Back in full force, Lake County Fair combines old staples with new entertainment to draw crowds

Full slate of events planned daily through July 31 at 93rd edition of county event

GRAYSLAKE – The Lake County Fair returns for its 93rd year this week with old traditions, new twists and a renewed sense of excitement.

“This is our first year back since 2019 that we’ve had a full fair,” said Chey Pribel, events and marketing manager for the Lake County Fair. “We’re just thrilled to be back.”

After a micro-fair in 2021, the fair is “back to normal” this year, she said, with a full slate of events planned daily.

The fair runs through Sunday, July 31, at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center, 1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake. Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, July 28; 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 31.

Tickets cost $15 for adults (age 13 and older), $5 for children (ages 6-12) and $5 for seniors. Children ages 5 and younger are free. All grandstand and arena events are included with admission.

Entertainment includes carnival rides, motor sports, monster truck shows, pig races, a demolition derby, a petting zoo, live music and performances, food vendors, beer gardens, a talent show, queen pageants and more.

Free of pandemic limitations, the fair once again will feature historic favorites with the return of on-site 4-H and open class exhibits and a livestock auction.

“That’s definitely the core of what makes a fair a fair,” Pribel said.

4-H members, along with Future Farmers of America and independent showmen from across the county, invest time and money every year to raise livestock for show and purchase at the Lake County Fair.

The past couple of years, the events went virtual.

“Both kids and adults, they literally work with these animals for months … to be able to show them at the fair and show off their hard work,” Pribel said. “It’s incredible.”

Because of the success of past virtual events, the fair is hosting a first-ever hybrid livestock auction this year with opportunities for people to bid both in person and online, Pribel said.

A partner with 4-H, the fair association also hosts competitions in 4-H categories such as crafts, gardening and flowers, culinary, textiles and visual arts.

Another tradition dating through the years is the Lake County Fair Queen Pageant. Winners in the categories of Miss Lake County Fair Queen, Junior Miss Lake County Fair Queen and Little Miss Lake County Fair Queen represent the county throughout the year.

Generations of families are drawn to these events and more at the fair, a celebration of Lake County’s heritage.

A few fresh attractions have been peppered in with old staples this year.

The Canine Stars Stunt Dog Show, featuring a world-class team of dog trainers and their adopted dogs, will make a return appearance after a debut at the fair in 2019. The show was featured on “America’s Got Talent” on NBC in 2021.

“They’ll be performing three shows each day,” Pribel said, “so you can catch them more than once if you want to.”

Pribel also expects the grandstand and arena events, including motocross, the demolition derby and a new monster truck show, to be big draws.

“Their show is literally insane,” she said of the monster truck addition scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28, and Friday, July 29. “Definitely be prepared to feel your seat rumble below you.”

The entertainment doesn’t have to be ground breaking to build excitement.

Pribel expects smaller events, such as local bands and a new Police Choice Award: Donut Contest, to draw crowds.

At noon Sunday, July 31, at the Blue Ribbon Stage, a panel of police judges will select their favorite doughnut in Lake County in front of a live audience.

For a complete schedule of events and more information, visit www.lcfair.com.

With the fair known to draw thousands, organizers are hoping to see crowds return this year.

“I certainly hope so,” Pribel said. “It’s still hard to tell these days. I still have friends and family who are still not going to big events, but we’re still hopeful a lot of people are anxious to get out and enjoy the rest of their summer.”