Marinette County Fair Starts Thursday, Aug. 24Issue Date: August 23, 2017
The Marinette County Fair Grounds in Wausaukee will spring to life for its big annual 4-day event on Thursday, Aug. 24. Each year the Fair draws about 30,000 visitors to Wausaukee.
Buildings open at 9 a.m. daily and remain open until 10 p.m. Open fair entries will be accepted from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24, and face to face judging runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Carnival rides will start at 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and noon on Saturday and Sunday. They are to run until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Fair royalty will be crowned at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Candidates are Lindsey Michalski,14, daughter of Rodney and Linda Michalski of Crivitz and Alexis Witak, daughter of Lisa Witak of Grover. One will be named queen and the other will be a princess.
Other highlights on Thursday include Nick's Kids Show at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Lawnmower Pulls start at 7 p.m., and Concert Sound DJ will provide music in the pavilion from 7 to 11 p.m.
Live music, food and beverage stands, contests, demonstrations, contests and entertainments for children and adults will be going on through all four days of the Fair.
Full schedule of events and prices for this year's Fair can be found on Page B-10 of today's Peshtigo Times.
UWEX Agent Scott Reuss said Marinette County Extension personnel will have displays on each of their four program areas set up in the east wing of the main commercial exhibit building this year. Among focuses will be safe outdoor food, and tailgating and school lunch ideas. The Beekeeper's Association will have a live hive on display.
Marinette County Fair Association members have been busy for the past few weeks getting ready for the Fair, particularly Fair Board President David Gross. This year they have the use of several brand new golf carts to make their lives easier when the Fair is in progress.
Gross said the Marinette County Fair in Wausaukee started in 1928, at about the time the first county Extension agent, Charles Drewry, was hired. It had been held in conjunction with the Dickinson County Fair in Iron Mountain, Mich. for the two years prior to that. Wausaukee was selected as the site of the fair because of its central location in Marinette County.
The existing fairgrounds at one time had been a farm owned by Emile Jicha. Prominent Wausaukee businessman H.G. Laun was the first Fair Association president. He had donated a large property to Marinette County to help make the fair possible. Other early officers were Lew Holmes, vice president; Drewry, secretary, and Knute Anderson, treasurer. Other directors were Alex Cretton of Niagara; H. B. Sanderson, Loomis; C. A. Webster, Wausaukee; George D'Amour, Goodman, and August Meshop, Coleman. Others, including Chris Patterson of Niagara, Julia Ramsay of Harmony, and Fred Forst of Wausaukee were long time workers for the fair.
There were no buildings for livestock in the first years, only a few pens and tents for animals. For the first fair, F. E. Mitchell of Wausaukee had to go all the way to Madison for tents. The Wausaukee Recreation Building, where Evergreen Plaza is today, was used to exhibit vegetables, foods, clothing and handicraft. Bowling alleys in the Rec Center were planked over for additional space.
During WPA days, the old Jicha farm buildings were torn down and replaced with the present main structure used for exhibits. This was done under direction of Carl Schroeder of Wausaukee, who remained president of the Fair Board and was associated with it for over 33 years.
Old records indicate in 1931 the adult exhibit entries were very large, but during more recent years 4-H and youth exhibits have dominated. "Without the youth there would not be much need for a Fair," Gross commented. Over the years the Fair has remained primarily as an educational activity, and predictions it will continue serving that purpose into the foreseeable future.
There was some doubt if the 1940 Fair should be held due to concern over the polio epidemic. It was recommended that no one under age 16 should attend.
However, in 1940 the main building and a couple of food booths were constructed, as well as a historical building and the 4-H building. Work was done this year to replace a portion of the floor in the main building.
Victor Quick became county agent after Drewry. During his 10-year tenure Quick was able to get the Fair operating in the black. Harold King replaced him in 1960 and remained Fair Association secretary for many years.
In 1962 the Fair switched from a three day event to four days, which provided more time or getting livestock to the Fair and showing them.
Over the years other improvements were made in the Fair grounds and the buildings on it, including the large grandstand, pavilion, modern rest rooms, paved walkways, and last year a brand new cattle barn, thanks to the generosity of various donors who contributed much of the time, equipment and materials needed for the building.
Marinette County continues to provide minimal economic support for the Fair, and aids in maintenance of Fair property.
Persons who love going to the fair, or have some fond or funny memories associated with it may want to put on their thinking caps and pick up their pens - or computer keyboards, as the case may be. The Wisconsin Fair Association is sponsoring a Fair Story Contest again this year. Details can be found on their web site as of Sept. 5.
Entries are to be 200 to 400 words, and must include the name of the fair they remember. The four district winners will each get a $50 value prize, grand prize winner will get a $250 prize ad a plaque, and runner-up will receive a $50 prize. Entry deadline is Nov. 1.
Recent stories, opinions and photos