Last Fling and Sandwich Fair are 2 great last hurrahs
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media August 29, 2013 10:04AM
The Last Fling is Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 in Naperville. | File Photo
♦ Aug. 30-Sept. 2
♦ Main Street and Jackson Avenue along the Riverwalk, Naperville
♦ Tickets, $0-$20
♦ (630) 961-4143
♦ Sept. 4-8
♦ 15738 Pratt Road, Sandwich
♦ Tickets, $5-$9
♦ (815) 786-2159
Updated: August 29, 2013 1:05PM
As summer slides into home plate, it’s going to be a great weekend to soak in every last drop of that lazy, hazy craziness.
Two end-of-summer staples, Naperville’s Last Fling and the DeKalb County Fair — known far and wide as the Sandwich Fair — are on deck this weekend. You’ll find music, food, carnival attractions, kids’ activities and more at these events.
Like barbecues and one last dip in the pool, Labor Day weekend is synonymous with the Naperville Last Fling.
This is the 45th annual Last Fling, held Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 in downtown Naperville. This is the 33rd year Naperville Jaycees have run the Last Fling; prior to that it was run by the Chamber of Commerce, said Last Fling spokeswoman Karen Coleman.
“It’s blown into a really huge event. We’re really excited about it,” she said.
Main stage entertainment includes the Goo Goo Dolls Saturday and Collective Soul playing Sunday. Up-and-coming country artist Jerrod Niemann plays tonight and Jessica Rae takes the main stage on Monday.
Other new attractions include a kiddie carnival inside the Family Fun Land, she said.
The Family Fun Land is located at the Naper Settlement and the hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
“There’s a larger business expo and food vendors in there, as well as rides for the kids, which has allowed us to bring more rides for older kids and adults to our Jackson Avenue carnival,” she said. “Our carnival has expanded as well, so that’s really exciting.”
Elsewhere in Family Fun Land, look for bounce houses, pony rides, an arts and crafts area, an entertainment stage, Jim Nesci’s Cold Blooded Creatures show and Disney Channel star Peyton List from the show “Jessie” and the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movies.
“She’s very popular, so it’s very exciting we’re having her,” Coleman said.
St. Charles native and former Disney Next Big Thing winner Shealeigh will be performing and signing autographs as well.
“There is stuff happening constantly in the Family Fun Land,” she said.
As always, look for classic Fling events like bed races, the Fling mile, soccer shoot-out, volleyball tournament, wine tastings, apple pie contest, horseshoe toss, skaters’ picnic, diaper derby, big wheel race, spaghetti and ice cream eating contests (not at the same time) and rib cook-off.
“Everybody loves summer and is so sad to see it leave, so everybody loves coming and capping it off nicely,” she said of Last Fling’s popularity. “And it’s great it’s on a four-day weekend. Everybody has time to come and enjoy everything we’ve put together — the entertainment, the rides, the food, the fun, drinks for the adults, the parade — families love it. Then there are a lot of people who come just to hear the music. We have the main stage, which is ticketed, but we also have the free entertainment stage. You can go and hear some really great local acts. We do a really good job of giving you options.”
The free stage will feature several bands; including Pat McCurdy, Junkyard Groove, Out For Hours and the Robert Cornelius 7.
Tickets for the main stage Friday cost $10, $20 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday. All entertainment on Monday is free. Beverage and carnival rides will use tickets.
The traditional Labor Day Parade is at 10 a.m. Monday.
The Sandwich Fair can boast that it is the oldest continuous county fair in the state.
Formally known as the DeKalb County Fair, the event runs Sept. 4 to 8 and attracts thousands of visitors from a large radius, said Nancy Rex, secretary of the Sandwich Fair Association.
This is the 126th Sandwich Fair, and in addition to being the oldest continuous fair, it’s also one of the biggest.
“We usually are among the top three or four fairs in attendance, and we’re almost always No. 1 in terms of competitive exhibits we have,” she said. “People from all over this area enter their projects into the fair and try to win a ribbon and a little cash, too.”
Fair goers will once again find livestock exhibits and competitions for all kinds of animals and a wide variety of competitive exhibits — anything from photography to cooking to canned goods and arts and crafts, she said.
There will also be some commercial displays, a carnival and the grand stand entertainment. The Neverly Brothers will play on the grand stand Wednesday, and the show is included in the price of admission.
The NTPA Truck pull is Sept. 5, country singer Chris Cagle performs with Dustin Lynch opening on Sept. 6 and look out for two tractor pulls on Sept. 7. Finally, two demolition derbies are sure to set your pulse racing on Sept. 8.
“When people ask why folks like the Sandwich Fair, I say we have something of interest to almost everyone,” Rex said. “We do have free events we call strolling acts that are here every day.”
That includes the Banjo Buddies Dixieland Trio, Alfy’s World of Robotic Puppets, Buttons the Clown, Dan Barth with his old-fashioned medicine show, Mariachi America, antique farm machinery and stilt walker Carrie McQueen.
Theater fans will want to check out the Indian Valley Theatre Melodramas, in addition to the “Showdown in DeKalb County” presented by the Northern Illinois Outlaws.
On the Home Arts Stage, look for culinary competitions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and in the evening bands will play, she said. At the livestock area, you’ll find the Ag Land Stage, where many bands will perform. A highlight will be Orion Samuelson performing with the Round House Band at 10 a.m. Sept. 5. Samuelson co-hosts “The Morning Show,” WGN Radio’s agriculture program, and also serves as WGN Radio’s agribusiness director.
When hunger strikes, there are “many, many different things on a stick,” Rex said. “Almost anything think you could think of to put on a stick will be here.”
That’s in addition to the usual fair food, plus longtime fair fixture Fay’s Pork Chop Bar-B-Que of Waterman.
“They’ve been here around 50 years, and they have a big tent. That’s a regular sit-down meal.”
If you need to quench your thirst, you won’t be able to do so with adult beverages. No alcohol is allowed on the fairgrounds.
“We try to keep it a very family-friendly fair, so that’s one thing you won’t find,” she said.