CROWN POINT —It takes a team to organize the 10-day Lake County Fair. And as the 166th annual fair came to a close Sunday, that group of individuals from throughout the county is already preparing for the 2019 version.
“It’s a yearlong process. We’ll meet in two weeks and then meet every two weeks,” said Arlene Marcinek, secretary of the Lake County Fair Board.
“We’re all taking notes of what worked this year and what didn’t,” said Marcinek, a St. John resident.
The 167th annual Lake County Fair runs from Aug. 2-11, 2019, she noted. Traditionally the fair showcases agriculture, and provides entertainment including music, contests, grandstand events and carnival rides.
A first at this year’s Lake County Fair, the hot air balloon rides on Wednesday proved among the most popular attractions, she said.
“They were a huge hit! The lines were really long, and the glow across the lake was so pretty,” Marcinek said. Unfortunately, the balloon rides had to be canceled the first evening because of the rain, she added, “but the second night was a real success.”
In addition to Marcinek, the Lake County Fair Board members include
• Kenneth Craft of Lowell, president
• Tom Lump, Lowell, 1st vice president
• Paul Carlson of Cedar Lake, 2nd vice president
• John Laszlo, Munster, treasurer
• Roland “Bub” Wise of Crown Point, past-president
• Mike Steffan of Griffith
• Pat Leininger, Crown Point
• Robert Crist of Griffith
• Edward Hein, Crown Point
• Jay Molenhouse of St. John and
• Mike Fraley of Highland.
During this year’s Lake County Fair, some board members also worked on the fairgrounds as department superintendents.
For example, Craft was in charge of maintenance, while Wise was the Grandstand superintendent. Leininger oversaw the Heritage Stage and the Youth Fun Horse Show. Molenhouse served as superintendent of the Industrial Building, and Lump was webmaster and in charge of insurance. Crist served as superintendent of concessions and Marcinek provided publicity for the 166th annual Lake County Fair.*
Other department superintendents included Gale Lolkema, agriculture; Matt Koehler, All-Breed Classic Horse Show; Dave Monix, beef department; Terry DeVries, conservation; Amy Hein, dairy department; Dennis Reed, draft horse & pony department; and Andrea Fox, family arts.
Janet Reed was director of the 4-H department, while Julie Jones and Jennifer Govan served as educators with Judy Dawson, Linda Dillon, Jim Nichols and Hein as general 4-H superintendents.
Additional department superintendents included Bob Manwaring, the Flower Show; Stanley Relinski, the pigeon exhibit; Bill Duttlinger, sheep & swine; and Vee Gallagher, Western Horse Show. Larry Leininger was veterinarian for the 2018 fair and Matt Eaton, commander with the Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. served as security liaison.
*Editor's note: This story has been corrected from a previous version.