Pam Chickering Wilson
As the area readied for the annual Jefferson County Fair later this week, Jefferson County Fair Park began to take on more of a carnival look. Pictured here setting up one of the first rides, the Lolly-Swings, are Joseph Pacheco, left, and Robyn Roswurm, center, of Mr. Ed’s Magical Midways LLC. The fair’s theme this year is “Year of the Carnival.”
JEFFERSON — The Jefferson County Fair administrative and organizational crews have years of experience, so it was hardly surprising when a visit to Fair Park on the sunny, warm Monday morning before the 167th annual event’s opening this Wednesday yielded nothing out of order.
There was a smooth, controlled flow of preparatory operations as everyone from vendors to the carnival crew to fair leaders went about their pre-fair business.
The early part of July fair week always is interesting at the county’s ever-evolving Fair Park on Jefferson’s west side. Unlike past decades, fair organizers dislike rain, but are not afraid of it as they were in the past. The renovated grounds now drain beautifully. Newer indoor facilities, that are well-ventilated, offer a respite from the inevitable scorching mid-July sun and heat.
Jefferson County Fair Park Supervisor Roger Kylmanen said this latest structure has created a bit more work for crews preparing the grounds for the fair in recent weeks, but is a welcome addition overall, and will be enjoyed by fair visitors, participants and animals alike. It can be used for non-fair events, such as horse shows, and sheep and wool festivals, because it has a wash rack for four-legged animals.
“We wanted to upgrade our wash rack and that was done,” he said, noting that the building is 40-by-120 feet. “While the wash rack will be used during non-fair times for horse shows and for other animals like sheep, in the winter, we can use the building for storage. So it’s multi-purpose.”
Kylmanen said the new building will have good airflow through it and overhead doors, and an electrician has it all hooked up and ready to go.
“Things are going very well,” Kylmanen said. “The recent weather kind of set things back, but things are getting done. This new building with the wash rack is beautiful. The rack is complete — the concrete was completed just last week. The wet spring delayed progress on getting it done earlier, but we are alright.
“Now, for us, it’s just getting to the routine stuff — the buildings set up for all the different animals coming in,” he added.
New Jefferson County Fair director Amy Listle said she is excited to be touting this year’s fair theme, the “Year of the Carnival.”
As such, Mr. Ed’s Magical Midway returns to provide carnival entertainment for children of all ages. Wristband specials for certain rides are available daily. The carnival is open each day until 10 p.m.
Listle pointed out that new features this year at the fair are a wine garden, and family shows including the acrobat presentation “Cirque Extreme” and “Disconnected Canines.”
In addition to the grandstand’s main musical acts of Friday and Saturday nights, live music will be featured in the Miller Lite Entertainment Tent. There will be a tractor pull Wednesday, the Badger Truck Pull Thursday and Demolition Derby at 2 p.m. Sunday.
A fair staple are the 4-H, FFA and other youth participants along with their projects and animals (see the judging and show schedule on page A5.)
Admission pricing for the fair is adults, $10; seniors age 62 and older, $5; children under 12 years, $5; children under 5, free of charge. On Wednesday, children under 12 are admitted free until 5 p.m.; on both Wednesday and Thursday, adults may buy one adult admission and get one free with a coupon from the PremierBank newsletter; and on Sunday, military servicepersons and veterans are admitted free if they provide an ID.
“It looks like we are in for great weather all week and the fair offers fun for all ages, all day long,” Listle said. “The entire family is invited out. Even if we do have rain, there is plenty to do and see indoors in all of our animal barns, the Activity Center and our vendors tents.”