ST. CHARLES – Even as Kane County becomes more urbanized, the Kane County Fair has been able to retain its rural roots.
“We still have a good 4-H program and they’re involved heavily,” said Larry Breon, chairman of the Kane County Fair board of directors. “That’s one of the mainstays of the fair, the 4-H program. In a lot of places, 4-H is kind of waning, but in Kane County, it’s still really strong and vibrant.”
The 151st edition of the Kane County Fair will take place from July 17 through July 21 at the Kane County Fairgrounds, located at the intersection of Randall Road and Oak Street in St. Charles.
Youngsters involved in the 4-H program will be showing off their prized livestock, along with other projects.
“4-H has adapted over the years,” Breon said. “It’s more than just farming. As everything else has changed in our communities, so has that. We still have livestock, which is nice. You don’t see that everywhere anymore, especially in our area, which is getting less and less rural.”
Several activities that premiered at the fair last year will return this year, including a wine tasting garden.
“Last year, we tried a wine tasting area and that seemed to go over very well, so we’re doing that again,” Breon said. “People seemed to have enjoyed it.”
The wine garden will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. July 18, 2 to 9 p.m. July 19 and July 20 and noon to 6 p.m. July 21 in the Prairie Events Center building. Live music will be featured in the wine garden from 4 to 7 p.m. July 19 and July 20.
Bingo and a classic car show also will be returning to the fair this year. Attendees can look forward to new activities as well.
For the first time, the Kane County Fair will feature cowgirl barrel racing in conjunction with its popular championship bull riding.
“They will have kind of an obstacle barrel racing course in the grandstand area,” Breon said. “It’s a timed event and you have to go around the barrels. It’s a rodeo event, but we’re going to do it ahead of the bull riding.”
Breon thinks the cowgirl barrel racing will appeal to those who enjoy watching the bull riding. Besides bull riding, this year’s edition of the fair will feature other old favorites such as daily pig races and a demolition derby.
The demolition derby, which will be at 4 p.m. July 21 in the grandstand area, is one of the fair’s most popular activities year after year. A new organization, Mendota-based Ramer Race Promotions, will be putting on this year’s demolition derby.
“I’m kind of excited about that,” Breon said. “They do a really good job. I think we’ll have a really good demolition derby. It’s always been really popular. There seems like there’s a couple of things that work at most county fairs. One’s racing pigs and the other one is a demolition derby. And we have them both.”
The family oriented Kane County Fair also will feature several activities for kids in the Prairie Events Center building, including interactive games and giant puzzles. Kids also will have the chance to shoot hoops, throw footballs and take their turn at bat.
“One nice thing about that is the parents can come in there and because it is air-conditioned, they can cool off and the kids can have a good time,” Breon said. “Kids can do something and the parents can relax if they want to.”
Music also is an integral part of this year’s fair. Several bands will grace the Miller Lite Sound Stage during the fair, including Libido Funk Circus, Hillbilly Rockstarz, Hi Infidelity and 7th Heaven.
A full schedule of events is available at the fair’s website, kanecountyfair.com.