SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- It's Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair which means it's Governor JB Pritzker's day to host special guests.
Due to COVID concerns, the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association Brunch was moved outdoor and that allowed for the huge crowd that gathered Wednesday for what amounts to a pep rally for Democrats.
The State fair signals the kickoff of the primary election season, even though the pandemic has pushed that back from next March to June.
Democrats feeling pretty good about where they stand but are taking nothing for granted.
Pritzker hosting the gathering on the Director's Lawn at the State Fair, feeling confident as he looks ahead to next year's election.
"Look I think as far as I'm concerned we've got a terrific record to run on, democrats up and down the ticket," he said.
On a hot and humid afternoon, Democrats rallied the party faithful as they hope to keep the Land of Lincoln blue.
It was a chance for candidates to press the flesh and to pat one another on the back.
"Thank your governor for the steps he took to save lives in the state of Illinois," said Kwame Raoul, Illinois Attorney General.
About 800 people were expected to attend in-person and several hundred more online.
Attendees were encouraged to wear masks, although many opted not to do. Governor Pritzker delivered a video message, as did House Speaker Chris Welch.
Senate President Don Harmon stayed home after contracting COVID-19.
"Well, it feels awesome. I mean, last year, obviously, they canceled her for a very good reason and this year they were going to have it indoors and thankfully they moved it outdoors, and this is actually a way cooler setup," said Susana Mendoza, Illinois Comptroller.
This was also the first state fair for new Illinois Democratic Party Chair, Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
"We need to vote at every election, every office, please don't forget that. We have some priorities, we need to make sure we reelect Governor JB Pritzker we don't want a republican in the statehouse," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair, Illinois Democratic Party.
Democrats touted accomplishments, cheering the election of Joe Biden, and stressing the importance of re-electing Democrats up and down the ticket in 2022, with keynote speaker Georgia Senator John Ossoff and others noting one race in particular of concern to the party.
"Illinois Democrats, you have an immediate and urgent task before you because the country is counting on you to re-elect Senator Tammy Duckworth, an American hero, in 2022" Senator Ossoff said.
The four candidates vying to replace Jesse White as Secretary of State were also present and made their pitch for support.
Democrats gather at Illinois State Fair for 'Governor's Day'