The Lake County Fair

Megan Hoberg - September 6, 2016

I was raised in a suburb of Dallas, Texas and grew up attending the Texas State Fair.  We had Big Tex (a 55’statue) to greet us, all the fried food you could ever imagine, and one of the local news stations would conduct their entire newscast from the fairgrounds every evening.  The Texas State Fair was quite a production and absolutely nothing like the Lake County Fair.  The Lake County Fair is the epitome of small town life.  Your neighbors enter their favorite desserts in the baking contests, your sister’s artwork is displayed with a blue ribbon next to it, and your grandma has a quilt hanging proudly for the entire county to view.  The fair is held every Labor Day weekend and I can’t imagine a better way to mark the unofficial end of summer.  Here are a few of my favorite things about the Lake County Fair. 

1.  The Main Pavilion

The main pavilion houses the ribbon winners of the produce, baked goods, canned goods,  and much more.  Apparently you are not supposed to take samples of said goods. The fair officials encourage you to purchase food at one of the many stands outside of the pavilion. Live and learn.  

2.  The Food

Since you can’t sample any of the award winning goods, I’d highly encourage you to check out some of the food stands scattered throughout the grounds.  You can find the traditional fair foods like corn dogs and funnel cakes, but you can also find local eateries with delicious treats to enjoy.  Cheese’s Pizza, Cactus Grill, and Drinx Bar & Grill had booths set up this year. 

3. The Livestock

The Livestock Auction is one of the biggest events at the fair each year.  Lake County youth spend months raising anything from chickens to cows and proudly show them off as locals place bids on these award-winning animals. 

4. The Quilts

I’m always truly amazed at the intricate details of the quilts that are displayed at the fair.  I can’t sew a button onto a shirt, so I find the art of quilt making truly impressive.  

5. The Horticulture Pavilion

I’m equally in awe of the living works of art in the Horticulture Pavilion.   They feature floral arrangements, single stems, succulents, and several other displays that look and smell amazing. 

6. The Midway

The midway has the ability to make anyone feel like a kid again.  The lights, the sounds, and the same rides that were around when you actually were a child, can transport you to a time of innocence.  I watched my friend (in his mid-thirties) spend 20 minutes trying to win a goldfish.  Tip: for a small additional fee, you can have a fish regardless of your ability to get the ping pong ball in the tiny fish bowl.  

7.  The Boat Races

Oh, the boat races!  These are a bit difficult to explain to someone that has never witnessed the magic, but it is my favorite thing about the fair.  It consists of several cars, trucks, and station wagons with boats hitched to their vehicles.  They drive around a wet track and try their best to survive, while also destroying the vehicles of their competitors.  In order to “win” you must still have a boat attached to your car at the end.  A round of applause from the audience declares the winner.  The next boat race is October 8th.  Don’t miss it!

It’s always bittersweet to see the fair pack up and leave.  It means that school has started, harvest is in full swing, and everyone is settling into their fall time routines. Be sure you mark your calendar for August 31st-September 1st 2017 when the Lake County Fair rolls back into town. 

Luckily, we have the Kelseyville Pear Festival to look forward to on September 24th.  It’s another Lake County favorite of mine.  Lake County wine will be front and center at the Pear Festival this year.  The all new Wine Pavilion will feature wines poured by Fults Family Vineyards, KAZ Winery, Langtry/Guenoc, Laujor Estate, Obsidian Ridge, Olof Cellars, Stonehouse Cellars, and Shannon Ridge.  Enjoy a tasting, a glass of wine, or the “Flight and a Bite” wine and food “pearing” created by Chef Julie Hoskins of Chic le Chef.  And don’t forget to stop in the tasting rooms along Main Street for special Pear Festival treats.

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