Hog callers revive rural roots at county fairs :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

photo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo  

With suburban sprawl gobbling up farms around Chicago, it's easy to forget the rural roots of the five collar counties. But the annual county fairs offer a chance to take kids back to the country.

"Fairs are family fun and an agricultural connection to the community," says Connie Davis, assistant manager and marketing director for the Lake County Fair Association. "Kids who are from the city or suburbs cannot relate to that at all."

Fairs have adjusted to the times, she says, and are growing in popularity.

This summer's fairs are:

Kane County, July 14-18, St. Charles. Events include a truck pull, monster trucks, a big hat rodeo, a demolition derby and a concert by Diamond Rio. Admission: $6; under 5 free;, (630) 584-6926.

DuPage County, July 21-25, Wheaton. The 50th DuPage County Fair will offer a rodeo, demolition derby and live performances from country singers Brad Paisley and Randy Travis along with a petting zoo, milking contests and DuPage County city mayors competing in a hog calling contest. Admission: $6; under 8 free;, (630) 668-6636.

Lake County, July 27-Aug. 1, Grayslake. Events include Popeye and Swee' Pea Amazing Dog Tricks; goat milking; talent contests for kids, adults, and seniors; a demolition derby; and the Miss Lake County Fair Pageant. Admission: $7; 12 and under free;, (847) 223-2204.

McHenry County, Aug. 4-8, Woodstock. This fair features mostly animal shows and petting zoos. Goat, sheep, rabbits, horses and cows are the milking contests/exhibition animal shows. Admission: $6; $2 children 8-12, under 8 free;, (815) 338-5315.

Will County, Aug. 25-29, Peotone. This 101st edition offers the traditional carnival rides, a circus and livestock auctions along with a baby judging contest. Admission: $3; under 10 free; (708) 258-9359.

Russell Jaffe


Kids Eat Chicago

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