A look at family fun available at county fairs

If you want to see a real live cow, or watch a pig race, or see cars smash each other up, there’s no place like the county fair.

There are several county fairs that hearken back to the state’s agricultural roots. Here’s a look at when and where you can find a fair.

Kane County Fair

Where: 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles

When: July 16-20

Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Wed.-Thurs.; noon-midnight Fri.-Sat.; noon-10 p.m. Sun.

Cost: $5-$10. Seniors free on Wed. Season tickets: $20

Contact: (630) 584-6926 or visit Kanecountyfair.com

Parking: Oak Street, Route 38 and Route 64

The 146th Kane County Fair runs July 16-20 in St. Charles.

Back again are the free acts, like Swifty Swine racing pigs, KidsBucks Game Show, Miller Petting Zoo, Kiddy Land with younger age-appropriate rides and games, the Sheer Magic show, the big cat show and the talent show, said fair board president Larry Breon.

The Fantasy Amusements carnival runs throughout the fair. Check the website for wristband specials.

The Miller Lite Sound Stage will feature several Chicago area favorites, he said.

“This year, we have a BMX show, which is a freestyle motocross operation, which we haven’t had in years past,” he said. “We have a demo derby — people seem to enjoy seeing cars get wrecked, especially if they’re not their own. We also have bull riding, which has become very popular, on Friday and Saturday.”

Bands include 7th Heaven, Hillbilly Rockstarz, Hi Infidelity, Heartache Tonight, The Neverly Brothers and American English, he said.

The FMX Freestyle Stunt Show is Thursday and the Smash ‘Em Bash ‘Em Demolition Derby has two shows on Sunday. Grandstand entertainment isn’t included in fair admission.

The fairgrounds were remodeled about five years ago, and Breon is still getting the word out.

Even though Kane County isn’t the farm land it used to be, there is still a big agricultural component to the fair, he said. The 4-Hers still show sheep, hogs, dairy cows, horses, chicken and rabbits, he said.

Lake County Fair

Where: 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake

When: July 23-27

Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. July 23-24; 10 a.m.-11 p.m., July 25-26; and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. July 27

Cost: $5-$10. Season passes: $15-$35

Contact: (847) 680-7200 or visit lcfair.com

After a long absence, the rodeo returns to the 86th annual Lake County Fair.

“It’s a full-blown rodeo. Nine events, bull riding all the way through rail riding,” said Lake County Fair board president Jon Brodzik. It’s at 7 p.m. July 24 and 25.

“It’s exciting. There are not that many of them out there anymore,” he said. “If there is, it’s like PBR, which is strictly bull riding. But they want to see all those things that come with a full-blown rodeo, and all those little acts that entertain in between the different events.”

Something new this year is the STA-BIL Lake County Fair Mow Down Show Down. Presented by the United States Lawn Mowing Association, shows are at 1 and 7 p.m. July 26.

The fan-favorite traditional demolition derby returns on July 27.

“Guys from all over the place are coming to smash up their cars,” he said.

Also on July 27 is a new craft beer festival.

July 24 is a Veteran’s Day at the fair, he said. Singer Elizabeth Lyons, and Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys will perform.

On July 25, Bella Cain is the main act, and the Blooze Brothers headline July 26.

The Expo Hall will host the County Fair Marketplace, 4-H exhibits, pavilions, Blue Ribbon Stag and Ag Adventure.

Plus, you’ll find the Banana Derby, which is actual monkey jockeys racing on dogs, every day. For the second year, the Chicago Garden and Flower Show will be at the fair as well.

DuPage County Fair

Where: 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton

When: July 23-27

Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily

Cost: $4-$10; Season pass: $30; seniors free until 3 p.m. July 23-25

Contact: (630) 668-6636 or visit Dupagecountyfair.org

The DuPage County Fair will be July 23-27 in Wheaton. The fair features a wide mix of agriculture and entertainment.

The fourth annual craft fair runs July 25-27 in a new location: the Commercial Building.

In addition to the grandstand events, there is a lot of entertainment to be had throughout the fair in the beer tent, the program tent and Ag-Adventureland.

The Spirits of DuPage beer and wine tasting fundraiser is at 6:30 p.m. July 25. For $40, which includes admission to the fair, visitors can enjoy fine wines, beers and appetizers while listening to a performance by the Deb Welch Band. This will be followed by a fireworks show.

Grandstand entertainment includes two monster truck shows on July 23.

There’s the Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest, talent contest and the fourth annual Photography Shoot-Out Contest on the fair’s opening day. There’s also the Build a Garden contest and the Open Air Drawing Contest.

Kendall County Fair and 4-H Show

Where: 10826 Illinois Route 71, Yorkville

When: July 31-Aug. 3

Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. July 31-Aug. 1, 8 a.m.-midnight Aug. 2, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 3

Cost: $4-$15; $12-$14 for a season pass

Contact: (630) 553-2860 or visit Kendallcountyfair.org

The Kendall County Fair and 4-H Show will be July 31 to Aug. 3 at the fairgrounds in Yorkville.

Grandstand events include a Western Speed Show on Aug. 1, a truck and tractor pull Aug. 2, a freestyle madness show on Aug. 3, capped with the crowd favorite demolition derby on Aug. 4.

The fair kicks off July 31 with 4-H exhibits and the carnival, which continue throughout the fair. The bands Whiskey Romance and Recycle the Day perform. The Cool Rockin’ Daddies play Aug. 1 followed by a karaoke contest.

A ventriloquist and a magician will perform three shows during the day Aug. 2, and fans of farm equipment will want to watch the antique tractor parade at 1 p.m. The band Back Country Roads rounds out the evening.

Other events at the fair include a carnival, a livestock auction, Harding’s Chainsaw Log Carving, petting zoo and pony rides, Buttons the Clown, face painting, a kid’s tent, beer garden and food booths.

Will County Fair

Where: 710 West St., (Wilmington-Peotone Road), Peotone

When: Aug. 20-24

Cost: $4

Contact: (708) 258-9359 or visit Willcountyfair.org

The 111th annual Will County Fair runs from Aug. 20-24 in Peotone. It features a chili cook-off, truck and tractor pull, demolition derbies, carnival, livestock auction, baby show, rodeo and more.

Each day of the fair is themed. Family Day is Aug. 20; carnival rides are discounted and children can participate in a ping pong. Senior citizens and veterans will enjoy $2 admission on Aug. 21. Grandstand entertainment is a truck and tractor pull at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $8.

Demolition Derby Day is Aug. 22, with carnival specials and the Nationwide Demolition Derby set for 7:30 p.m. The cost is $9.

Democrat Day and Demolition Derby Day 2 are Aug. 23. Stop by a sheep shearing demonstration in the sheep barn, and visit the Chevy display as Chevrolet teams up with the Radio Disney Chicago road crew. There is also a Sock Hop in the entertainment tent, the Will County 4-H Livestock Auction and the Nationwide Demolition Derby at 7 p.m. in the grandstand. The cost is $9.

Aug. 24 is Republican Day, and features a baby show, a rodeo and the fifth annual Chili Cook-off with judging at 3 p.m. The rodeo is at 2 p.m. and costs $8.

The band Black Cadillac will provide the entertainment in the beer garden Aug. 21 and 22, with Iron Horse performing Aug. 23 and the All Star Music Machine appearing nightly.

The Family Entertainment Tent will have daily activities throughout the fair.

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