DuPage County Fair begins 5-day run in Wheaton today

When someone recently suggested the DuPage County Fair features a little of everything, Jim McGuire quickly made it clear there's a lot of everything.

McGuire, who is manager of the fair association, says there's much to see and do at the fair, which opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday at 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton.

"There's going to be activities all day long, from start to finish," McGuire said.

He said the five-day celebration will be family friendly and affordable, starting with its mix of livestock, music and high-calorie festival food. There's also going to be a rodeo and demolition derby over the weekend. If looking at animals is your thing, there will be plenty at the fairgrounds as soon as the gates open at 8 a.m. today. The pigs, goats, cows, bunnies and other animals will be competing for ribbons. Organizers say the animals are one of the many ways the county fair educates families about farming and DuPage's agricultural roots.

"This gives an opportunity for the younger kids to learn about where our food actually comes from," McGuire said. "It's not just from a grocery store."

One of the areas, Ag-Ventureland, is filled with farming-related exhibits, including sheep shearing, wood carvers, antique tractors, corn grinding and cow-milking demonstrations.

"The kids really like it," McGuire said of Ag-Ventureland. "They get to learn a little bit while they are having fun."

McGuire said the fair also allows community members to showcase their talents. There will be competitions for everything from food and sewing to photography and floral design.

Of course, some of us really like carnival rides and festival food - and the fair will have plenty of both.

McGuire said there will be more than 35 food vendors selling everything from corn dogs and funnel cakes to pork chops on a stick and barbecue.

Meanwhile, the carnival on the northern end of the fairgrounds will offer a mix of rides for young children and older thrill seekers.

Fairgoers will have two places to enjoy music. Michael Lynch, who was a contestant on "The Voice," will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday in the beer tent. And the Neverly Brothers will perform at 8 p.m. Friday in the expo center. Other acts will take the stage at both locations throughout the fair.

Over the weekend, the grandstand is expected to be packed when the rodeo and demolition derby roll into town. During Saturday's rodeo, modern-day cowboys will be competing at 1 and 6 p.m. in bull riding, bronc riding and other events. Sunday's demolition derbies at 1 and 6 p.m. will offer something different from previous years.

"We used to run the matinee and then the finals in the evening," McGuire said. "This year, we're actually going to have two complete shows and two winners. We hope it's a nice change."

If you go

What: DuPage County Fair

When: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. today, July 27, through Sunday, July 31

Where: DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton

Tickets: $10 ages 13 to 61; $4 for children; $5 for seniors; military personnel free with ID


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