Hot Time at the Will County Fair!

Kids found a way to stay cool on the opening day of the Will County Fair, when all rides were $1 each.(Photos courtesy of the Will County Fair Association)
Kids found a way to stay cool on the opening day of the Will County Fair, when all rides were $1 each. (Photos courtesy of the Will County Fair Association)
By Karen Haave
Triple-digit heat indexes made being outdoors a challenge, but it didn’t stop the 120th Will County Fair from opening with a flourish.
Members of the WCF Association and the Will County Board joined other local dignitaries on a sweltering August 23rd morning to cut the ceremonial ribbon welcoming all to the annual event in Peotone.
With good weather, WCFA President Jay Nadler said, “75,000-ish” visitors were expected to pass through the gate.
The secret to the success of the fair, he said, is “I think staying true to our roots. The things you see at the fair are newer versions of what was at our first fair in 1904. It has been successful since. The chance to see all types of livestock, fine arts, machinery, household vendors and a great carnival. Something for everyone.”
Asked if he attended the fair as a child, he replied, “I did. I have only missed one year since my very early childhood. My father was the fair veterinarian so it was fun to go with him to check the health papers for all the livestock. I showed Brown Swiss dairy animals since fourth grade ‘till 18 years old.
“Favorite part, that’s hard,” he said. “I enjoyed seeing my livestock, but I also liked the carnival, tractor pull and other grandstand events. Maybe that’s why the fair has been so successful.
“I always visit with the livestock exhibitors. When I was younger and when my sons were of age, we loved the carnival, but we always went to the tractor pull and demo derbies.
“The fair has something for everyone, from livestock , fine arts exhibits, carnival and several grandstand shows.
“Wednesday is a great day for young families. It is dollar day. One dollar adult admission, ping pong ball drop for kids and one dollar rides.”
Will County Board Chair Judy Ogalla said she and her family look forward to the fair every year.
“Our family attends the fair every year,” she said. “I can’t say we have a favorite thing at the fair. We love walking around and seeing the animals, seeing our many friends at the fair, many of who bring their livestock, eating fair food –yum – and, of course, the vendors.
“Our grandchildren are big enough to enjoy the rides this year, so that will be extra special watching their faces light up. Fair time is like a homecoming, where the community joins together to celebrate our agricultural life.
“I love it!”
The Will County Fair Association is a not-for-profit organization, and proceeds from the annual fair are used for maintenance and improvements to the fairgrounds, Nadler noted.
In addition to the county fair, the site is available for rental for myriad other events, as well.

Officers and WCFA board members are Jay H. Nadler, DVM, president; Keith Schubbe, vice president; Jared Hack, treasurer; and Bill Maves, Phil Cowger, Don Soucie, Keith Batterman, Kevin Mathias, and Henry Reus, board members.

Karen Haave is a freelance reporter.

The Midway offered a variety of games with prizes to take home for the winners.

You can’t have a county fair without the animals, a popular attraction for city folk to see them up close.

The ping-pong drop is an always popular event for kids of all ages on the opening day of the fair.
(Photo courtesy of the Will County Fair Association)

Bryson Fisher, 6, of Peotone, was the lucky winner of a new bike at the Will County Fair. He was at the fair with his parents, Tammy and Keith, and siblings, Benjamin and Baileigh. His mom said he loves his bike; now he just needs to learn to ride with no training wheels. (Photo courtesy of Tammy Fisher)

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