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Prairie Fire

Every third Thursday of the month

Prairie Fire is a newly reimagined take on WILL-TV's beloved magazine program from the mid-'90s. Rooted in storytelling, "Prairie Fire" brings you cinematic documentaries, profiles and performances from downstate Illinois.

Watch Prairie Fire on WILL TV every third Thursday of the month at 7:30 PM, or on demand on YouTube or PBS Online.

Prairie Fire: Episode 9 - February 2024

In celebration of Black History Month, we sit down with Gerald "Candy" Foster, one of the most recognizable names in R&B and blues classics in central Illinois and visit some notable stops on the Underground Railroad in southern Illinois with historian Eric Robinson. We also share a bit about a new initiative here at Illinois Public Media to amplify black voices: Illinois Soul. 

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Prairie Fire Stories

The Underground Railroad in Illinois

Illinois, with its proximity to Missouri and Kentucky which were slave states, played a significant role in facilitating escapes through the Underground Railroad.

Candy Foster - Entertainer

Gerald "Candy" Foster knows a thing or two about how to keep a crowd happy.  Foster, who was born and raised in Danville, is one of the most recognizable names…

Operation Wild Horse

Home to wild mustangs and burros, Operation Wild Horse pairs these magnificant creatures with U.S. military veterans, active duty service members, and their families for a…

Haunted Illinois: The Avon Theater

Author and ghost story expert Troy Taylor gives us the grim history of the Avon Theater in Decatur, and tells us the story of a chilling encounter he had personally with one…

A House That Made History

First Lady of Illinois MK Pritzker gives the Prairie Fire team an exclusive walking tour of the newly redecorated Illinois Governor's Mansion, a project she documented in…

The Great Pumpkin Patch

Prairie Fire is on the road this month, and we visited The Great Pumpkin Patch to celebrate the harvest season and catch up with the owner Mac Condill. 

The Coonley Playhouse

Have you ever wanted to own a piece of history? How about a home designed by one of America’s most famous architects? Take a look at the Coonley Playhouse in Riverside,…

Los Texano’z

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Los Texano'z joins us in the studio to perform Tejano music, a blend of Mexican and US influences with German and Czech…

The Brown Bag

When Harlean Swing came into some money in the 1970s, she told her husband she wanted to kick back and live the easy life.  Instead, she opened a deli and restaurant…

A Toast to…Kaighla Rises

Meet a local author and poet who has lived a lot of life in her short years. Learn about her life incredible journey across the world searching for purpose, and her…

Anthony Becker

Learn about the incredible journey of one central Illinois resident who, despite all odds, refused to give up his love of gardening.

Past Favorites with Alison Davis

Former Producer and Host of the original Prairie FIre tells us about her favorite episodes and talks about her experience working on the long running magazine show started in…

Chris Vallillo

Singer/Songwriter and Roots Musician Chris Vallillo stops by the WILL studio to perform songs from his 2021 album "Forgotonia".

Preston Jackson

We visit with renowned Illinois artist and musician Preston Jackson in Peoria. Jackson's works documenting the Black experience appear all over the United States.

Cherry Blossoms at Japan House

The man who helped bring cherry blossom trees to the University of Illinois campus turned 100 this year. Tinisha Spain marks the milestone with a brief history of the trees…

High Cross Sound

We take you inside a very unique recording studio in Central Illinois, and introduce you to the owner whose journey led him make to his small town roots.

Stango Cuisine

Stango Cuisine brings us African-based cooking right here in Central Illinois.

Susannah Scaroni

In this inspiring story, follow the remarkable journey of Paralympian Susannah Scaroni, from her days growing up in Washington, to adapting the challenges of life in a…

Leah Marlene

She may have grown up in a town called Normal, but Leah Marlene is far from it. From an American Idol finalist to a hometown hero, she's keeping busy and looking to…

Prairie Fire Episodes

  1. Prairie Fire: Episode 9 - February 2024

    In celebration of Black History Month, we sit down with Gerald "Candy" Foster, one of the…
  2. Prairie Fire: Episode 8 - December 2023

    In this special holiday edition of Prairie Fire, we travel to Bull Valley, Illinois to introduce you…
  3. Prairie Fire: Episode 7 - November 2023

    In November, we take a look back at three stories from this season that celebrate the Illinois great…
  4. Prairie Fire: Episode 6 - October 2023

    We visit the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, get an personal tour of the Governor's mansion with…
  5. Prairie Fire: Episode 5 - September 2023

    Meet a couple restoring a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Riverside Illinois. Get a tour of an old school…
  6. Prairie Fire: Episode 4 - August 2023

    We visit a popular deli in Monticello that has been a favorite stop for close to 50 years. And we…
  7. Prairie Fire: Episode 3 - July 2023

    This month, we introduce you to a local gardener with an incredible story, we sit down with a former…
  8. Prairie Fire: Episode 2 - June 2023

    Prairie Fire introduces you to renowned artist and musian Preston Jackson, visits a unique central…
  9. Prairie Fire: Episode 1 - May 2023

    Prairie Fire makes its return with stories about Paralympian Susannah Scaroni, restauranteur Mubanga…
  10. The Movement Revisited with Christian McBride

    Jazz legend Christian McBride and his bandmates visited the University of Illinois campus last year…

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