December 10, 2022

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Than a Food Fitter

DuPage County Fair returns for three days of farm animals, carnival rides and festival food

4 min read


Mosey on over to the DuPage County Reasonable, and the concerns and cares of suburban daily life melt away in the barns and show halls.

Prize-winning farm animals slumber in their stalls till they strut their stuff in the show ring. The 4-H little ones unplug and participate in cards in the uncommon moments when they’re not tending to their chores. Quiltmakers, woodworkers and property bakers are satisfied to share their craft, even if they will not gain a blue ribbon.

Which is the organic rhythm of the fair: laid-back and convivial.

But it is really no funnel cake walk when you’re Jim McGuire, the truthful supervisor. The accountability of preserving 180 decades of good traditions falls largely on his broad shoulders. And soon after a pandemic-induced hiatus, this weekend’s reasonable will come with its individual set of troubles. Organizers have felt the crunch of a limited labor market place and talent pool.

“COVID actually rocked our sector,” McGuire reported. “We had a ton of sellers that traveled the state and went to place to position. A lot of individuals rethought what they are undertaking, and so they are kind of sticking more local. They do not vacation as much as they did.”

So as an alternative of pulling off 5 times of agrarian, audio and carnival enjoyment, the truthful will open for a extensive weekend commencing Friday morning in Wheaton. The Lake County Honest also experienced a slimmed-down lineup and an abbreviated program in 2021 ahead of acquiring back again to comprehensive toughness this week. Similarly, DuPage honest organizers are presently working on ideas for a five-working day encounter in 2023, McGuire explained.

“You want to just take the initial stage and just variety of get the job done your way again into the groove,” McGuire reported.

As a price-preserving evaluate, organizers will be earning greater use of the buildings on the fairgrounds alternatively than putting up massive tents. The reasonable will strike the reset button without the need of the standard demolition derby and rodeo, but there are some new attractions that pay back homage to the county’s rural earlier.

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“We definitely transformed up the way we are carrying out matters coming out of two years with no getting a truthful,” McGuire mentioned.

A new configuration

The “beer backyard garden” and night concert events will be housed in Making No. 2, the to start with constructed on the fairgrounds. Carnival rides have moved toward the south facet of the property.

“We brought anything up toward Manchester Street,” McGuire explained.

With 1 noteworthy exception: Properly trained dogs will reveal how they corral a herd of sheep 2 times a working day on the lawn close to a butterfly back garden on the north stop of the fairgrounds.

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The DuPage County Fair will give a glimpse of country living during the three-day run of the event starting Friday.

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The DuPage County Truthful will give a glimpse of country living for the duration of the a few-day operate of the function beginning Friday.&#13
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Long gone place

Sprawling farms have all but vanished from the suburban landscape. In their absence, stewards of the county fair fill the job of educating men and women about agriculture.

“Individuals are all long gone, but we do have a good deal of minimal farmettes that are working,” McGuire explained.

In reality, the 2019 grand champion hog was born and elevated on a Glen Ellyn-spot farm owned by Marilyn Goodrich, who has served as the goat superintendent for as extended as there is been a truthful in Wheaton.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

The 4-Her’s will be demonstrating their goats, sheep and rabbits throughout the 3-day operate of the good. DuPage has joined other fairs in skipping poultry demonstrates to safeguard from the avian flu.

Organizers also have repurposed the goat barn for educational displays known to honest regulars as “AgVentureland.” Young ones can get a glimpse of the relatives farm by bottle feeding dairy calves or taking a spin on a pedal John Deere tractor.

“People have to notice that the food items they eat each and every working day, the apparel, it all arrives from agriculture, from the farmers and the individuals who do the job the field and work the land,” stated Ellen Sietmann, vice president of the DuPage County Fair Affiliation.

The reasonable connects her with her heritage. Her mom grew up on a farm.

“It receives in your blood,” she said.

Homegrown talent

Sietmann joined the nonprofit fair board in 1979. This year, she’s in demand of the competitive displays in the ag sciences and residence economics divisions.

Sietmann encourages people today who picked up new hobbies and observed a resourceful outlet during the pandemic — be it by means of baking, images, crocheting or floral arranging — to exhibit their capabilities.

“I want everybody in DuPage County to realize whichever they did, whatsoever they worked on throughout COVID, what ever they take pleasure in undertaking, even making a puzzle, they could exhibit at the fair,” she reported.

Judged reveals will be held in the fair’s main brick setting up. Across 65 lessons, there are about 185 entries. Champions snag ribbons and cash prizes.

“It truly is just this sort of a excellent thrill to see the people when they win a little something,” Sietmann stated.

Ham it up

You can feast on the fried delicacies of the reasonable and clean it all down with fresh new-squeezed lemonade. But the honest is serving up extra than corn dogs and funnel cake. Taquizas will offer you tacos and elote, Mexican street corn. Pork out on barbecue at C & K Smokehouse, a new food vendor at the honest. Regional beekeepers also will have honey accessible, McGuire mentioned.

“A lot of our identical companions and friendships that we’ve produced about the a long time are signing up for us all over again and they’re all enthusiastic to be again.”

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        





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