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83rd Annual Lake County Fair Deemed a Success by LCFA Staff

The Lake County Fair Association officials are happy with the success of this year's fair despite lower attendance figures. They are focused on big plans for the future.

The 83rd annual Lake County Fair was proclaimed a success by Board members and associates alike after its conclusion earlier this month.

Although this year’s attendance of about 88,000 dipped from last years total of 106,000 people, the staff said there was a resounding sense of improvement from attendees.

Kelli Kepler-Yarc, a secretary with the , was one of the many staff members to praise the execution of this year’s fair and explained how attendance cannot be used as a sole indicator of the outcome of the event.

“Attendance was lower this year for fairs across the state, so we’re not too worried about that issue,” Kepler-Yarc said. “We’ve improved in so many other areas. We had parking issues the past couple of years, but it went smoothly this time. Traffic control was great, and the crowds were moved through fairgrounds well.”

Business Manager Sheri Vyfvinkel set the following four goals for this year's fair:

  1. Better customer service
  2. Smooth operations
  3. Increased marketing and public relations
  4. More organized parking process

Vyfvfnkel happily claims all of these goals were met this year.

“I am very pleased with the way this fair went,” Vyfvinkel said. “I’m very proud of our staff. They did their part to make the event operational, especially under the conditions of extreme heat and some storms.”

Vyfvinkel explained how many of the events predicted to be a hit with the crowds were just that, including the motocross, tractor pull events, and the new Banana Derby event, where monkeys rode as jockeys on the backs of dogs.

President Mike Richards commented on the success of this year’s fair, summing up the importance of the fair’s events and the people that make them possible.

“The Lake County Fair is a special tradition and has been for generations of families,” said Richards in a release. “As we plan to create new traditions, it’s important to us that we don’t lose sight of the heart of the fair: youth, animals, 4-H, exhibits, competitions and agricultural education. I am very excited that we now have a full year with a new business manager on board to refocus and develop a strategic plan for the future. I’m confident we have the right team in place for a stellar fair in 2012.”

Both Kelli-Yarc and Vyfvinkel give credit to the new board members, President Richards in particular, for helping to shape the association into a well-oiled machine capable of pulling off a wonderful fair for kids and adults alike.

“We've had some big changeovers in the past year, and it's all for the positive,” Kepler-Yarc said. “We’re very optimistic about the future and extremely pleased with how it went this year.”

To learn more about the and get a schedule of events sponsored by the association throughout the year, visit lcfair.com.

Sven Johannsen August 18, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Interesting to read that the LC Fair was deemed a success. While I skipped it again this year, every person that I spoke with after attending said that it was awful. One person said it was the worst ever. Overpriced, inadequate seating, inappropriate political bashing and commentary during the rodeo, religious preaching in exchange for a kid's face being painted, etc. Of course, we would only expect a positive press release from the LCFA, because they do have a vested interest in wooing attendees next year.
Rich August 18, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Homer use to attend every fair since 1965. Even in the service, I was lucky to be home to attend the fair. When the fair moved, Homer attended the first year and tried to attend the next year. They would not let me park the second year of the new grounds. Drove in and they just kept directing me through the mud until they directed me right out of the fairgrounds. Figured they did not want me there. Have not been back since.
Marcia Watts Sagendorph (Editor) August 18, 2011 at 10:26 PM
Sven and Homer, is there anything the LCFA could do or offer to bring you back? Just curious...
Tim Froehlig August 19, 2011 at 12:00 AM
I agree with the the other posters. In addition to losing that old-time feel by moving from its old location, the Fair charging $10 just to get in is ridiculous, especially in this economy. Then you have to pay for rides, food, and have people in the exhibits pushing their agendas on peoples' kids constantly as they walk by. Don't get me wrong, I had a nice time with family and went when they has their $2 admission special at 10 a.m. the day they opened. But then they make you park and walk what seems like forever, which when you have older family members is a real problem for some. There also used to be a lot more vendors and variety of events at the old fair. They need to start giving people a reason to want to go to the fair instead of having people view it as a chore or hassle, as it almost has become now at the new location. Parking, price, presentation and pushy people....fixing the four "P's" should be their offseason goals when they discuss next year's fair. Also, it actually seemed like there were MORE vendors and space for them in the old location, which is stunning to me given how this new location was touted as having so much more room for things.
Sven Johannsen August 19, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Good question, Marcia. Frankly, I was disgusted enough with the Fair at the old location to stop going. Then, all the negatives from others about the new location has kept me away. Honestly, I may just be too jaded, though might be enticed if there was a headline musical group of some notoriety or vendors that offer more than preaching and overpriced junk. Guess that was pretty direct!
Rich August 19, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I liked the old location. The new location is big and spacious but long walks to the animal exhibits, which my grandkids like. I do not remember mud being such a problem at the old location. The commercial exhibits; need more and better quality. Aso, I thought the pricing was too high for what you get. Not a good value.
WorriedParent August 19, 2011 at 07:56 PM
I have gone to the fair for many, many years. Now as an adult I continue to go with my own children. I’ll admit the first 2 years at the new site were rough, but this year I thought it was really smooth. Yes, I agree it can get expensive, but what fair isn’t? Even Grayslake Days will cost you a few bucks. We went on the $10 Tues, got the $15 wristbands for the kids and let them ride all they wanted. We arrived about 12noon and were parked in the free parking in Row D…so pretty close. We left at 4:30 for an appt and returned at 6pm and got parking in Row J, still not too bad. The lines to get tickets and get in went really fast, food service was fast. Lots of spots to sit and eat, and I like that the new grounds are all sidewalks and not dirt ground like the old fair. I remember how filthy the kids were after a day at the old fair. I also remember at the old grounds, you would have to sit in cramp picnic tables behind vendors where all the heat and bugs were. The bathrooms were clean and no wait (and if are a girl, you know what this means.) We loved the new Banana Derby, very cute and as usual loved to see the animals. I did notice this year, that there were not as many animals so that was the only bummer. We did not go to many of the vendors so I can’t comment on the political or religious pushing. All in all, we spent about 8 hours at the fair and had a great time. I give a thumbs up to the new grounds and will be back again next year.
Jim Marshall August 20, 2011 at 04:08 PM
I have gone to the fair since I moved to the area in 1988. Although I liked the old setting. Did they need to make the move, in my opinion, no, but they did and there is nothing we can do about it, Plus, change can be good. As for this year, my daughters, nieces and I had a great time once again. The $15.00 wrist bands were awesome. The food was great. We ate Elephant Ears, ice cream, awesome corn-on-the-cob from the Knights of Columbus, BBQ rib tips, drank lemonade and root beer...oh man, and a gob more. It was awesome and fun. We walked the entire fairgrounds, saw every entry and road every ride. Yep, we got tired, yep, it was hot, but it's summer time in the Midwest. Good family times! No county fair is perfect. But the one we have isn't so awful that people shouldn't go at all. If folks don't want to go, then stay home and be quiet about the fair. If you want to see it change, become a member of the LCFA and do something positive to make the fair better. One thing the LCFA does need to get a handle on is the debt they have amassed.
Jim Marshall August 20, 2011 at 04:10 PM
Oh, and one more thing, I thought the people working the fair were super nice and did a great job.
Jim Marshall August 20, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Tim, you could have drove up and dropped your older family menbers off near the gate and let the young ones out with them and wait while you go park the car. I have done that and have even been lucky enough to find and open space up front left by someone who left early. One way to combat, "people in the exhibits pushing their agendas on peoples' kids constantly as they walk by", teach your kids to do as adults should do and smile, nod your head and keep moving. Works every time.
Sven Johannsen August 20, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Interesting comment, Jim. If folks don't like the fair, "then stay home and be quiet about the fair"? Nice attitude.
Jim Marshall August 20, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Yes Sven, yes it is. I can say it because I go to the fair. Unlike you, I am not "jaded" about the fair. I don't depend on the opinions of others to base my comments about the fair. I actually go to the fair Sven. I also pay attention to what is going on with the LCFA. If you don't go to the fair why do you think it is fair for you to knock what they are doing? You do realize that your negative comments, not based on current events by the way have the potential to keep others from going to the fair and limit the ability of the LCFA to make an income and pay down the debt they have, right? You shouldn't just bash the fair because the LCFA has moved on and you haven't.
Sven Johannsen August 22, 2011 at 01:33 AM
Jim, please re-read what I posted. It was an accurate recitation of what other told me after attending. Never did I claim to have attended, nor did I claim that the comments were based upon my own observations. As for jaded, I believe you are wrong, my friend.
Kurt M Aspen August 01, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Had a great time at the fair as we always have but the demo derbies are probably the worst run I have ever seen. The track crew is the pits and the rent-a-cops are useless!!. People would stand along the fence blocking the view of the people in the stands and th security staff just stood there, if you complained they gave you a hard time and threatened to throw you out. We loved the activities and the livestock, keep up the great work!

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