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Can’t-Miss Activity Guide to the 93rd Annual Lake County Fair

The smell of funnel cakes wafts through the air, the distinct aroma of diesel and the distant roar of an engine and the always-familiar odor of farm animals. “Summer’s Best Fest” is back for its 93rd year!

The Lake County Fair is back in full-force and ready to amaze. Livestock judging and dairy milking, the Midway rides, petting zoos, music, beauty pageant, Taste of the Fair and monster trucks all return.

The folks over at the Lake County Fairgrounds, their sponsors and vendors have all come together to make sure that this celebration makes up for the past few years. The Lake County Fair runs for five days from July 27-31.

For those interested in shopping a large selection of local merchants, vendors and viewing the animal judging, the Expo Hall will open at 10 a.m. each day and stays open until 9 p.m. It closes at 6 p.m. on the last day of the fair.

Don’t forget that with the excitement of the Lake County Fair, you also have the opportunity to win four free tickets to Six Flags Great America or an overnight stay at the Great Wolf Lodge Illinois.

Find out how to get tickets to the sold out Chicago Bears Training Camp in Lake Forest.

Jurassic Gardens at Volo Museum offers plenty of entertainment for children. They can dig up “artifacts” and learn a bit about history.

Here is the can’t-miss activity guide to the 93rd annual Lake County Fair!

Music at the Fair

 

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What is a county fair without great music from local artists and regionally known performers? With five days of fun, you need to have five days of rocking tunes to keep everybody moving. This year’s music lineup is one that will have something for everyone. You can go to a weekday performance, rock out for the evening or go to a weekend concert. Whatever day you visit, you’ll surely be nodding along with the tunes while you sit back and sip a beer.

Wednesday, July 27

  • Slam Funk: 5-7 p.m.
  • Judson Brown Band: 8-10 p.m.

Thursday, July 28

  • Svelte Bobby and the Soulfixers: 5-7 p.m.
  • Edgar Gabriel’s Stringfusion: 5-7 p.m.
  • Libido Funk Circus: 8-10 p.m.

Friday, July 29

  • Wichita Jacks: 4-5:30 p.m.
  • Roger That: 5-7 p.m.
  • Dancing Queen: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Gold Dust Dreams: 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Six Speed Tranny: 9:30-11:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 30

  • Los Perros Cubanos: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Big Brother’s Vinyl: 3-5 p.m.
  • The Blues 88s Dueling Pianos: 4-5:30 p.m.
  • Dixon Bandits: 6-8 p.m.
  • Shining Star: 9-11 p.m.
  • Chapel Hill Band: 9:30-11:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 31

  • Mellencougar: 11-12:45 p.m.
  • Zydeco Voodoo Band: 1:30-3 p.m.
  • The Petty Kings: 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Chicago Latin Groove: 4-6 p.m.
  • Peach’s Beach Party: 5-7 p.m.

4-H Demonstrations/Ag Adventure presented by the Lake County Farm Bureau

There’s a certain undeniable connection between fairs and seeing various farm animals. The 4-H shows will judge the best livestock that Lake County offers with the opportunity to see cattle, pigs, goats and sheep. Contests range from “beef cattle,” “dairy cattle” and “overall best cattle.” Junior competitions and open participation brackets are included in the “Best Of” categories. Catch the cow milking competition, pig races and livestock fashion show.

Wednesday, July 27

  • Livestock Barns Open: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Milking Completion: 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • 4-H Swine Judging: 9 a.m.
  • 4-H and Junior Dairy Cattle Judging: 9 a.m.
  • Junior Sheep Judging: 11 a.m.
  • Pig Races: 12:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 6 p.m.
  • 4-H Beef Cattle Judging: 4 p.m.
  • Open Show and Junior Beef Cattle Judging: 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 28

  • Livestock Barns Open: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Open Show Sheep Judging: 9 a.m.
  • 4-H Goat Judging: 9 a.m.
  • Open Market Sheep Judging: 11 a.m.
  • Pig Races: 12:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 6 p.m.
  • Open Show and Junior Swine Judging: 1 p.m.
  • Junior Goat Judging: 1 p.m.
  • Livestock Costume Contest: 5:30 p.m.

Friday, July 29

  • Livestock Barns Open: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Open Show Dairy Cattle Judging: 9 a.m.
  • Open Show Goat Judging: 9 a.m.
  • Crazy Cow Relay Race: 2 p.m.
  • Pig Races: 12:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 30

  • Livestock Barns Open: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Pig Races: 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 6 p.m.
  • Livestock Auction: 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 31

  • Livestock Barns Open: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Master Showmanship Class: 11 a.m.
  • Pig Races: 10:30, 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.

The Canine Stars Stunt Dog Show


Made up entirely of rescue dogs from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and Mexico, The Canine Stars Stunt Dog Show performs incredible acts of canine athleticism. They have toured North America since 2012 and are trained by world-class handlers that can take lovable rescues and transform them into the pups you will see dance, jump, do tricks, bust out agility and take your breath away. The team was featured on America’s Got Talent and Nickelodeon, so you know they’re good at what they do. After the demonstrations, guests can interact with the best-in-class doggies and learn more about and meet them. Witness the high-flying spectacle Wednesday through Saturday at 1 and 5 p.m. and at noon and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Miss Lake County Fair Queen Pageant

Since 1956, Miss Lake County Fair Queen has acted as hostess and helped to increase awareness of the importance of agriculture in Lake County. Her duties have since evolved, but the pageant is a joy to witness in person. In her present role, the queen takes interviews with various media entities, attends luncheons as needed, awards trophies and ribbons in the livestock shows, helps at the livestock auctions and greets those attending the festivities with a smile that only Lake County residents know how to give. There are three divisions: the Miss Lake County Fair Queen (Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m.), Junior Miss Lake County Fair Queen  and Little Miss Lake County Fair Queen (both (the following Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the fair’s Blue Ribbon Stage).  On Sunday, attendees will have the opportunity to go to a Q&A with the Queens and a pageant class for those interested in learning more.

Bloody Mary and Beer Tent B.I.N.G.O

There was some booze that had a name, and Mary was her name-o. So on Sunday morning, savor your favorite tomato-flavored libation while trying to win with five down, across diagonal or four corners. Beer Tent bingo runs Friday through Saturday, while Sunday is Bloody Mary Bingo from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Read below for Beer Tent Bingo Times and pick a day (or all of them) that you feel lucky.

  • Wednesday, July 27: 3-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 28: 3-5 p.m.
  • Friday, July 29: 3-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 30: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Bloody Mary Bingo; Sunday, July 31: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Midway Carnival Rides and Games

The Midway is where you find the Lake County Fair rides, games and amusements. Ride the Ferris wheel and get some amazing aerial shots of the festival. Take a literal spin in the cups as they twirl you round and round. Hop on a roller coaster and get some high-speed thrills in. No matter your choice of attraction, all rides will cost tickets, and each ride varies in the number of tickets required. Tickets are available at the booths located throughout the Midway. Due to safety reasons, single riders are not permitted. Midway opens at noon daily and tickets cost $1 each.

All-You-Can-Ride Wristbands are available for purchase for $25. They are valid only for the posted times:

  • Wednesday, July 27: 5-9 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 28: 1-5 p.m.
  • Friday, July 29: 1-5 p.m.

Activities For The Kids

The Lake County Fair is a family-friendly experience, no matter the age of those checking it out. While the events appeal to an audience of all ages (ahem, monster trucks and motocross anyone?), there are experiences meant specifically for the younger crowds. Pig races, livestock fashion shows and athletic canine performances notwithstanding; read below to see what the kids may get a kick out of!

Wednesday, July 27

  • Midway Carnival and Games Area: Opens at noon
  • Lake County Farm Heritage Society and Ride-a-Tractor: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Miller’s Petting Zoo: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Midwest Camel and Pony Rides: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Kidbucks Game Show: Noon, 3 and 5 p.m.
  • John Measner Magic Show: 2, 4 and 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 28

  • Midway Carnival and Games Area: Opens at noon
  • Lake County Farm Heritage Society and Ride-a-Tractor: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Miller’s Petting Zoo: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Midwest Camel and Pony Rides: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Kidbucks Game Show: Noon, 3 and 5 p.m.
  • John Measner Magic Show: 2, 4 and 6:30 p.m.

Friday, July 29

  • Midway Carnival and Games Area: Opens at noon
  • Lake County Farm Heritage Society and Ride-a-Tractor: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Miller’s Petting Zoo: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Midwest Camel and Pony Rides: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Kidbucks Game Show: Noon, 3 and 5:30 p.m.
  • John Measner Magic Show: 2, 4 and 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 30

  • Midway Carnival and Games Area: Opens at noon
  • Lake County Farm Heritage Society and Ride-a-Tractor: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Miller’s Petting Zoo: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Midwest Camel and Pony Rides: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Kidbucks Game Show: Noon, 3 and 5:30 p.m.
  • John Measner Magic Show: 2, 4 and 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 31

  • Midway Carnival and Games Area: Opens at noon
  • Lake County Farm Heritage Society and Ride-a-Tractor: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Miller’s Petting Zoo: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Midwest Camel and Pony Rides: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Kidbucks Game Show: 11 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m.
  • John Measner Magic Show: 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 6 p.m.

Niels Duinker Comedy Juggler

 

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With nine Guinness World Records, Niels puts on a captivating performance. He performs variations of his records, with a touch of comedy relief. He does all the juggling of the sharp and dangerous objects too, like knives and machetes. He shoots the jokes just as quickly as he juggles with no effort. Niels will be performing for the full five days of the festival. Catch him Wednesday-Saturday with show times at 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. He performs Sunday at 12:30, 2 and 5:30 p.m.

Pie Eating Contest

Those with an appetite and sweet tooth to match will want to head over to Festival Square to witness the spectacle of eating a pie as fast as possible. There will be two age groups: 17 and under & 18 and up. The kid contest winner gets six waterpark passes to Great Wolf Lodge Illinois. The adult contest winner will receive a gift basket from Dave & Buster’s of Vernon Hills.

The rules are simple. A single pie as fast as you possibly can. The pies are made by Visit Lake County Partner Lovin’ Oven Cakery, so you know they’ll indulge your sweet tooth. Sign-up is first-come, first-serve for both age groups.

Police Choice Award: Best Donut in Lake County

No doubt a sweet event for the “hole” family and community, a panel of police judges will select their favorite donut from a local Lake County establishment. The judging will begin at noon at the Blue Ribbon Stage inside the Expo Hall. They will pick the winner in front of a live audience and crown it with the “Police Choice Award.” and will be known county-wide as the best donut in all of the land of lakes!

Demonstrations at the Fair

County fairs are a place for celebration and showing love for the community that you live in. But just because you’re enjoying a cold beer, delicious fried food and sweet desserts doesn’t mean you can’t learn something. This year, you have the opportunity to learn about three distinctly separate topics that are both delicious and that could you inspire to try out a new hobby.

Beekeeper Demonstration

  • Wednesday, July 27: 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 28: 3 p.m.
  • Friday, July 29: 5 p.m.
  • Saturday. July 30: 5 p.m.

Cheese-making Demonstration

  • Friday, July 29: 6 p.m.

Mead-making Demonstration

  • Saturday, July 30: 6 p.m.

Monster Truck Shows and Track Party

Monster trucks are a favorite of everyone, no matter the age. You can’t beat the header-less roar of their motors as they rip, flip and fly across the tracks. Watch as they captivate and infatuate all of your senses. Absorb the aroma of high-octane fuel and listen as you can hear the cars they run over to get completely crunched into pancakes. You will almost be able to feel the fire as flames erupt from their exhaust pipes. Catch the larger-than-life spectacle on Thursday and Friday. Avid fans of the beastly machines will have the opportunity to meet their favorite drivers and rigs at the Monster Truck Track Party before each night’s demonstration. Tickets to the show and party are an additional purchase.

Motocross

 

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Watch dirt bikes from Jenneration MX completely tear around the track on Wednesday and Thursday. They will be in the same area as the monster trucks and offer the opportunity to soak in the sound of the motor, the aroma of two-stroke fuel exhaust and see them fly through the air. Kids and adults will absorb the spectacle as the riders rack up the laps and compete for first place. Watch as they churn dirt on the track at 5 p.m. both Wednesday and Thursday.

Saturday Night Madness and Demolition Derby

 

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Demolition derby, Saturday Night Madness and the 95 Jeep Salute: the Lake County Fair is a gearhead’s paradise.

Saturday starts off with the 95 Jeep Salute track parade which is open for those who sign up to take their own vehicles around the obstacle course before the Madness begins. The Kids Powerwheels Obstacle Course follows the 95 Jeep Salute track parade. The Tuff Truck Obstacle Course is after and open to all SUVs, Jeeps, Trucks, UTVs and SXSs. After the obstacle course, the Extreme Compact Showdown will see “Gut-n-Go” FWD cars competing in multiple events. The Limited Weld Truck Demolition Derby is the last event and closes out Saturday night.

The always-classic demolition derby series is on Sunday and starts at 1 p.m. Before the derby is the Kids Powerwheels Demolition Derby and opens the festivities. The Derby Car Beauty Contest follows after and rolls into the Compact Car Demolition Derby and Full-Size Car Demolition Derby. The Trailer Races close out the day and are always a joy to see as they disintegrate with multiple laps around the track.

Taste of the Fair

The Taste of the Fair returns this year and allows fairgoers to sample fares from various food vendors. Sampling plates will be sold for $3, and participating vendors will be easy to identify with the sign displayed at their location. The Taste takes place between Wednesday and Friday from noon-5 p.m. Voting concludes that Friday and the winner is announced at 6 p.m. Sample sizes will be a quarter serving of the normal entrée and lets attendees fill up on more of their favorite fair fare.

Unique Fare at the Fair

One proven fact of any county fair is the almost-endless choices of things to indulge in. From fried to frozen and everything that is everything sugar-covered in between, you will be able to find something to munch on. Each year, the Lake County Fair blesses our bellies with delicious eats. The fair is highlighted by multiple food vendors. Here are a few of the unique Lake County local bites gracing the Grayslake grounds this year.

  • Funnel Cakes
  • BBQ
  • Elephant Ears
  • Deep-Fried Oreos
  • Burgers and Hot Dogs
  • Corn Dogs
  • Roasted Corn
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Talent Contest

Do you think you have what it takes to win some quick cash? If so, brush up on your skills and get ready to compete in the Fair’s talent contest. There are two categories. The Junior Talent Competition is open to individuals ages 14 and younger. The Senior Talent Competition is for competitors between the ages of 15 and 21. The contest takes place in the Expo Hall on Sunday at the Blue Ribbon Stage.

Buying Tickets

General One-Day Admission

  • Adult (age 13 and up): $15
  • Children (age 6-12): $5
  • Children 5 and under: free
  • Seniors (age 65+): $5

Military Admission

  • Active Military in Uniform: Free
  • Active Military, Veterans & Dependents w/valid Military ID: $5
  • Active Military, Veterans & Dependents w/valid Military ID: Free on Thursday. July 28 only.

Season Pass (Recommended For Those Going Multiple Days)

  • Adult Season Pass (age 13 and up): $55
  • Children Season Pass (age 6-12): $20
  • Seniors Season Pass (age 65+): $20

Parking

Preferred parking is $10 per day (Cash Only) and is located by the East Main Gate. Lake County Fair requests that you have your cash ready and in hand to keep traffic moving when you arrive. There will be no re-entry permitted for the duration of the Fair. When you enter the Fairgrounds from Midlothian Road, follow the signs to STAY LEFT for the preferred parking lot.

Free parking is located in the grass lot Parking is free in the grass lot just north of the preferred parking. When you enter the Fairgrounds from Midlothian Road, follow the signs to STAY RIGHT for the free parking lot.

There is complimentary Accessible Parking for vehicles bearing valid Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) disability parking placards or license plates. Accessible Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Preferred Lot.

Free shuttle service will be running round-trip rides from the Prairie Crossing Metra station to the Main Gate during the following days:

  • Friday, July 29: 5-10 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 30: Noon-5 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 31: noon-5 p.m.

Festival Hours

  • Wednesday, July 27: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 28: 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Friday, July 29: 10 a.m.-Midnight
  • Saturday, July 30: 10 a.m.-Midnight
  • Sunday, July 31: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Expo Hall Hours:

  • Wednesday – Saturday: 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Livestock Barn Hours:

  • Wednesday – Saturday: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Gates open at 8 a.m. for livestock events

Click here to win four free tickets to Six Flags Great America or an overnight stay at the Great Wolf Lodge Illinois. “Let the Ride Take You,” Hit the road and see everything happening in Lake County.

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