New general manager named as Lake County Fairgrounds returns from pandemic pause

The Lake County Fairgrounds & Events Center in Grayslake has a new general manager, as operations at the facility ramp up and a scaled-down county fair approaches.

Shannon Dunn, who joined the center three years ago as marketing and events manager, was promoted to the top spot, the Lake County Fair Association announced Monday.

She succeeds Jon Brodzik Jr., who served five years on the fair association board before being named general manager almost five years ago.

“Basically, Jon stepped down, so Shannon was a good fit,” said association President Kelli Kepler-Yarc.

“Her dedication during the pandemic proved that she has a strong grasp on what it takes to be a leader,” she added.

Chey Pribel, who had been laid off but brought back recently with other staffers, is the new marketing and events manager.

Before joining the fairgrounds, Dunn contracted for 10 years with the Illinois National Guard, teaching troops and their families what to expect during deployment.

“She has a very good rapport with all the vendors,” Kepler-Yarc said. “We're looking forward to having people come through the doors.”

The fairgrounds on Peterson and Midlothian roads has been largely unused since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. From Jan. 19 until June 14, the huge events center served as a centralized COVID-19 vaccine center by the Lake County Health Department.

“We were shut for 15 months. We're just excited to have our doors open,” Dunn said. “I think our schedule will fill up.”

During the past month, a rodeo, Garden Brothers Circus. Windy City Cluster Dog show and Slammendduff Car Show were held and well-attended, Dunn said.

Three events, including an arts and crafts show and laser light show, are scheduled in July. They precede the annual Lake County Fair, the association's first self-hosted event since the “pandemic pause.”

Canceled last year, the 2021 version will be smaller and shorter. “Back to Our Roots Micro-Fair” runs from Friday, July 30, to Sunday, Aug. 1.

General activities each day feature beer tent bingo, carnival rides and games, and live music. A demolition derby is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

“A shortened time frame, but lots of fun,” Pribel said.

The three-day festival is intended to celebrate the fair association's 92-year agricultural history.

Tickets must be purchased at There will be no box office on site. Through Wednesday, general admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 12. After Wednesday, the charge for adult tickets will be $10.

Once confirmed, specifics about bands, livestock and pavilion competitions and the Lake County Fair Queen pageant will be announced at

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Chey Pribel, left, and Shannon Dunn at the Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center at an event in February 2020. Dunn was just promoted to general manager of the facility and Pribel is taking over as sales and marketing manager. Courtesy of Shannon Dunn
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