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updated: 7/17/2013 10:04 PM

Kane County Fair kicks off its 145th year

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  • The Kane County Fair opens at the Kane County Fair Grounds in St. Charles on Wednesday. Discounted ride wristbands, coupons for entrance fees and other promotions are available on the fair's $START_URL$website;http://kanecountyfair.com/$STOP_URL$.

       The Kane County Fair opens at the Kane County Fair Grounds in St. Charles on Wednesday. Discounted ride wristbands, coupons for entrance fees and other promotions are available on the fair's $START_URL$website;http://kanecountyfair.com/$STOP_URL$.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Leah Cruz, 18 months, of Elgin squeals with delight after seeing her father while she and her mother, Janessa, (unseen, holding her on) take a ride on the Merry-go-round at the Kane County Fair in St. Charles on Wednesday, July 17.

       Leah Cruz, 18 months, of Elgin squeals with delight after seeing her father while she and her mother, Janessa, (unseen, holding her on) take a ride on the Merry-go-round at the Kane County Fair in St. Charles on Wednesday, July 17.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Riders on the Super Shot are raised the track at the Kane County Fair in St. Charles on Wednesday, July 17.

       Riders on the Super Shot are raised the track at the Kane County Fair in St. Charles on Wednesday, July 17.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
By Jennifer Tranmer
jtranmer@dailyherald.com

A father and son duo stand just outside the pigpens in the swine building at the Kane County Fairgrounds, squirting down their five Barrow hogs to keep them cool in the sweltering heat.

This is Clay Cargola's second year showing the family's pigs from their Sugar Grove farm. His dad, Tony, is at the 145th Kane County Fair to help his 14-year-old son.

Kane County Board members, local officials and dignitaries from the 4-H Club gathered so fair organizers could thank them for their support. After pictures under the glaring sun in front of the bright pink Ferris wheel, the group returned inside the air-conditioned godsend that is the Prairie Events Center.

Although the center was filled with tables, later in the day the building would fill with commercial exhibitions and a free interactive video game experience, featuring 17 games.

"We have made the fair very economically friendly in the last few years," said Kane County Fair Board President Larry Breon, noting the many free events at the fair, which draws crowds of more than 60,000 annually.

The Miller Lite Sound Stage, talent contest, pig racing and swimming, tiger and magic shows, livestock viewing, exhibition halls and more are all free with admission.

Discounted ride wristbands, coupons for entrance fees and other promotions are available on the fair's website. Knock $1 off your admission for each can of food you bring in -- up to two -- for the new "Help a Friend, Help a Neighbor" food drive.

Two new events were recently added, including a performance by the Disney Road Crew from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the front of the fairgrounds, and a meet and greet with Brittany Smith, the new Miss Illinois, 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Prairie Events Center.

The fair has everyone looking forward to their favorite events and recalling past memories, including Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, who attended the opening ceremony.

Lauzen recalled about 10 years ago when he took part in the traditional Demolition Derby, with a bright pink Cadillac painted up like a pig -- squiggly tail and all.

"There I was, waiting, with all these tough looking characters revving their engines with flames coming out of their cars," he recalled with a laugh. "I thought it was a good idea."

Back in the swine building, one of the Cargolas' pigs opens his mouth, as if to smile, to get some of the cooling water straight down his gullet.

When asked about Friday's competition, Clay points to two off-white pigs, Mustang and Barrow, saying he hopes one of the two will bring a first-place ribbon.

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