The annual Kane County Fair may be gone for the year, but it sure isn’t forgotten.
Over the four days from July 20 to July 23, guests enjoyed classic fair events such as animal exhibits, magic shows and carnival rides. They also got a first look at new activities that made their debut at the fair this year.
Spotlight on MindWorks
One of these new activities, MindWorks, was a particular hit among patrons of all ages. Located in the Prairie Events Center, life-sized games and hands-on activities covered more than 7,000 square feet of floor space.
MindWorks Director Pam Shultz said this is the exhibit’s first year at the Kane County Fair.
“Our goal is to captivate everybody and get them all involved, no matter their stage in life,” she said. “We want people, especially kids, to realize that learning can be fun. We have blocks and magnets for toddlers, all the way up to brainteasers and puzzles for older folks.”
MindWorks, an exhibit based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), also encourages adults to channel their inner kid again.
“I saw a couple in their 40s playing hopscotch yesterday,” Shultz said.
The exhibit has traveled to fairs across the country for five years. It got its start at the San Diego County Fair, where games like Giant Jenga and Giant Checkers were a big hit.
Although MindWorks is only in its fifth year, Shultz and her husband have been in the business a lot longer.
“We’ve been bringing STEM to fairs for a quarter of a century … We did STEM before it was the big movement you see today,” she said.
Shultz’s husband, a physics and chemistry teacher, started the company that has grown to four attractions on tour 160 days a year.
“Even though I’m busy most of the year, I love it,” Shultz said. “I get to see different parts of the country, and meet unique people. It’s a big melting pot.”
Looking to Next Year
Although the Kane County Fair is over for the year, the fairgrounds certainly won’t be dormant. The Kane County Flea Market takes place on the first weekend of each month, and draws large crowds similar to what we saw this weekend.
Stay tuned for next year’s Kane County Fair, when the fair will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Organizers promise 2018 will bring even bigger and better activities and shows for all who attend.
- This story was written by Kane County Connects intern Annabel Sengstock.