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Local

Kane County Fair ends on high note

ST. CHARLES – With about seven hours left of the 2014 Kane County Fair, board president Larry Breon didn’t have final attendance figures but knew crowds were larger than last year.

“From the fair’s perspective,” he said late Sunday afternoon, “we’re very pleased.”

The week’s mild weather had to have helped. Last year, Breon said, Saturday was “very, very hot,” and attractions had to close because of a strong storm. Meanwhile, he said, this year was “one of those years you dream about but don’t see very often.”

Crowds packed the grandstand Sunday for the demolition derby, while a show by Big Cat Encounters drew a standing-room-only crowd. Other animals also drew spectators – and buyers. The hours-long 4-H Blue Ribbon Sale featured such species as cattle, sheep, goats and poultry on the auction block.

“Last chance to fill your freezer with beef,” auctioneer Steve Almburg called out as bidding began for the last of the blue ribbon cattle.

Almburg’s participation in the auction is as much of a tradition as the fair itself, Breon said. Almburg’s father once ran it, he said, and one of Almburg’s sons helped him this year.

The sale “generates a lot of money for the 4-Hers,” Breon said, and it has helped many pay for college.

As bidding on poultry neared, Fantastics 4-H member Madison Solomon of St. Charles stood in the poultry barn near her caged chickens, which were next to three up for auction. The 12-year-old said she also had photography, cooking and visual arts entries on exhibition.

“It’s just fun to be able to show off some of the things I’ve done in the past year,” she said.

In another part of the fairgrounds, Sandwich resident Stacy Kuntz waved as her husband and 4½-year-old daughter rode one of the many rides, a roller coaster named Wacky Worm.

Kuntz said she and her husband surprised their daughter with the trip.

“She’s having so much fun,” she said.

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