Lake County Fair celebrates 93rd year at full strength with five-day run
The Lake County Fair returns to full strength with a five-day run starting Wednesday featuring a full menu of attractions and favorites with some new twists.
Canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and abbreviated and held outdoors-only last year, the annual summer tradition is back in business at the Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center at Peterson and Midlothian roads in Grayslake to celebrate its 93rd year.
Returning are the prizewinning livestock competitions for beef and dairy cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and other critters. The exception is live poultry, which will not be shown to protect against the spread of bird flu.
"Last year we did the microfair," said Kelli Kepler-Yarc, president of the Lake County Fair Association. "People were very disappointed not to see animals."
While rooted in agricultural heritage, the county fair is all about variety and attractions for all ages. Among a cornucopia of choices are carnival rides and games, food vendors, motocross, monster truck throw-downs, sweets and vegetables from 4-H kids and county residents, beer gardens, outdoor concerts, camel and pony rides, selection of the fair queens, a stunt dog show and, for good measure, Bloody Mary bingo on Sunday.
"It's the real deal. They're good," said Kepler-Yarc.
Among the expected highlights will be the all new Monster Truck Throwdown Thursday and Friday.
"We've heard amazing things," Pribel said. "We've seen the videos. It's insane."
Visit lcfair.com/week-at-a-glance for the full schedule or lcfair.com/know-before-you-go for hours, tickets, site map and other information. Updates and announcements will be posted on the fair's Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages.
This year's theme is "Greetings from the Lake County Fair" modeled from throwback postcards depicting popular destinations. The theme is twofold, said Chey Pribel, marketing and events manager.
The first is to welcome everyone back to a full five-day experience, she said.
"The second part is we want the fair to be not just an activity but a destination," she added. "We want the Lake County Fair to be very photogenic this year, so people can capture the memories they make as a family during the fair."
Cost of admission includes grandstand and arena events.
"It's always been the case and we're one of the only fairs that roll that way," Kepler-Yarc said.
Tickets are $15 for those 13 years and older and $5 for seniors and children aged 6 to 12. Family and multiday deals are available.
Parking is free in the grass lot and $10 (cash only) for preferred spots on pavement by the east main gate.
As in years past, the Lake County sheriff's office will have "a robust number of sheriff's deputies present," according to Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.
"We take into account nationwide and local trends (and) events when we create our operational plans, and we always plan accordingly," he said. Fairgoers can feel safe as dozens of deputies will be on-site throughout the fair, he added.
Covelli said the public is asked to be alert and aware of their surroundings as "see something, say something" helps law enforcement personnel respond to and investigate suspicious incidents or people.