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  • Lake County Fair

    Post #1 - July 26th, 2004, 10:46 pm
    Post #1 - July 26th, 2004, 10:46 pm Post #1 - July 26th, 2004, 10:46 pm
    Lake County Fair, 2004

    Lake County Fair will begin tomorrow lasting until Sunday. (July 27-August 1, 2004)

    In the last 30 years, Lake County has gone from 90% AG:10% Urban to 90% Urban and 10% AG. Yet, the Lake County Fair remains as committed as can be to providing as much AG as possible, even if it means allowing those from Wisconsin or other Illinois counties to compete.

    I do volunteer management for the 4-H - Lake County Extension Foundation annual soda pop fundraiser. I will be there every evening this week and all weekend. IF you come to the Fair, then please do buy your pop, water and Gatorade from the 4-H kids. If you stop by the 4-H building, please do ask for Cathy from Pop and they can roughly tell you where I may be. If you get the wrong person, you may get the 'Deer in the headlights' look ... what can I tell you!

    If you come during the day through Saturday, there are horse competitions and animal judging. Saturday afternoon is the livestock auction. This is no innocent event. 4-H kids actively recruit people to bid up their animals. People pay beyond market cost for the bragging privileges. The pet pig this week will be the roast pig at St. Mary's annual pig roast on August 8th (details to be provided). Sunday is the day the pet pigs revert to just being a commodity. It is supposed to be quite tearful when the animals get lead away on Sunday. (I also have problems getting volunteers during this time because of the expected emotions)

    In the 4-H building, we have chicks hatching and running around. There is a food wheel contest, which I competed on a few years ago. They asked to name three kinds of rice, I answered Jasmine, Basmatti and Arborio. They stood there slack-jawed, the answers they were looking for was white, brown and wild. As always, I provide just a bit more information than required. There are quite a few projects for review. Though I didn't this year, I usually participate in judging food projects specializing in preserved foods.

    Ten years ago, after getting Grand champion ribbons on my pies for three consecutive years, I got Best of Show for my apple pies. Having hit the top in only three years, I retired. After all this pie discussion with MikeG, I started making pies regularly to get in the swing again. My idea was to compete in the Fair this year, except I didn't submit my entry in time. Next year! I will submit and see what flies! But I will carefully check out the competition this year to see how things have evolved. I am considering driving down to the IL State Fair for the same evaluation. State Fair also conducts a live cooking competition, which I will shoot for next year. I think I want a few more ribbons for my bedroom decor.

    Thumbnail sketch of activities:

    Monster Truck: Tues-Weds
    Motocross: Tues-Thurs
    Mud Bog Races (?): Fri
    Tractor Pulls: Sat-Sun
    Rodeo: Fri-Sat
    Demolition Derby: Thurs - all day Sunday

    Beauty contests and talent shows.
    Carnival rides

    Food: I saw Hillery's BBQ from North Chicago and Waukegan. I will get at least an Elephant Ear. Last year, they had a mini donut guy. I really have been concentrating on my job there, so I will report more as I explore more. Though my usual position on these events is to eat before I arrive.

    I do hope you can make it to the Fair. A lot of us put in a lot of time to make the experience memorable.
    Last edited by Cathy2 on August 8th, 2005, 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - July 27th, 2004, 12:09 am
    Post #2 - July 27th, 2004, 12:09 am Post #2 - July 27th, 2004, 12:09 am
    We have done all the county fairs over the past four summers - DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Washington (WI) and the Rock 4-H fairs.

    I think that we will probably pass on all of the fairs this year, except for the Boone County Fair which along with the Rock 4-H fair seem to be the only ones that provide enough entertainment value to justify the admission fees.

    You have an unenviable position in promoting the county fairs in the collar counties. If you try to make it an agricultural fair, the suburbanites refuse to show up in droves and you have low attendance. If you try to go too urban, the few farmers left decide to quit. I know that a lot of the McHenry Co. farmers are heading over to Boone Co. after the county fair officials approved the beer garden tent in Woodstock.

    Right now, our fair schedule looks like this:

    July 30th - Rock Co. 4-H Fair, Janesville, WI
    Aug 12th - Boone Co. Fair, Belvidere
    Aug 15th - WI State Fair - would pass but bought the tickets in March.
    Aug 28th - Mennonite Relief Sale, Arthur, IL

    We had hoped to make more fairs this year, especially the IL State Fair but we have had too many other opportunties arise in the past few weeks.
  • Post #3 - July 27th, 2004, 6:04 am
    Post #3 - July 27th, 2004, 6:04 am Post #3 - July 27th, 2004, 6:04 am
    You have an unenviable position in promoting the county fairs in the collar counties. If you try to make it an agricultural fair, the suburbanites refuse to show up in droves and you have low attendance. If you try to go too urban, the few farmers left decide to quit.


    Lake County Fair has quite a balancing act between playing up th AG and attracting non-AG parties. Most of my direct neighbors never go to the Fair, likewise most don't go to Chicago for recreation either. I can advise non-AG events like the Demolition Derby and MotoCross pull in a fan base unrelated to whatever the Fair may be.

    Last year there was a drop in Demo-Derby participants because the big 70's cars are getting rare and expensive. They modified the rules this year for cars no older than 1978 can compete. They tried pick-up truck Demo Derby a few years ago but hardly any competitors showed up. A beat up pick-up stick has economic value. I actually enjoy a few rounds of Demo Derby because once those cars were somebody's pride and joy. I spend so much time carefully avoiding touching cars, it's fun to see cars knocked around head on in a controlled environment.

    I know that a lot of the McHenry Co. farmers are heading over to Boone Co. after the county fair officials approved the beer garden tent in Woodstock.


    Last year was the first year McHenry had the beer tent. It was bottom of the fold front page news in the Chicago Tribune. Lake County Fair is an alcohol-free zone and from talking to board members they intend to keep it that way.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - July 27th, 2004, 8:37 am
    Post #4 - July 27th, 2004, 8:37 am Post #4 - July 27th, 2004, 8:37 am
    Unless you have a nuclear strike or a mass murder in McHenry Co., you seldom hear about it in the Chicago Tribune. Even in the McHenry Co. section, most of the news is from Lake Co. That is why people are migrating to the Nortwest Herald en masse where the news is only a day (or two) late.

    I am afraid that even I am tired of some of these fairs. So many of the same lousy commercial booths, all the carny booths, the medocre food (other than the non-profit booths), etc.
  • Post #5 - July 28th, 2004, 8:10 am
    Post #5 - July 28th, 2004, 8:10 am Post #5 - July 28th, 2004, 8:10 am
    HI,

    Stuff you won't find on the program or at least learn about too late!

    1. Friday evening at 6 PM at the south end horse rink: '4-H Battle of the Barns' - 4-H kids compete in running water, moving bales of hay and a bunch of farm skill related things. Last year, a considerable amount ended up in mud doing something like a tug of war. This is something where it is fun to watch someone else have fun.

    2. Friday night is a new event, Mud Bog Races at the south end. All I know is someone compared this to the Blue Man Group, except there is mud and vehicles involved. Now how does this related to Blue Man? Well, if you sit in the lower bleachers, you will get mud tossed on you and it is messy. I will sacrifice my clothing to check this out, so I will know better for the future.

    3. Yesterday, two sows (pig mom) gave birth to 3 and 13 piglettes with a large and interested crowd observing. There are two other sows who are expected to give birth any moment. In the timing is everything department: the sows were supposed to give birth for each day of the Fair. Oh well!
    Also learned the gestation period of a sheep: 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.
    In the 4-H building, there is a large tank of baby chicks. They also have eggs in incubators who are scheduled to break free during the Fair. Monday night the chicks wouldn't settle down and were still running wildly around when I left. Last night at 11 PM, they were all huddled in a mass of fuzz asleep.

    4. Budweiser Clydesdales will be parading Friday-Sunday. If you come, you have to check out their riggings, their housing, their trailers because these horses are granted star treatment. I will find out what time they strut their stuff and advise.

    5. MotoCross last night began with the National Anthem. The singer was a volunteer from the audience. It was very well done with all words present, better than some I have observed on tv.

    Last night for dinner I had an Italian Beef from Sammies, a Grayslake institution on 120, on the north end. I asked for gardinera and was advised I could dress it myself. I didn't see any, but they had a heated container of sweet peppers and onions which I served myself the quantity I really want: too much! I liked what I ate, but I have no experience to even begin to qualify the taste to anyone's satisfaction.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - July 30th, 2004, 11:56 am
    Post #6 - July 30th, 2004, 11:56 am Post #6 - July 30th, 2004, 11:56 am
    HI,

    Just a few more Fair notes:

    1. Budweiser Clydesdales are parading Friday night at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 1:15 PM and Sunday at 12:30 PM

    2. None of the eggs in the 4-H building have hatched. I keep looking for babies and none can be found. Only guess they were not fertile. If you do drop in, then take the chicken husbandry test. I did it last night and won a 4-H t-shirt with a chick fresh out of the egg motif.

    Wednesday night, I had rib tips from Hillery's, which has a Carolina vinegar based sauce. I order the large which came with two slices of wonder bread. I wouldn't always call food served at the Fair as representative of what you can get at their take out places in Waukegan and North Chicago, but this year they seem more on target.

    Thursday night, I dined on a gyro's with extra sauce and onions. My favored station is near the Culinary Arts building. You cannot mistake my gyro's place from any other gyro's place on the fair grounds, my favored one has scripture quoted all over the interior. It's clean, the people are nice and your meat is fresh cut off the cone.

    There are two roasted corn venues, but neither roasts their corn enough for me. I want my corn to be really roasted with scorched kernels, not the wimpy stuff which barely tastes like fire touched it. There is one Elotes vendor, who is actually making efforts to educate by providing samples. I did try the sample, which was the mayo and parmesean cheese - no squeeze margarine or chili peppers, unless you ask for it.

    One vendor is selling catfish and walleye platters for $8, which sounds like dinner tonight. I did buy their hush puppies at 6 for a $1. Eating just hush puppies was not as much fun as I had hoped, they really need their buddies the breaded fish, some slaw and sauce to keep them company.

    I also found a vendor selling a buffalo burger cheaper than a cheese burger. I will have to talk to them to see what they do to keep it from being dry.

    Those ice cream dot things are there. Also the nitrogen-chilled ice cream vendor is in the commercial buildings. I just cannot get too excited about super cold ice cream. We have been slowly eating an ice cream cake at my house. I cut a rock hard slice, then let it sit around 15-30 minutes before I come back to eat it. If it is too cold, I cannot taste the flavor. So I assume the same for the nitrogen cooled ice cream, but there I have no kitchen table to let it rest while it warms up.

    Auction is Saturday, THE event for all the farmers. I heard they have cattle for auction who originated in Ohio, INdiana and Iowa because of the funds fetched at auction. If you are a registered bidder, you get free water ... like it matters!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - August 3rd, 2004, 8:48 pm
    Post #7 - August 3rd, 2004, 8:48 pm Post #7 - August 3rd, 2004, 8:48 pm
    Thanks Cathy for the info, my boys and I had a lot of fun, with photos to come. Support 4-H!
  • Post #8 - August 3rd, 2004, 10:25 pm
    Post #8 - August 3rd, 2004, 10:25 pm Post #8 - August 3rd, 2004, 10:25 pm
    Hi,

    Saturday and Sunday were great days to run a pop sale. Especially Sunday when demolition derby fans insisted on keeping their seats during a 3 hour lull. We sold water, pop and Gatorade like there was no tomorrow. And ran out of everything before the grand finale!

    I got to test out a new career path: vendor at a major sports arena. Ok, I exagerate a small bit. In between heats, I grabbed a few kids to carry trays of water, a wad of cash and hit the stands. We sold a number of cases just walking across one set of stands.

    Last year, the career path I tested out was carnival barker. I could shout out, joke with people and have my voice intact at the end of the day. I projected rather than strained my vocal cords. And don't walk by with a Mohawk hairstyle and expect to escape comment ... my nieces would dive under the counter to avoid being associated with me.

    I came mid-afternoon Saturday when I learned ErikM intended to stop by. I had lost track of time, which caused me to be later than expected. I had Erik wait for me at the auction. Unfortunately, he must have been there for the 'warm up act' auctions because he wasn't very excited. After he left, I went back to the auction where they were selling 4-H as well as open class pigs. What excitment (and free water)!

    When these pigs are being auctioned, the owner walks along prodding the pig along with a leather clapper which makes a loud snapping noise. I gathered it was the noise more than then potential pain, which kept the pig marching. The smaller and cuter the kid, the more money they seemed to get. Some older kids also walked their pigs ribbons and trophys along side so you knew always you were getting pedigree. The auction is conducted around them while the owner has a feigned bored look, but must be jumping inside with glee.

      - One 4-H child around 7 years old, sold her pig for $12.25 per pound. Her Mother, who is a 4-H leader, sold her pig in open class for a mere $2 per pound.
      - One lady offering her pig in open class received a marriage proposal. Her fiance's parents bought her pig for a mere $25 per pound.
      - Another pig was purchased for $41.25 per pound or approximately $10,500. I learned the back channel story on this one. The farm the pig was raised is owned by a major hotel chain family, who rent it out to the people who raised the pig. The pig was purchased by the major hotel chain. Like everything else in life, it is who you know.
      - I learned by the end of the auction, when buyer fatigue had set in, pigs sold for $0.89 per pound.
      - Pigs were not the exclusive area of exciteable bidding. Sheep sold for $6 per pound. A ("damn") goat sold for $600. Steers, which apparently Erik witnessed, went for $1-$2 per pound, which apparently is good money..

    On Sunday morning, I went over to the cafeteria to eat my breakfast of champions: hash browns with lots of cracked pepper, two Sunnyside up eggs, grilled ham and rye toast. At the next table were a clutch of farmers I know, so I planted myself within easy listening distance. Cluck, cluck, cluck ... they were loudly evaluating who did and did not buy at the auction this year, then openly speculating why. Cursing the other bidders who interfered with their purchase goals. Counting out how many pigs went to St. Mary's (see event board), Mundelein High School pig roast and other local events and pantries. Just over my head was the roster of bidders from last year, so I had to keep my eyes down to avoid their recognizing how interested I was in their gossip. Unfortunately, my phone went off. I had to reluctantly leave to deal with volunteer issues.

    In the animal baby department, I can confirm the eggs never did hatch, which embarassed the poor lady who spent the last month brooding over these imposters. The four pregnant pigs all gave birth during Fair week, which really impressed everyone including the breeders. You can plan but after a while it is nature taking its course which is not always very cooperative. I know the family who brought the pigs. They joked they brought 4 pigs to the Fair, but they were taking 40 pigs home.

    When Erik was around, I did drag him over to the Nitrogen-cooled ice cream vendor. We lucked out because the guy was loading fresh ice cream mix into the machine. We learned there is no churning because the ice cream freezes instantly upon contact with the Nitrogen. They gave us each a sample from the freezer case which was ok. After realizing we were really interested in the process, they gave us a sample directly from the Nitrogen chiller. The ice cream on our spoons had just frozen on contact. It was like lumpy, frozen cheez whiz from the can which had frozen in lumpy squiggles. We got a good laugh from the experience though we didn't buy a full serving.

    The meals I ate the last two days, except for my terrific breakfasts, were more fueled by curiosity. Chicken teriyaki and vegetable tempura, as bad as it looked I had to try, so it was no surprise it tasted as bad as it looked. My walleye dinner was good but the beans and hushpuppies were cold. I should have stuck with my tried and trues: Hillery's ribs, Sammies for steak burgers and my holy roller gyros vendors.

    Will I do this next year? Yep. I wanted to hang up my pop queen crown, which is featured on my Christmas tree, but I cannot leave it just yet. I have a few more ideas to try. Plus my nieces simply cannot accept Summer without our devotion to the Lake County Fair and 4-H.

    What I will do differently next year? I will get my pies back into the open class competition.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - August 3rd, 2004, 11:17 pm
    Post #9 - August 3rd, 2004, 11:17 pm Post #9 - August 3rd, 2004, 11:17 pm
    We were at the Rock County 4-H Fair in Janesville on Saturday. What a scorcher!

    He attended the goat sales. The grand champion milker went for a disappointing $300 with most prize goats going for $200.

    Having attended many auctions in Ohio and Illinois, I find that people always bid the prize animals up. People in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania tend to always ne looking for bargains. In my past job, I was given about $3-4k per year to purchase animals. We would buy the animals (mostly raised by the children of our employees, and then donate the animals to the local food bank.

    They had the usual fair food. Three disserent types of fried cheese curds from three different vendors. The dairy booth had some pretty good fried cheese. One of the churches served a wicked chocolate malted and the Optomists served up some homemage potato chips that were great.

    On the way back home, I stopped at the Woodmans #1 in Janesville, the flagship store. As I have said repeatedly, Woodman's sources from many local Wisconsin bakeries, I was surprised to see how many small bakeries supply to Woodman's including many organic products. Maybe that will make it down to Carpenterville.

    Also, tried to stop at the MacFarland Pheasant Farm which is located at the intersection of US-51 and WI-11 but they are closed on weekends. I also tried to stop at Sorg's Packing in Darien but they close at 4pm on Saturday.
  • Post #10 - August 4th, 2004, 8:48 am
    Post #10 - August 4th, 2004, 8:48 am Post #10 - August 4th, 2004, 8:48 am
    Went to the Lake County Fair Sat with our kids and the neighbor's kids. They are at the age where all they want to do is go on rides. With 4 kids we found it was easy to spend money at the rate of $100 per hour on the rides. Saw the pigs & piglets, goats and horses before the kids wanted to go on more (overpriced) rides. Left after the kids tapped us out.
  • Post #11 - August 5th, 2004, 10:30 am
    Post #11 - August 5th, 2004, 10:30 am Post #11 - August 5th, 2004, 10:30 am
    Here's some pics from the fair, again, had a great time and thanks for all the heads-up, Cathy. All your food groups covered:

    Image

    Somewhat interested in baby chicks:

    Image

    Very interested in baby pigs, he practically climbed right in:

    Image

    "Let's do that again!"

    Image
  • Post #12 - August 6th, 2004, 8:46 pm
    Post #12 - August 6th, 2004, 8:46 pm Post #12 - August 6th, 2004, 8:46 pm
    HI,

    I remembered something today I forgot to comment on: corn dogs. At the Lake County Fair, there was a food vendor dipping his corn dogs into the corn meal mixture, then frying them. These came in 6 and 12 inch sizes. I saw, I planned to have them and then forgot in the heavy wave of activity on Sunday. I did have the 12 inch last year with a napkin filled with mustard to dunk my dog in.

    For our area, a fresh made corn dog is simply not available. Even Hot Doug's does not offer fresh dip corn dogs.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - May 8th, 2005, 10:37 pm
    Post #13 - May 8th, 2005, 10:37 pm Post #13 - May 8th, 2005, 10:37 pm
    Lake County Fair 2005

    Hi,

    If you have ever considered entering a pie, cake or pig to a County Fair, well the time has come to put your efforts forth, the online Premium Book has just been posted. The premium book has instructions for every competition, including demolition derby, during the Fair.

    Department 24 is Culinary Arts, though look at the bottom of the 2nd column where there are specialized food competitions:

    Hidden Valley Ranch Contest
    Pork Dinner Contest
    Ghirardelli Chocolate Contest
    KC Masterpeice Contest

    The Daily Schedule is here to plan your time if you do these things way, way in advance.

    If and when you do come to the Fair, then please buy your Gatorade, Pop and Water from 4-H, which I am working with. So on this I am absolutely biased! :)

    Regards,
    Last edited by Cathy2 on August 8th, 2005, 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #14 - July 27th, 2005, 10:01 pm
    Post #14 - July 27th, 2005, 10:01 pm Post #14 - July 27th, 2005, 10:01 pm
    Rain at outdoor events is simply not welcome. Tuesday night it was pouring when I arrived to the Lake County Fair. Motocross was cancelled, the beauty pageant moved to a local high school, yet the Monster Truck carried on. As long as there are activities, then the 4-H soda pop booths are open to serve. Once volunteers were reshuffled and in place, I was free to explore the food options.

    My first goal was to find the fresh made corn dog booth, which was on the south end in the vicinity of the floriculture building.

    Image

    Image

    While I was taking pictures of the hot dogs under the warming lights, Jean Squires played hand model to better show her goods. I modestly inquired if my photographing the corn dogs was all right. She advised the rarity of freshly made corndogs causes lots of people to pull out their cameras. I requested if she would be so kind to make a corndog from scratch so I could follow the process, which she agreed.

    Image

    First things first, I inquired if she used a skinless or encased hot dog, which seemed to throw her off. I answered my own question by looking at the naked hot dog: skinless. From reading here and there of the dispute when corndogs were invented, there is a camp from Texas and another in Portland, Oregon, did they use either for their corn dog mixture? The Squires have a proprietary corn meal mixture assembled by a bakery to their recipe.

    Image

    The corn dogs are fried in a vegetable oil mixture. Due to the rain, there was light attendance and few customers. They only heated one deep fat fryer since it accomodated both the short and long corn dogs. The idle fryer on the right handles only the short corn dogs.

    Image

    The Squires is a family enterprise with various family members at county fairs in the region. For the last two years, they have been offering a unique new food at the Cranberry Festival in Warren, Wisconsin: they string cranberries a skewer, dip it in a sweetened version of their corn dog mixture, fry it and roll it in cinnamon sugar. At some festivals they offer turtle ears: take an elephant ear (fried dough), fold it in half, on one half spread hot caramel, hot fudge and sprinkle with pecans.

    Image

    If it were not for the rain, I am certain Jean would have spent scant time explaining her operations due to a pressing need to service customers. Tonight when customers were few and far between, she had the luxury to accommodate a curious stranger. What condiments does the corn dog lady favor? Mustard! The corn dog fresh from the grease tasted wonderful with every bite a smidge of mustard.

    I read the Fair schedule to find there was a Culinary Cooking Challenge at 7 PM, which due to rain was in the Culinary Arts Building. This event was actually a series of three trivia contests sponsored by the Pork Council, K.C. Masterpiece and Ghirardelli Chocolates. The Pork Council had by far the most difficult questions and yet had prizes available for anyone willing to answer a question. I received an apron, “Not a blah cook. The Other White Meat. Don’t be blah.” I answered several questions correctly to earn my apron, others had to do it once. I’m not complaining as I wanted an apron and got it! K.C. Masterpiece trivia questions were rewarded with gift certificates for free bottles of sauce. I won three bottles, which was 2 more than anyone else. Ghirardelli had a point system and whoever answered the most questions received one of only two blue aprons. I won an apron.

    I want you to know I didn’t act like the 2000 pound Gorilla overwhelming these trivia contests. The questions were really not too easy and required some unusual knowledge, so I was comfortable letting people guess and once they’d run down without a correct answer, then I’d throw in my two cents. For example, when was the pig introduced to the Americas? Everyone guessed dates around 1492 or shortly thereafter. I held back and suggested 1510. I don’t recall the precise answer, but I was off by 15 years making me the closest guess. What was another function of cocoa besides a drink? My first thought was medicine, which someone else guessed and was declined. Once everyone else threw in a guess without success, then I offered my second estimate: as barter or currency, which was correct. What is the origin of the name barbecue? Many wild guesses, then I suggested it came from the Spanish word barbacoa, which was correct. There were several questions which answers were not forthcoming: what do you call someone who herds pigs? I heard it and immediately forgot, it began with a D and was from 18th century, how is that for obscure?

    Despite the rain, I had one terrific evening at the Fair.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #15 - July 28th, 2005, 6:46 pm
    Post #15 - July 28th, 2005, 6:46 pm Post #15 - July 28th, 2005, 6:46 pm
    I took my 5 year old twin daughters to the Lake County fair yesterday, and the weather was perfect. They enjoyed their first real corn dog there, also from Squires. It was not dipped fresh, but had clearly been made recently, and we all liked it. It seemed that some of the more generic food booths were also making their corn dogs fresh on-site. At one of them, we ordered the fried american cheese (the daughters request) which they pulled from the fridge, dipped in the corn dog batter, and fried fresh. Also a big hit. The Hillary's Bbq trailer was moved to an out of the way location by the horse area due to complaints from the arts and crafts ladies concerning the smoke. Once I found it, I was disappointed by the oversauced, too fatty pork shoulder (I am not usually one to complain about fat, but there were large chunks of meatless fat, not well oiled meat.) Overall, A fine summer day. Plus, I finally figured out where Bills pizza and Pub was, although they dont sell pizza by the slice, and I was not really hankering for a whole pie at 4 pm after the healthy fair fare.
    -Will
  • Post #16 - July 31st, 2005, 7:51 am
    Post #16 - July 31st, 2005, 7:51 am Post #16 - July 31st, 2005, 7:51 am
    Hi,

    For those entertaining the idea of coming out Sunday, at the 'Theme Area' (I don't know where it is), they have:
    1 PM: Pie Eating Contest
    2 PM: Kitchen Klangers Band
    4 PM: Egg Toss
    5 PM: Family relay races
    6 PM: Yo-Yo Man --- if this is who I think it is, this guy is an Olympian of yo-yo. He conducts childrens programs at local libraries whose free tickets are snatched up fast.
    7 PM: Water Carrying Contest

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #17 - July 31st, 2005, 8:11 am
    Post #17 - July 31st, 2005, 8:11 am Post #17 - July 31st, 2005, 8:11 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    6 PM: Yo-Yo Man --- if this is who I think it is, this guy is an Olympian of yo-yo. He conducts childrens programs at local libraries whose free tickets are snatched up fast.


    I thought the Yo Yo man was Tommy Smothers. :? (Or am I just too old?)
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #18 - July 31st, 2005, 8:17 am
    Post #18 - July 31st, 2005, 8:17 am Post #18 - July 31st, 2005, 8:17 am
    Hi,

    Another generation (prior and since) looks to the Duncan yo-yo man ... you're just in a 60's time warp (said oh so respectfully!)

    I have an obligation at 1 PM, if there is any possibilityto check out the pie eating contest, I will be there at least for the visuals!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #19 - July 31st, 2005, 9:40 am
    Post #19 - July 31st, 2005, 9:40 am Post #19 - July 31st, 2005, 9:40 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Another generation (prior and since) looks to the Duncan yo-yo man ... you're just in a 60's time warp (said oh so respectfully!)


    I've been accused of worse....often.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - July 31st, 2005, 10:52 am
    Post #20 - July 31st, 2005, 10:52 am Post #20 - July 31st, 2005, 10:52 am
    WillG wrote:I took my 5 year old twin daughters to the Lake County fair yesterday, and the weather was perfect. They enjoyed their first real corn dog there, also from Squires. It was not dipped fresh, but had clearly been made recently, and we all liked it. It seemed that some of the more generic food booths were also making their corn dogs fresh on-site. At one of them, we ordered the fried american cheese (the daughters request) which they pulled from the fridge, dipped in the corn dog batter, and fried fresh. Also a big hit. The Hillary's Bbq trailer was moved to an out of the way location by the horse area due to complaints from the arts and crafts ladies concerning the smoke. Once I found it, I was disappointed by the oversauced, too fatty pork shoulder (I am not usually one to complain about fat, but there were large chunks of meatless fat, not well oiled meat.) Overall, A fine summer day. Plus, I finally figured out where Bills pizza and Pub was, although they dont sell pizza by the slice, and I was not really hankering for a whole pie at 4 pm after the healthy fair fare.
    -Will


    We spent the day at the County Fair yesterday, and it was highly worthwhile. It really was everything a county fair should be: gross but tasty food; alluring but shameless games; metal rides that creaked and screatched enough to make me feel quite unsafe, cheesey entertainment (even if we left too early for the tractor pulls), and enough beef, cow, swine, turkey and prized bantam cock to justify the admission price. I was especially warmed by the auction where people (and companies) purchased whole animals to be donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. A processor in Lake Geneva even offered to do the dirty work for free when the animals would be offered to charity.

    Foodwise, we had some stuff from a stand that offered Lake County fare at the fair including local grown corn. It was nicely not so sweet. We also tried some smoked sirloin that lost a lot of its bar-b-q-ness by sitting in an au jus bath. Candy apples, however, totally hit the spot. Hilary's mentioned above, I spied that there was no hickory, not even hard wood charcoal in the pit, and that kinda turned me off.

    We met up with Cathy2 at the culinary arts shed. It was interesting in some ways, seeing all the prize winners, but way too frustrating as all the stuff was there just to look at, nothing to try. As C2 notes, at the end of the fair, the stuff is all garbage.

    Do go.

    Rob
    Last edited by Vital Information on July 28th, 2006, 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #21 - July 31st, 2005, 9:08 pm
    Post #21 - July 31st, 2005, 9:08 pm Post #21 - July 31st, 2005, 9:08 pm
    We spent the day at the County Fair yesterday


    So did we, too bad we missed you!

    Image

    We actually went fairly early and by wandering aimlessly from the parking lot inadvertently snuck in-- only fair (no pun intended) since the rides weren't even operating for another hour. Gave us plenty of time to look over the exhibits though, and to spend enough money to atone for the accidental entry. The boys like seeing crafts other kids have made, and Myles was quite indignant that a painted chair with a dinosaur on it (which was very nicely done) only got a 7th place when it was way better than some of the others in its category. Because it had a dinosaur on it.

    Image

    As he's been reading the Freddy the Pig books, we had a particular interest in livestock this year. And we passed the time eating two footlong corn dogs while waiting for the rides to get going*. (The corn dog lady pictured above in Cathy's post was pleased to hear that the photos were indeed online as promised.) Then we tried Anderson's ice cream (pretty good) and chocolates (very good) before rolling ourselves home. All in all, classic American fun during our second annual visit.

    * Though when we approached the giant slide we were told it wasn't working. Unless it's horizontal, how the hell can a giant slide FAIL to work?
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  • Post #22 - August 2nd, 2005, 8:17 am
    Post #22 - August 2nd, 2005, 8:17 am Post #22 - August 2nd, 2005, 8:17 am
    Three questions about corn dogs.
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  • Post #23 - August 8th, 2005, 10:40 pm
    Post #23 - August 8th, 2005, 10:40 pm Post #23 - August 8th, 2005, 10:40 pm
    Lake County Fair 2005

    When I was a kid, I always loved going to the commercial building to collect lots of colorful pamphlets, which were never read, and marvel at the Vitamaster demonstrations. I was especially impressed by their vegetable drink which not only had a raw egg, it had the shells as well! Today the raw egg and shell trick would send the audience gagging, though in our innocence it was quite impressive how smooth and tasty the resulting healthy drink.

    This year I sat in on the West Bend waterless healthy pots and pans demonstration. I took a front row seat with twice as many raffle tickets than any in the subsequent rows. Once I sat down I was given a complimentary paring knife with a 5-year guarantee and a bowl of live-long healthy salad. Glancing below the stage I read the prosaic words of West Bend, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” I settled in for my favorite game of television infomercials, “How much will this cost?”

    Image

    The guide through this tour de force de pots and pans found me to bit of a thorn in her side. She was a hyper healthy Becky Home-Ecky dietician type who would find any diet deviance from hers to be repulsive. She was cooking a skinless chicken breast while describing how creeped out she was by fat. Clogs your arteries, drives up your cholesterol and, I interjected, where all the taste resides. She had a masterful technique of seemingly agreeing with me and simultaneous slamming my thought to the ground and mashing it; it was quite impressive. I wished I was able to stay to the end to learn how many easy payments I could make before I realized I just spent a mint on something I didn’t really need.

    Image

    I learned Saturday’s auction of prize pigs, cattle, goats and other farm animals carried on for over 4 hours. The highest auction value was $14 a pound for a pig down from $41 last year, which was exceptional by everyone’s experience. When you consider market price is maybe $1 a pound for a pig, this gives you an idea of the exaggerated egos on display at the auction. If the animals did not go home, then they were sent to a processor. Animals destined for charity were processed free.

    I’ve been told by all the 4-H leaders whose groups raise animals that Sunday afternoon is very tough on the kids. Especially for the younger, inexperienced children whose animal has been named, doted on and loved to find it returning to commodity status as it is auctioned and hauled away. One older 4-H animal tender after her first close experience of the animal kind stopped getting emotionally involved and treated her animals like any other on the farm. For many it is quite tearful in the animal barns as the kids care for their animals for the last time.

    Image
    Image

    A few years ago, I saw some of the kids walking their pigs like any urban cowboy would walk their dog. There was quite a bit of flirting and checking out the other owners as much as praising each others prized pigs.

    Last year, Mike G and I both reported on sows giving birth to piglets at the Fair. As much as people loved witnessing the birth of the piglets, there were none this year. Those pigs came from the Beelow Farm, a family who is very active at the Fair. They not only have pigs in competition and auctions. The Beelow family run a 4-H club while another family member is on the Fair Board. Do you know why there were no piglets born this year at the Fair? Nobody asked them to repeat this effort. I was stunned such a successful attraction was not repeated. I assured them I was attending the annual meeting this year and would specifically inquire about this event.

    Image

    How did the Beelow’s manage to secure several pigs giving birth during a 5-day period in July? They gave the pigs shots to synchronize their fertility, taking into account the gestation period is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (114 days).

    Better living through science!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #24 - August 9th, 2005, 6:27 am
    Post #24 - August 9th, 2005, 6:27 am Post #24 - August 9th, 2005, 6:27 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Last year, Mike G and I both reported on sows giving birth to piglets at the Fair. As much as people loved witnessing the birth of the piglets, there were none this year. Those pigs came from the Beelow Farm, a family who is very active at the Fair. They not only have pigs in competition and auctions. The Beelow family run a 4-H club while another family member is on the Fair Board. Do you know why there were no piglets born this year at the Fair? Nobody asked them to repeat this effort. I was stunned such a successful attraction was not repeated. I assured them I was attending the annual meeting this year and would specifically inquire about this event.


    Hey, have I mentioned the Wisconsin State Fair? :?:

    They have a breeding tent or birthing room or somethin' like that, and the whole purpose of this barn is to watch things hatch, spring fourth or otherwise come to life. We were 'bout 1 hour too late to see a sow actually give birth, but we saw the spectacle of 10 piglets getting their first good feeding. (We also saw what happens to an arm when doc looks to make sure nothing else is inside.) It is my understanding that births take place daily at this Fair.

    Getting back to that auction at Lake County. I mentioned this above, but I think it is worth mentioning again. A lot of the animals were auctioned off for chairty. That is a lot of the animals meat was gonna go to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The people doing the bidding (and the procesors that did the free processing) got a lot of applause then and there, but that's a lot of hungry people they are helping, few really realize their deeds.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #25 - August 11th, 2005, 7:42 am
    Post #25 - August 11th, 2005, 7:42 am Post #25 - August 11th, 2005, 7:42 am
    While we're on the subject of county fairs and festivals, I'll put in a plug for the Dekalb Corn Fest, August 26-28. It's just far enough outside the metro area to be a real small town, and the corn fest has everything you could ask for in a small town fest-- small-scale rides for the kiddies, a guy dressed as a giant ear of corn, booths selling corn run by old guys from the Jaycees who make the same joke to everybody, BBQ and other foods to try, an old movie theater you can look inside, less than entirely stellar bands (the year we went the featured act was American English, the Beatles tribute band!), etc. We went two summers ago and the kids ate it up.
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  • Post #26 - July 27th, 2006, 9:24 am
    Post #26 - July 27th, 2006, 9:24 am Post #26 - July 27th, 2006, 9:24 am
    Had our annual fair day on Tuesday, and the squires corn dogs seemed extra good and fresh. There is a new BBQ place this year, Bobby B's, that is run by the guy who owns emils pizza at 45 and 176. Never been to the pizza place, but the bbq was quite good. The guy just bought a brand new fancy stainless steel smoker, and it makes some fine ribs, shoulder and chicken. It is not overly flavorful (you sauce it yourself and I ate it plain) but the texture was perfect. very tender and moist. While it would benefit from a dry rub, it was some of the best simple q that I have had in a while. They are on the long straightaway at the east side of the fair, next to the luxury (all tips appreciated) toilets. -Will
  • Post #27 - July 27th, 2006, 6:36 pm
    Post #27 - July 27th, 2006, 6:36 pm Post #27 - July 27th, 2006, 6:36 pm
    The MX races were cancelled due to rain???LMAO! What a bunch of fairies!
  • Post #28 - July 27th, 2006, 8:53 pm
    Post #28 - July 27th, 2006, 8:53 pm Post #28 - July 27th, 2006, 8:53 pm
    Hi,

    You could have then walked up to the north end for demolition derby. I doubt it was cancelled due to rain!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #29 - July 29th, 2007, 10:03 pm
    Post #29 - July 29th, 2007, 10:03 pm Post #29 - July 29th, 2007, 10:03 pm
    Image

    We made a not-quite-annual visit to the Lake County Fair today, if you're only going to eat one corn dog a year (and that is probably accurate most years for me), then Squires' Dog Haus is the corn dog to have.

    Another thing to have on a hot sunny day, though they are sweeter up here than the tart, more-lime-than-cherry kind we had in Kansas growing up, is a cherry limeade:

    Image

    The thing not to have turned out to be Brothers' Rib Tips, hailed by the Trib not too long ago among their five top rib tips.

    Image

    The Trib called them lighter on the smoke than many others. Yeah, if your definition of "lighter" is "none." There was simply no taste-based evidence that these things had ever been anywhere near smoke. Pork chop and barbecue sauce, they might as well have been, I guess they could be okay on that level but it wasn't the rib tip for me and despite my residual guilt about tossing away pork just feet from pigs in competition whose fate had already been sealed via sale, I did. Another BBQ place called Hillery's had what looked like an aquarium smoker on the premises, I shoulda tried them.

    The kids loved the rides:

    Image

    (Okay, that's Dad at the top, too)

    They loved seeing the crafts, Dad was amused by all the Goth paintings entered by teenagers growing up in beautiful farm country, and everyone was amused by the pig with the best-placed spots in the Swine barn:

    Image
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  • Post #30 - July 30th, 2007, 8:13 am
    Post #30 - July 30th, 2007, 8:13 am Post #30 - July 30th, 2007, 8:13 am
    Mike G wrote>The thing not to have turned out to be Brothers' Rib Tips,

    I agree. I like to attend a lot of the local community summer fests. A week ago I was at one and tried Brothers’ Ribs. I got some tips and a rib sandwich. They were both so bad we threw them away. I wanted to go back and tell them they should be ashamed to call themselves a BBQ place. But my better half talked me out of it.

    Dodger

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