Lake County Fair finishes with a flourish

In 2013, the rainfall during the Lake County Fair could be measured in inches. When the final day of the 2014 edition was well underway, Fair Association Board President Jon Brodzik Jr. used a different measuring system for the five-day event.

“I think we had 12 drops last night,” Brodzik said on Sunday, a partly-sunny day that drew a flood of early arrivals for the noon demolition derby.

Among those who were lured out by the late-summer weather for their first visit to the fair were Heidi and Scott Jenkins of Round Lake, who wanted to take in the sights — including that of monkey jockeys riding on the backs of dogs — with their 2-year-old son Nolan.

“We wanted to let him see all the animals and the banana derby and, of course, the demolition derby,” said Scott Jenkins after Nolan worked his way through the petting zoo on the north side of the exhibition hall.

Fair officials said it was too early Sunday to draw an attendance total for 2014, but Brodzik said his impression was that new attractions like a salute to veterans on Thursday helped the cause.

“That went really well. There were a lot of vets out here all day long, and the Navy Band did great. So did Elizabeth Lyons and Gunner and Grizzly Boys,” he said, referring to the lineup of live entertainment. “Gunner had a little hitch — he had a blowout on the way here, so Elizabeth got to play a little longer for us.”

Brodzik added that “there were a lot of compliments” on the fireworks display that closed out the veterans’ salute, though he said there were also those who suggested it should have been on Friday. That question will be addressed if the Fair Association’s Junior Board brings the fireworks back for 2015.

When 2014 is in the books, everyone involved in the fair will look back on the construction project on Peterson Road and how it might have impacted traffic into the fairgrounds. Brodzik credited Lake County Division of Transportation officials and the project’s contractors for aligning their schedule with that of the fair.

“They told us that they would get it open to the new lanes on north side on the concrete and they held true to their word,” he said. “They switched traffic around Monday before the fair, and Midlothian opened back up to all available lanes, so it worked out well.”

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