There’s a lot of history at the Sandwich Fair.
The oldest continuous county fair in Illinois is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. It has more than 28,000 exhibits – the most of any fair in Illinois. It also has a carnival, performers and all the trappings one expects at an old-fashioned county fair.
Also celebrating a milestone at the fair is Otto’s Train, a built-to-scale railroad train in its 60th year.
Baseball once was a staple of the fair, but it hasn’t been on the schedule for many years. That will change in 2012 with a vintage baseball game between the Somonauk Blue Stockings and the Sandwich Millers on Friday.
There’s so much history, a year-old fair museum catalogs it all.
Organizers are expecting more than 200,000 people to visit the fair, which opened yesterday and runs through Sunday. There is literally something there for just about any taste.
For the traditional carnival experience, there are rides and food vendors everywhere.
Agriculture exhibits include livestock and produce competitions, a draft horse show, exhibits of antique farm machinery and tractor pulls. For those into cars, there is an auto show, a monster truck show and a demolition derby.
There will be performances by local musicians – rock, country, Dixieland, mariachi and more – as well as the grandstand headliner country music artist, Justin Moore. There are also shows by magicians, clowns, dancers and the Indian Valley Theatre troupe.
A hot-air balloon launch is scheduled Friday to commemorate the fair’s anniversary, and the Northern Illinois Outlaws will put on a wild west show Saturday.
The Sandwich Fair is a spectacle, to be sure, but it also can be a unifying event for the county. We can all be proud of its size, history and ability to draw thousands of people to DeKalb County for the summer’s last hurrah.