CROWN POINT — Frugal Friday food bargains, hot air balloons, early admissions and presale of wristbands. They're all part of the new offerings in the 166th edition of the Lake County Fair.
*New starts with Preview Night Aug. 2. The gates open an hour earlier than in the past, at 5 p.m. and, for the first time, there'll be entertainment. Martin Xtreme Super Cross and Quad Racing headline the grandstand show at 6 p.m. Tickets, at $ 8 each, are available at the box office in front of the grandstand beginning at 5 p.m.
Carnival rides and food booths open at 5 p.m. Wristbands have been reduced to $10 for Preview Night.
The fair opens its 10-day run Aug. 3, going through Aug. 12.
Long before the gates swing open, visitors will be able to buy wristbands in advance. The link to buy presale all-day wristbands is www.lake-county-fair.com. They're available from now until the first day of the fair. Guests are asked to print the coupon found on the link and bring it to the fair on whatever day they wish to ride. The coupon will be exchanged at carnival ticket booths for a wristband. The wristbands are good for any day of the fair except the Preview Night with its $5 discount.
Mega Passes are available again this year, also at a discounted price on the website through Aug. 1. They're also sold during the fair for full price.
A food bargain awaits those who hit the fair Aug. 3. It's $2 Frugal Friday, new to the fair. Food vendors will offer tastings for $2 each. They'll display signs showing what their special discounted items are for that day.
On the entertainment front, the Martin Xtreme racing is at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 in the grandstand. Admission is $8. The all breed classic horse and pony show is at 6:30 p.m. in the arena and the Blue Holler Band performs at 6 p.m on the Heritage Stage.
There are judgings, demonstrations and special activities each day and Aug. 6 through 9 are Free Before Three days, with free admission to the fair before 3 p.m.
Aug. 4 is Times Day at the fair, featuring the Under the Lights Truck Pull at 7 p.m. in the grandstand. Admission is $6. The all breed classic horse and pony show is at 9 a.m., 1 and 6:30 p.m. in the arena and the Ray of Hope Riders, ladies side saddle drill team, at 6 p.m. Rusty Nail Crossing performs at 6 p.m. on the Heritage Stage.
The entertainment offerings on Aug. 5 include the All Monster Truck Show at 7 p.m. in the grandstand with a $10 admission. Visitors can take a ride on a monster truck before and after the show for an additional fee.
The arena features the all breed classic horse and pony show at 9 a.m, 1 and 6:30 p.m. and the Ray of Hope Riders at 6 p.m. John Kuiper and Friends appear at 6 p.m. on the Heritage Stage.
It's Senior Citizens Day Aug. 6. There's no admission charged at the gate for those 62 and older; a $5 parking fee is charged after 3 p.m.
The All Star Monster Truck Show returns to the grandstand at 7 p.m. There's a youth fun horse show at 9 a.m. in the arena and the 4-H horse and pony show at 6 p.m. Hazard County Band takes the Heritage Stage at 6 p.m.
It's Pepsi Family Value Day Aug. 7 where guests receive one afternoon wristband good from noon to 5 p.m. for 150 empty Pepsi or Crush products in 12-ounce cans.
Hot air balloons take off from the grandstand. There are tether balloon rides from 6 to 10 p.m., a balloon walk through from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and a Light Up the Night with a Balloon Glow from 7:45 to 9:15 p.m. The balloon rides are $15 for adults, $12 for those 12 and under.
The 4-H horse and pony show runs all day in the arena and the High Country String Band performs at 6 on the Heritage Stage.
The hot air balloons return to the grandstand Aug. 8, the time and fees are the same as Aug. 7. The 4-H horse and pony show is at 8 a.m. in the arena and the draft horse and pony haflinger show is at 6 p.m. Pete Nye and the Chicago Bluegrass Band appear at 6 p.m. on the Heritage Stage.
It's Public Transit Day Aug. 9 when the Gary Public Transportation Corp., East Chicago Transit and North Township Dial-a-Ride will offer service to the fair.
There is a $7 admission fee to see the West Creek Mud Runners Mud Drag at 7 p.m. in the grandstand. The draft horse and mule halter show is at 10 a.m. in the arena and the draft horse, mule pony/haflinger show is at 5:30 p.m. Rounding out the entertainment Aug. 9 is Paul Horgash and Ian Tully at 6 p.m. on the Heritage Stage.
The West Creek Mud Runners return for mud drags at 7 p.m. in the grandstand for a $7 admission fee. The Western Youth Horse show is at 1 p.m. in the arena, followed by the Western Horse Show at 6 p.m. Rusty Nail Crossing is on the Heritage Stage at 6 p.m.
The entertainment rundown on Aug. 11 includes the International Demolition Derby at 5 p.m. in the grandstand with a $12 admission and the Western Horse Show at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Flintrock performs at 6 p.m. on Heritage Stage.
The fair comes to a close Aug. 12 with a return of the International Demolition Derby at 5 p.m. in the grandstand and the Western Horse Show from 9 a.m. through early afternoon in the arena.
All buildings close at 8 p.m.
*Editor's note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. Martin Xtreme Super Cross and Quad Racing is featured in the grandstand at the Lake County Fair's Preview Night, Aug. 2. Admission is $8.