Rantoul has a strong agribusiness community, bordered by farm fields featuring some of the best farm ground in the world. In 1917 the United States Army opened Chanute Field (later renamed Chanute Air Force Base) to train pilots and aviation mechanics for World War 1. In the 1930s, it grew, dominating the local economy as thousands of civilians worked to support the airmen that were stationed there to train. The base was closed in 1993. Rantoul is also host to the nationally recognized “Half Century of Progress Farm Show” which draws tens of thousands of people every other year to honor the tradition and history of farming.
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