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Lake County Fair brings new experiences to 2013 season

Returning for its 85th season, the Lake County Fair celebrates the area’s rich agricultural roots with the 2013 theme, “Let the Good Times Grow!”

Tradition returns, along with quite a few new experiences Wednesday, July 24 through Sunday, July 28, at the Lake County Fairgrounds,

“The heart of the fair is agriculture, and our theme reflects that – with a twist,” says Sheri Vyfvinkel, general manager. “People really liked the quirky fun we added to last summer’s fair. We’re building on that this year, while we continue the tradition and community camaraderie that makes our fair so unique.”

The Lake County Fair annually draws 100,000 visitors from Illinois’ Lake and Cook counties, as well as from communities in southern Wisconsin.

Along with high-energy bands, rides and yummy local food, there’s a new time capsule, which the community will fill at this year’s fair and open later at the Lake County Fair’s 100th anniversary in 2028.

The Banana Derby is back with its racing dogs with monkey jockeys.

With 1,000 more seats than last year, there’ll be plenty of wiggle room at the two nights of motocross, which kicks off Wednesday and Thursday followed by a tractor pull on Friday and two monster truck shows on Saturday before the fair closes with a bang on Sunday, featuring the all-day demolition derby.

To accommodate this lineup of attractions, Lake County Fair’s courtyard is reconfigured, and Festival Square makes its debut as the fair’s non-stop entertainment center.

Several top Chicago-area acts will perform. Mainstage bands include Too White Crew and a favorite of President Obama’s, fair headliner the Gentlemen of Leisure Band. Other mainstage performances include music by Bad Aim, Bella Cain, Rural Route One and Vinyl Highway.

Back by popular demand, Ag Adventure’s 2,000 square foot farm-in-the-fair, presented in partnership with the Lake County Farm Bureau. It's old-fashion fun for kids ages 3 to 8. Featuring puzzles, games and hands-on activities, it teaches youngsters a thing or two about agriculture, too.

Then, walk over to the rides and games where little ones will find something just for them and at just the right speed.

Stop by the Chicago Flower & Garden Show: At the Lake County Fair. The show’s outdoor experience celebrates its year-long theme, “Do Green. Do Good.” by marrying agriculture with horticulture in stunning display gardens built by area landscape architects. Designed to inspire, educate and motivate, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show will feature master gardeners to answer your questions about lawns, gardens, containers and more. Gardening demonstrations by leading horticulture experts will give handy tips and useable ideas.

No matter your strength, there’s a good chance you can vie for a blue ribbon, even if you haven’t entered a fruit pie or colorful quilt. With more than 20 formal competitions ranging from beef cattle to “Battle of the Bands,” there’s a host of live and quirky on-the-spot competitions designed for fairgoers only.

The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

For Metra train schedules via the Milwaukee District North and North Central Service rail lines, visit

Admission to the fair is cash only. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. Tickets are $8 for adults Wednesday through Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. Seniors 65 and older and children ages 6 through 12 are $5 daily. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. Ticket discounts apply for active military in uniform and their families. Season passes and family fun packs are available.

For event schedules, directions and parking information, please visit For up-to-the-minute photos, giveaways, fun and more, visit

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