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Weather smiling upon 161st Lake County Fair

Fair worker Frank Chrisco sits entrance his phobooth during preview night for Lake County Fair held Lake County Fairgrounds Crown

Fair worker Frank Chrisco sits at the entrance of his photo booth during a preview night for the Lake County Fair held at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, Ind., Thursday, August 1, 2013. | Guy Rhodes~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 3, 2013 7:46AM



CROWN POINT ­— A pleasant summer night translated into a good size crowd for preview night at the 161st annual Lake County Fair.

A steady stream of people pumped life into the Midway as screams from carnival rides like the new 90-foot tall Vertigo trailed over barkers’ calls to try your luck for a prize.

Twelve-year-old Sadie Smith of Crown Point was defying the odds as she rolled a bowling ball into the sweet spot to win a stuffed pink raccoon. Two more rolls and she won again, upgrading her raccoon to a larger one.

“This is my dad’s favorite game. I guess he passed it on,” Sadie said. Her dad and mom, Todd and Tracey Smith, and her siblings, Tucker 15, and Harry, 9, were joined by Todd’s brother, Andy Smith, from North Carolina and his daughter, Holly.

Todd and Tracey Smith said the family is at the fair about every night because the kids usually take advantage of the mega-ride passes. This is the first year they didn’t purchase the weeklong passes.

“They’d rather play the games now than the rides,” Tracey Smith said.

Arlene Marcinek, fair secretary, said one of the reasons the fair is so well attended every year is there is something for everyone.

This year the fair is working with several north Lake County transit groups to create an opportunity for more people to visit the fair who may normally not have the opportunity. The fair is partnering with East Chicago Transit Service, Gary Public Transportation Corp. and North Township Dial-A-Ride for Transit Day on Wednesday.

“They came to us and we were thrilled to death,” Marcinek said. “Hopefully in the future, if it works well, we will have more days.”

Marcinek said organizers have tweaked offerings but there are no major changes this year.

Along with the new carnival rides, the fair has also increased the number of super cross days to four from two due to the event’s popularity. Monster trucks appearing at the fair this year are all new and include “mini” monster trucks, as well.

Marcinek said the success of the fair is weather-dependent and so far hopes are high. Last year oppressive heat and violent storms pushed attendance numbers down.

“We’re hoping to gain some of that back,” she said. “The weather makes us or breaks us.”

Transit Day schedule

The pick-up and drop-off point to and from the fair will be Griffith Plaza in front of the old Service Merchandise store. East Chicago Transit will operate its regular service to the plaza with the last trip from Griffith Plaza leaving at 7:16 p.m. The North Township shuttles will pick up riders at Wolf Lake, the Civic Center, Wicker Park, the Visitor’s Center and Kmart and proceed to the Griffith Plaza pick-up/drop-off.

Gary Public Transportation will run from Griffith Plaza to the fair at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 , 3 and 4 p.m. with the last pick-up at 5 p.m. The bus will also stop at the Lake County Government Center for each trip.

Northbound service from the fair to the plaza will be at 11 a.m. and 1, 3, 4 and 5 p.m. with the last bus leaving the fair at 7 p.m.

Cost is $1 each way.

Gary’s free transfers from other GPTC routes: No. 23 at Griffith Plaza, No. 17 and 18 at the Government Center will be honored.

For information visit www.lake-county-fair.com or www.gptcbus.com



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