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City Girls at the County Fair

Updated on October 25, 2014

A little excursion out of our comfort zone

Growing up in the Chicago area, my family had never gone to a county fair. As far as I know, our county (Cook) doesn't even have one.

When we saw an ad for the County Fair in the neighboring county (Lake) we decided it was long-past time we experienced a fair for ourselves. We'd heard about all the competitions: animals, produce, hand-crafts, baking, preserving. We'd heard about the carnival rides and games on the Midway. We'd even heard about the delights of "food on a stick" and "anything - fried!" and had to see for ourselves.

As it turned out - we had a wonderful time. But the best part (aside from Funnel Cake) was seeing the magnificent Budweiser Clydesdales up close and personal.

Recipes from Fairs - the best of American cooking

The sheep were chilly!
The sheep were chilly!

Animals at the Fair

I expected to be overwhelmed by the odors at the animal barns - but I was wrong. The animals and their enclosures were meticulously clean and the overall impression was pride - in the animals, in their husbandry, in the 4-H-ers knowledge of their charges. We were favorably impressed.

A contributing factor to the lack of smell may have been the weather - the temperature was in the low '60s! Very unusual for northern Illinois in the summer. So unusual that we saw a couple of sheep wearing t-shirts.

Animals at the Lake County Fair

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Chickens!It was a chilly day for summer! The newly-shorn sheep needed clothes to stay warm.Up close to cows.These ducks were for sale - $10 each. Tempting, but we resisted.Goats.Pig.Bunny!The "Petting Zoo" area was very popularChildren (and their parents) really enjoyed meeting the animalsThe animals really enjoyed the treats!
Chickens!
Chickens!
It was a chilly day for summer! The newly-shorn sheep needed clothes to stay warm.
It was a chilly day for summer! The newly-shorn sheep needed clothes to stay warm.
Up close to cows.
Up close to cows.
These ducks were for sale - $10 each. Tempting, but we resisted.
These ducks were for sale - $10 each. Tempting, but we resisted.
Goats.
Goats.
Pig.
Pig.
Bunny!
Bunny!
The "Petting Zoo" area was very popular
The "Petting Zoo" area was very popular
Children (and their parents) really enjoyed meeting the animals
Children (and their parents) really enjoyed meeting the animals
The animals really enjoyed the treats!
The animals really enjoyed the treats!

All the classic elements were there

We've all seen County Fairs in the movies or on television, but I didn't really think it would be a good representation of an actual Fair. I was wrong! Delightfully so. All the rides and games and food stands were just as garish, loud, and scream-producing as anyone could want. It was a classic, terrific piece of Americana. There was even a Talent Competition with some of the most adorable children dancing their hearts out with their troupes. You couldn't help but cheer for every single one!

Sights at the Lake County Fair

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The crowds built through the day.The Midway and carnival-type games.It was empty when we got there - but jammed by the time we left.Some of the rides were more tempting than others.The old-time farm tractors and trucks were beautifully maintained.There was a Flower and Garden display for those of us more-urban farmers.The Zip-Line attracted more eyes than zip-liners while we were there.
The crowds built through the day.
The crowds built through the day.
The Midway and carnival-type games.
The Midway and carnival-type games.
It was empty when we got there - but jammed by the time we left.
It was empty when we got there - but jammed by the time we left.
Some of the rides were more tempting than others.
Some of the rides were more tempting than others.
The old-time farm tractors and trucks were beautifully maintained.
The old-time farm tractors and trucks were beautifully maintained.
There was a Flower and Garden display for those of us more-urban farmers.
There was a Flower and Garden display for those of us more-urban farmers.
The Zip-Line attracted more eyes than zip-liners while we were there.
The Zip-Line attracted more eyes than zip-liners while we were there.

Good enough to eat!

The winners of the produce and domestic arts competitions were showcased. We oohed and aahed over the baked goods (no samples!) and the jams and jellies. The produce winners made me regret my lack of a "green thumb" - you could just smell the freshness of the vegetables. These lucky winners will be having some delicious salads.

Domestic arts winners

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The jams and jelliesThe produce winners in tomatoes.Squash and greens and yards of winnersMore winning produceWe just adored these cupcake competition winners - from under the sea.
The jams and jellies
The jams and jellies
The produce winners in tomatoes.
The produce winners in tomatoes.
Squash and greens and yards of winners
Squash and greens and yards of winners
More winning produce
More winning produce
We just adored these cupcake competition winners - from under the sea.
We just adored these cupcake competition winners - from under the sea.

Demolition Derby fans - who knew?

We didn't know there would be a Demolition Derby competition at the County Fair the day we were there. But we were there to take in all the sights, sounds, and experiences of the Fair. So we sat in the bleachers with our Funnel Cake and were, almost instantly, addicted. I don't know exactly why Demolition Derby is so compelling - but it is!

Unexpected new addiction

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We were cheering for all of themWe were impressed that these cars were still runningYou could feel the "hits" - even up in the bleachers.
We were cheering for all of them
We were cheering for all of them
We were impressed that these cars were still running
We were impressed that these cars were still running
You could feel the "hits" - even up in the bleachers.
You could feel the "hits" - even up in the bleachers.

The best part is.....

What's your favorite part of the County Fair?

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We just love the Clydesdales

The Budweiser commercials featuring the Clydesdales are the only commercials I ever actually stop and watch - and look forward to new ones.

I've been told that this 9/11 Tribute advertisement aired only once.

© 2013 Hope

Have you enjoyed your County Fair?

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