Opening day offers fun inside and outside the Lake County Fair

Yadira Sanchez Olson
For Sun-Times Media | ysanchezolson@stmedianetwork.com
July 23 5:43 p.m.

THURSDAY AT THE FAIR

7 a.m. Livestock Barns: Dairy Goat Milking Competition

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Expo Hall: Chicago Flower and Garden Show

11 a.m. Livestock Barns: 4-H Small Pet Demonstration Noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. Kid Korral: Banana Derby Racing 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Festival Square: Strolling Pirate Choir 3 p.m. Festival Square Stage: Great Lakes Naval Band “Horizon”

4 p.m. Livestock Barns: Sheep Shearing Demonstration

5 p.m. Livestock Barns: 3rd annual Livestock Costume Contest

6 p.m. Blue Ribbon Stage: The Little and Jr. Miss Lake County Fair Queen Pageants

7 p.m. Grandstand: Pro Rodeo Stampede

8 p.m. Festival Square Stage: Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys

The outdoor rides, games and food are the traditional draws at county fairs, but it was the gadgets, projects and activities inside the Lake County Fairgrounds’ Expo Hall that captivated hundreds of guests Wednesday, the first day of the 2014 festival.

Round Lake 14-year-old Ashly Frazier found herself walking straight into a cake-decorating demonstration hosted by the professionals from the Lovin’ Oven Cakery in Round Lake Beach.

On the Blue Ribbon Stage, decorator Lindsey Rosenthal molded and sculpted fondant figurines, which she said are becoming more and more popular on cakes. For the audience, Rosenthal demonstrated how to make a green dragon, the head of a ninja turtle and an adorable gray elephant.

Frazier watched intently as the Cakery’s head decorator, Jenny Cruz, demonstrated how to spray color onto a white sheet cake canvas, giving it an eye-popping touch with her airbrush gun.

“You wanna try it,” Cakery manager Matt Slove asked Frazier.

But Slove wasn’t talking to an amateur.

Just a few feet away from the stage, on a table dedicated to 4-H club projects, there was a first-prize ribbon on a three-tiered cake that Frazier entered in the 4-H club’s theme cake competition.

Frazier’s cake earned many admirers who walked by and commented on its unique features. The cake looked more like a pop-up book or a farm toy, with a cow print bottom tier and a brown basket with vegetables and fruits in the middle. At the top, the third tier had a rodeo theme with a pink cowgirl hat and rope.

Frazier, who has been decorating cakes for about five years, worked for a day and a half to create the first prize piece of work, which can be appreciated throughout the weekend at the fair.

She considers what she does with cakes an art form and herself an artist — except for one exception.

“I get to eat my art afterward instead of hanging it on a wall,” Frazier said.

Frazier’s cake is just one of many eye-catching projects that members of the 4-H program have on display inside the fair’s Expo Hall.

Other sections include vendors selling bamboo pillows, leather belts, giant sweet and sour strings of candy, books, jewelry, clothes, portable phone chargers and fancy waffles.

There also is a booth with Lake County Sheriff’s officers offering educational information for parents and a tour of a squad car and a police motorcycle for children.

THURSDAY AT THE FAIR

7 a.m. Livestock Barns: Dairy Goat Milking Competition

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Expo Hall: Chicago Flower and Garden Show

11 a.m. Livestock Barns: 4-H Small Pet Demonstration Noon, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. Kid Korral: Banana Derby Racing 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Festival Square: Strolling Pirate Choir 3 p.m. Festival Square Stage: Great Lakes Naval Band “Horizon”

4 p.m. Livestock Barns: Sheep Shearing Demonstration

5 p.m. Livestock Barns: 3rd annual Livestock Costume Contest

6 p.m. Blue Ribbon Stage: The Little and Jr. Miss Lake County Fair Queen Pageants

7 p.m. Grandstand: Pro Rodeo Stampede

8 p.m. Festival Square Stage: Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys

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