- Editor’s Note: This article was written by Susie Thompson, an intern for the Kane County Development & Community Services Department and a student at Illinois State University studying Agriculture Communications & Leadership and Animal Industry Management.
One of the most exciting weeks of summer for thousands of people, including myself, happens to also fall on the HOTTEST week of the year: the Kane County Fair. This four-day extravaganza is fun for all ages, and features something everyone is sure to love. From lemonade shake ups and the rodeo, to the rollercoasters and deep fried Oreos, there’s always something to please everybody.
Coming from someone who has a background in agriculture, I have a slightly different take on the fair. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still the HOTTEST week of the year. But when I walk around the Kane County Fair, I see things that are often absent to the average fairgoer’s eyes. These things aren’t miniscule; in fact, they’re extremely prominent, but not everyone takes the time to really see what I’m about to share.
So, without further ado, here are five highlights to look for next week at the Kane County Fair:
(1) Livestock Barns/Arenas
I’m sure everyone sees these barns as they are walking around the corner to the next food vendor or rollercoaster, but not everyone walks through the barns.
In each of these barns, you will find many species of animals, as well as their owners: the 4-H’ers. These kids have spent countless hours working with their animals, feeding and caring for them in all types of weather, all to prepare for this week of showing. Don’t be shy to ask the 4-H’ers and their parents about the animals. It’s one of the main reasons why animals are brought to the fair each year: to educate fairgoers about animals and agriculture.
(2) 4-H Project Building
You know that white barn on the east side of the fairgrounds? That’s the 4-H Project Building, where hundreds of 4-H projects are on display. Everything from model rockets and artwork, to vet science posters and clothing design, it’s all there.
It’s an artifact that continues to demonstrate that you do NOT have to own livestock to be in 4-H. Kane County youth are extremely talented. Go check it out!
(3) Blue Ribbon Sale
This is such a cool event to attend Sunday afternoon of the fair. It’s where 4-H’ers will auction off their livestock projects (minus horses; for dairy cattle it’s the milk, not the actual cow) for people to buy.
If you or your family have never seen an auction, it’s very exciting! The money spent at this fast paced event is invested back into 4-H’ers, too.
The Blue Ribbon Sale begins at 1 p.m. in the livestock arena (next to the Miller Lite Sound Stage) on July 23. You don’t want to miss it!
(4) 4-H Ice Cream Booth
I always see fairgoers walking around with their soft-serve ice cream, pretty much identical to what McDonald’s serves. I’ll let you in on a secret: the hands-down BEST ice cream at the fairgrounds is at the 4-H Colonial Café Ice Cream Booth, right across from the livestock arena.
The 4-H’ers take shifts in serving ice cream, and tickets are sold right outside. It doesn’t get much better than that, plus the cost of one cone is often HALF of what it can cost a consumer at a regular vendor.
Take the advice from a 4-H alum who always has her fair share of ice cream cones during that week. It’s irresistible! Grab a cone before heading over to the Blue Ribbon Sale!
(5) Kane County Young Leader’s Booth
The Kane County Youth Leaders Booth is located directly next to the 4-H ice cream booth. In this booth, sponsored by the Kane County Farm Bureau and KCFB Foundation, is a petting zoo, Ag in the Classroom activities, bucket raffle, silent auction items and more.
The best part? FFA members from the three Kane County chapters (Kaneland, Hinckley-Big Rock and Central Burlington) will be working the booths and talking to people on Thursday though Saturday. Don’t miss a chance to talk to some current members and learn more about FFA and how it has positively impacted their lives!
So, Get to the Fair!
There you go, five more places to add to your list of things to see at the fair!
The fair runs from Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, July 23, at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, on Randall Road and Oak Street. For more information, sign up for email news or follow the fair’s Facebook page.
Make sure when you are not just looking as you walk by; take the time to truly see these irreplaceable aspects of the fair. After all, these five highlights are a staple, and without them, the fair would just not be the same.
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