ST. CHARLES – Friday afternoon was no time for a catnap – at least not at the Kane County Fair.
Several dozen fairgoers gathered on wood bleachers and picnic tables midafternoon to watch six female tigers – Greta, Margo, Mohine, India, Ada and Misty – show off such tricks as jumping through hoops and walking on high wires.
Trainer Brunon Blaszak lured them from their shaded resting area, sometimes chiding them for their sluggishness.
“Hey, this is no time to be lazy,” he told Greta, a 500-pound royal Bengal tiger, as she laid down moments after emerging from her cage and into the secure performance ring.
Blaszak’s 20-minute tiger show was just one of the scheduled family events at the Kane County Fair, which runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds in St. Charles, located along Randall Road between Routes 64 and 38. Parking entrances are at Oak Street and Route 38.
Admission is $8, and there is no admission for children younger than 5 years old.
Activities include a magic show, pig races and a children’s game show. Today, Disney act Cimorelli is set to perform on the main stage at 4 p.m. and will be available for a meet-and-greet.
The 4-H exhibit area is set to close at 5 p.m. Sunday. A milking derby is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the 4-H livestock arena.
Blaszak, a third-generation tiger handler from Florida, plans to show off the tigers at 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, he said, advising people to look for the orange tent.
He acknowledged the heat makes the felines slow, but noted they are lazy by nature. They sleep about 15 to 20 hours a day, he said.
Holding both a command stick and a meat stick, Blaszak guided the tigers through the show, rewarding them with a piece of raw meat once they completed their stunt.
The tigers, who ranged in age from 4 to 16, respond to voice and hand commands, Blaszak said. He said some tricks, like jumping, come naturally to them while others take months. For example, he said, the high-wire walk took India eight months to learn.
Blaszak said the tigers enjoy performing.
“I can definitely see it,” he said.
Visit www.kanecountyfair.com for more information about the fair.