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Feasting a big part of fair finale

Natalie Minyard 7 Griffith her best friend Hannah Prowicz 7 St. John were singing 'I like corn' dancing as they

Natalie Minyard, 7, of Griffith, and her best friend Hannah Prowicz, 7, of St. John, were singing "I like corn" and dancing as they enjoyed the last day of the Lake County Fair. | Carrie Napoleon/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 12, 2014 6:32AM



CROWN POINT — Fairgoers taking advantage of their last chance at county fair fun for this year packed the Lake County Fairgrounds on Sunday for the fair’s final day.

The animal barns were all but cleared out, with only the horses remaining for the final arena shows. The midway and food vendors were teeming with people looking for their final taste of fair food and one last chance to take a whirl on the rides.

Chandra Newbern, of Merrillville, and her daughter Kayla, 6, were joined by her niece and nephew Ryanna Johnson, 5, and Ahmad Washington, both of Merrillville, and their Aunt Tina Martin, of Memphis, for some fair fun.

“We come every year,” Newbern said.

Martin was in town for a block party and took the opportunity to join the family at the fair. She said it has been years since she visited the fair and was enjoying the event at the sprawling fairgrounds.

“It’s nice here. Kind of spread out. There is enough room for the small kids to ride their rides and the big kids to ride theirs,” Martin said.

The girls were eager to ride the rides and play the games.

“I like all the rides and games, and eating. That’s what Mom comes for,” Kayla said.

Newbern did not argue.

“This is my ‘taste.’ The taste of Indiana,” she said.

Ahmad, too, was enjoying his share of the fair’s many food choices.

“This is a chicken tender on a stick and it is very good,” the teen said, adding he enjoys coming to the fair every year “mainly to get to spend time with family and get to ride the rides.”

Food was on the minds of best friends Hannah Prowicz, 7, of St. John, and Natalie Minyard, also 7, of Griffith. The pair were dancing around singing “I like corn” as they munched on fresh ears of sweet corn dipped in butter.

“I like coming because it’s fun and has lots of ice cream and animals and rides,” Natalie said. Her mom and dad, Jim and Debbie Minyard, said the youngster has been at the fair almost every day between going with her family and grandparents.

Repeat visitors and cooperative weather have helped the fair to post strong numbers this season. Arlene Marcinek said attendance at the fair through Saturday was 213,342, up about 11,500 from 2013, a year that saw gains on 2012.

“We are extremely pleased,” Marcinek said. Only one day of rain, Friday, dampened attendance. Only 14,234 people were on hand for the first night of the final weekend, a day that typically draws crowds of more than 20,000 — weather permitting.

No attendance records were broken this year either daily or for the total. In 2004, the Lake County Fair set its record attendance at 267,152. Marcinek said the best day this year was Saturday, with more than 29,000 people in attendance, but still no record.

“We did not break any of our records. It was constant. We were very lucky,” she said.

Vendors also were pleased. Brian Kucinski, of Valparaiso, who owns Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice, said business has been good for the 10 days.

While he would have preferred the weather a little hotter, as people eat more frozen treats when the temperature breaks 90 degrees, the steady flow of visitors was helpful.

“It’s been a really good run this year,” Kucinski said.



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