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‘Record numbers’ visiting Lakeside Festival

CRYSTAL LAKE – Scott Martin and Alex Riegler sat in fold-up chairs and watched the tournament field dwindle.

Their baggo hopes had been crushed. Their spirits had not.

“Terrible,” Martin said, grinning, of the team’s performance in the annual Baggo Tournament at the Lakeside Festival. “We’ve been in it for four years, and we’ve never won a game. But we keep coming back.”

The 30-year-olds added to what organizers said has been a record turn out this year at the festival, the annual music and food fest with carnival rides and a full schedule of games and events.

It kicked off Thursday. It concludes Sunday, after the Crystal Lake Independence Day Parade makes its way down Dole Avenue and to the beach. Fireworks are scheduled at dusk.

About 50,000 people come to the Lakeside Festival each year. Cooler summer temperatures have contributed to strong attendance so far in 2014, Lakeside Legacy Arts Park Executive Director Siobhan Cottone said.

“The first two days, we’ve had record numbers,” she said. “And we anticipate today and tomorrow will be the same.”

The Light family was taking full advantage of the mid-70s, overcast day Saturday. Kay and Larry Light perched on a picnic table during the late afternoon.

The two were making their first stop at the Lakeside Festival.

“This summer, we’re like, ‘Let’s find something to do,’ “ Kay Light said.

Kay and Larry watched their daughter, Lindsay Light, and her friend, Lindsey Bernier, relive their younger days on a spinning carnival ride.

The college-bound 18-year-olds came off all smiles.

“Everyone seems very happy,” Kay Light said of the Cary family’s day at the festival. “It’s local, good fun.”

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