preview night at the fair, the unofficial start with free admission and discounted carnival rides.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the grand marshal selections Wednesday. The governor chose two officers from the USS Illinois, a nuclear submarine under construction at a shipyard in Connecticut.

They are Navy Cmdr. Jessie Porter and Navy Lt. j.g. Darin Hess, who serves as supply officer on the USS Illinois. It’s the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name “USS Illinois” since 1897. Rauner leads the USS Illinois Commissioning Committee, which is raising money for events surrounding its launch and commissioning.