Gov. Henry Horner declared Aug. 26, 1939 as “Illinois Day” at the "World of Tomorrow" world's fair at Flushing Meadows in New York. That date was chosen because Illinoisans voted for statehood in a referendum held on Aug. 26, 1818--121 years earlier. The actual date of Illinois admission to the Union was on Dec. 3, 1818 but the fair would be closed for the season by December to re-open in 1940.
The Illinois State Society chartered two railroad cars to take members from Washington to New York and back. It turned out to be the last weekend of peace in Europe. Four days after the Illinois members returned to Washington, Germany invaded Poland.