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Article posted: 7/17/2013 12:53 PM

Quirky twists help make Lake County Fair unique

Fairgoers get a glimpse of prize-winning vegetables at the Lake County Fair in Grayslake.

Fairgoers get a glimpse of prize-winning vegetables at the Lake County Fair in Grayslake.


Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2012

Plenty of rides are on tap for this year’s Lake County Fair in Grayslake.

Plenty of rides are on tap for this year's Lake County Fair in Grayslake.


Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2012

A heifer waits to be judged during the Lake County Fair in Grayslake.

A heifer waits to be judged during the Lake County Fair in Grayslake.


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2012

Pigs are unloaded for the start of last year’s Lake County Fair in Grayslake.

Pigs are unloaded for the start of last year's Lake County Fair in Grayslake.


Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, 2012

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By Lake County Fair submission

Returning for its 85th season, the quirky and popular Lake County Fair celebrates the area's rich agricultural roots with the 2013 theme "Let the Good Times Grow!"

The fair runs Wednesday, July 24, to Sunday, July 28, at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Road in Grayslake.


Lake County Fair

Wednesday, July 24, through Sunday, July 28, at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 East Peterson Road, Grayslake.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
Gates open at 8 a.m. daily for livestock events; Expo Hall closes one hour prior to fairgrounds closing.
Cost: Fair admission is cash only. Tickets are: $8 for adults Wednesday through Friday; $10 Saturday and Sunday; $5 daily for seniors 65 and older and children ages 6 to 12 are $5 daily; free for kids ages 5 and younger. Discounts apply for active military in uniform and their families. Season passes and family fun packs are available.
Parking: Free; $5 in preferred lot
Info: For event schedules, directions and parking, visit
• For up-to-the-minute photos, giveaways, fun and more, visit
• For Metra train schedules via the Milwaukee District North and North Central Service rail lines, visit
Source: Lake County Fair Association

Tradition returns, along with many new attractions, including the Budweiser Clydesdales. At least two will be on-site at the fair all day every day, with the Budweiser Clydesdale Parade at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

"The heart of the fair is agriculture, and our theme reflects that -- with a twist," said Sheri Vyfvinkel, general manager. "People really liked the quirky fun we added to last summer's fair. We're building on that this year while we continue the tradition and community camaraderie that makes our fair so unique."

The Lake County Fair annually draws 100,000 visitors from Lake and Cook counties, as well as from communities in southern Wisconsin.

Along with high-energy bands, thrilling (and easygoing) rides and local food, there's a new time capsule. The community will fill it at this year's fair and open it at the fair's 100th anniversary in 2028.

The Banana Derby is back featuring racing dogs with monkey jockeys at the reigns.

If gears are your groove, the grandstand is the place for you -- featuring 1,000 more seats than last year. The high-octane fun kicks off Wednesday and Thursday with two nights of motocross, followed by a tractor pull on Friday and two monster truck shows on Saturday. The fair closes with a bang Sunday with the all-day demolition derby.

To accommodate this lineup of attractions, Lake County Fair's courtyard is reconfigured. Festival Square makes its debut as the fair's nonstop entertainment center, which will feature bingo games and the new "Dance A-Fair" competition.

You'll have plenty to dance to with several top Chicago-area acts performing. Mainstage bands include Too White Crew and fair headliner the Gentlemen of Leisure Band. Other main stage performances include music by Bad Aim, Bella Cain, Rural Route One and Vinyl Highway.

Back by popular demand, Ag Adventure's 2,000-square-foot farm-in-the-fair, presented in partnership with the Lake County Farm Bureau. It is old-fashioned fun for kids ages 3 to 8 featuring puzzles, games and hands-on activities.

Walk over to the rides and games -- where little ones will find something just for them and at just the right speed.

Want a lawn and garden that are the envy of your neighborhood? Roll up your sleeves and stop by the Chicago Flower & Garden Show: At the Lake County Fair.

The show's outdoor experience celebrates its yearlong theme, "Do Green. Do Good," by marrying agriculture with horticulture in stunning display gardens built by area landscape architects.

Designed to inspire, educate and motivate, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show will feature master gardeners to answer your questions about lawns, gardens, containers and more. Gardening demonstrations by leading horticulture experts will have you walking away with handy tips and usable ideas.

There are more than 20 formal competitions ranging from beef cattle to "Battle of the Bands," as well as a host of live, on-the-spot competitions designed for fair goers.

"The Lake County Fair offers everyone a chance to show off the skills that make us so proud to be a community," Vyfvinkel said.

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