Prairie Fire: Episode 3 - July 2023
On the July edition of Prairie Fire, we introduce you to Tony Becker, a central Illinois man who had to overcome some incredible odds to hold on to his love of gardening. Former producer and host Alison Davis sits down with Sarah to talk about some of her favorite segments throughout her tenure on Praire Fire. And, Illinois roots musician Chris Vallillo stops by the studio to play us a few cuts from his album "Forgottonia".
Tony Becker's fascination with plants started at a very young age. In fact, his first word was "flower." This moment marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for gardening. However, after a life-altering accident that left him a quadriplegic, Tony knew there were many life challenges ahead, including the possibility of never gardening again. His determination and love for gardening led him to reverse engineer traditional tools and find innovative ways to pursue his passion.
For nearly twenty years, "Prairie Fire" shined a light on the unique people and places of central Illinois. Alison Davis worked on the original show, which aired from 1992 to 2008, first as a production assistant then later as the show's producer and host. With seven Emmy Awards under her belt and a passion for unearthing compelling characters and narratives, we wanted to sit down with Alison to revisit past stories and learn about the making of the original show.
In the heartland of rural America, singer/songwriter Chris Vallillo finds his muse. With a natural affinity for American roots music and a masterful touch in both fingerstyle and bottleneck slide guitar, Vallillo brings the people and places of "unmetropolitan" America to life through song.
Prairie Fire airs on the Third Thursday of each month on WILL-TV. You can also stream it on Youtube or the PBS App, where you can also find past episodes! Catch up on all past Prairie Fire stories below.