The 150th Wright County Fair is coming July 21-25 and fair organizers are going all out to make the sesquicentennial version of the fair the biggest and best ever – a year after the original 150th fair was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Wright County Commissioner Mike Kaczmarek, who serves as a non-voting member on the Wright County Fair Board, said preparations are in full swing with a lot of new, unique attractions scheduled and discounts being offered.
For starters, everyone 17 and under gets free admission the entire run of the fair. New attractions include the Los Moralitos Circus performing daily (times TBD), a
5K run on Saturday, July 24, Crushed Professional Wrestling at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 22, a fireworks display Saturday after dark, cash drawings each day and a free entertainment tent all five days of the fair, Senior Day on Friday, July 23 (65 and older get free admission) and Military Day on Saturday, July 24 (free admission for past or present military families).
Kaczmarek said the fair is always looking for new attractions, but this year is a little different given the anniversary – which isn’t the 150th year (it wasn’t held for two years in the early 1940s because the Fairgrounds were being used as a German prisoner of war camp during World War II and because of last year’s COVID-19 cancellation), but rather the 150th time the fair has been held.
“Most of these new attractions are because it’s the 150th county fair,” Kaczmarek said. “These are things they haven’t had before. The cash drawings they’ve done before, but not to the amounts they’re going to give away this time. The circus, the wrestling and some of the other events they haven’t done before and are because of the history of being the 150th year.”
While the fair is extremely well attended, Kaczmarek said efforts are being made to get even more residents aware and involved in the county fair.
“In working all over the county for many years, I’ve found that there are a lot of people who have never been to Howard Lake and don’t know where the county fair is,” Kaczmarek said. “When they’re on the east end of the county and they work to the east and do business to the east, there’s been no reason for many of them to commute to the county fair. They’re missing out because it has always been a great event and with this being the 150th year, it’s going to be as big an event as it ever has been.”
As with all major events scheduled, despite a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, there will still be precautions taken to make sure surfaces are clean and the Fairgrounds will remain as safe as possible.
“They’re going to follow whatever the rules are,” Kaczmarek said. “They’re going to have a contract for cleaning. They’re confident they have a plan in place to comply with whatever they need to do.”
Kaczmarek is spending his first year as the county commissioner on the Fair Board, having replaced former Commissioner Charlie Borrell, who spent the previous eight years representing the Wright County Board on the Fair Board. Like Kaczmarek, Borrell has been impressed with how seamlessly the Fair Board works.
“The fair may only last five days, but the Fair Board works year ‘round,” Borrell said. “When it’s done, they assess how it went, what improvements can be made, what things worked well and which ones didn’t. Not very long after that, the preparation for the next fair begins. It’s just a cycle that never ends.”
And, as Kaczmarek can attest, the Fair Board has become a well-oiled machine with one goal in mind – making the Wright County Fair one of the premier county fairs in the state.
“What’s most refreshing about this is that, on most boards you have a hard time finding volunteers to step up, but not with the County Fair Board,” Kaczmarek said. “Every meeting I’ve been to, the table has been full and the president or vice president will mention a task that needs to be done and someone just raises their hand or nods their head and says, ‘I’ve got it.’ They’ve been doing it a long time. It’s very well organized and these people are committed to doing a good job. That’s what is most exciting for me because their goal is to make the fair an enjoyable experience for everyone who comes through the gates. It’s in good hands.”