City kids may not know this, but the traditional fun of summer is had at a county fair. Growing up in the near northwest suburbs, I had no idea we had county fairs. My only experience with them being reading about them in “Charlotte’s Web.” When I visited a state fair in college it was like a foreign land of traditional small town fun combined with a carnival, music and more foods on sticks than I knew existed. If you live in Cook County you don’t have to miss out on county fair fun. Just head north this month to experience the Lake County Fair.
Now, if you are looking for a traditional fair experience with tractors and cows and chickens (oh my!), refer to last year’s post, particularly if you are bringing toddlers. This year, I’m going to convince even the most urban, city-dwelling families that a trip to the fair can be fun! You see, it’s not all about farm animals and vegetables, there’s a lot more fun to be had.
The Midway is what you would probably refer to as a carnival. It’s full of rides and games in all shapes and sizes. From kiddie rides and large slides, to the ferris wheel and hang gliding, there is something for everyone on the midway. If you want to visit without breaking the bank, go during one of the All-You-Can-Ride Wristband Specials. You will miss out on the glittering lights (and mosquitos) of visiting at night, but if you have older kids or tweens that love the rides, this is the way to go. All-You-Can Ride wristbands are $20 per person – normally tickets are $1 each and each ride is anywhere from 4-10 tickets. The only catch is that the wristbands are only good on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from noon until 5 p.m.
If you have a child that loves cars, bikes and things that go, there is plenty to do at the fair. First there are tractors galore outside of the livestock area, where smaller kids will be happy to see them and have pictures taken. Older kids and families will enjoy the wheeled entertainment: Motorcross (7/29 from 6-10 p.m.), Truck and Tractor Pull (7/30 at 7 p.m.), Demolition Derby (7/31 at 7 p.m.) and CrashFest (8/2).
On Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. there is an Antique Tractor Parade that starts at the Farm Heritage Display and ends at the Grandstand. Kids that love trucks and tractors will marvel at all the different sizes, shapes and color of tractors they will see!
Man’s best friend
If the only animal you care to see is man’s best friend, you’re in luck because there is canine entertainment that is fun for all.
On Friday (7/31) in the Diamond Theater (located in the Expo Hall) there will be a world record attempt by “Sailor the Dog” at 12 p.m. Sailor will be attempting the world record for the longest distance by a dog walking on a ball. There will also be Dog Training Demonstrations at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
For the Girly Girls
In the Expo Hall, aspiring fashionistas can check out the work of student designers competing in various competitions and showing off different skills. On Friday night there is a fashion show and a pageant. The Little & Junior Miss Lake County Fair Queen Pageants will take place on Thursday.
Really best of all is that all of the entertainment, derbies, etc. are all included in the admission price of the fair (minus the Midway) so you don’t need extra tickets. Grandstand events are general seating so arrive early or plan on sitting high.