State and county fairs chart 2013 course
ABBOTSFORD — Keep your feet on the ground for cotton candy and cattle judging. Or, for the overhead view, glide above the county fair on a 200-foot zipline.
State and county fair organizers across the state are mining for fresh activities that will attract crowds without straining of the finances of fairs or their patrons.
Ziplines, which cost about $10,000 to rent, will make appearances at many fairs.
Wine and beer judging, pulls, free and educational events, strolling acts and local performers were some ideas posed by fair board representatives at a Wisconsin Association of Fairs District 1 meeting April 9 at the Abbotsford City Hall in Abbotsford.
The Clark County Fair Board hosted the gathering, which was both a networking event for central and northeast Wisconsin fair organizers and a chance for them to connect with the statewide organization.
Ron Van Dyck, state fair board president from Brown County, started off by advising counties to ensure their food handlers are trained in food safety. He also addressed the importance of marketing through social media sites.
Representatives from Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, Waupaca, Wisconsin Valley, Athens, Central Wisconsin, Clark, Lincoln, Marinette, Oconto, Oneida, Price and Rosholt fairs attended. Board members from Forest, Langlade and Florence were absent.
In Athens, organizers are talking about expanding the draft horse show. Central Wisconsin State Fair in Marshfield is likely to showcase local talent and bring in DockDogs, “The world’s premier canine aquatics competition,” while Clark County is exchanging last year’s costly rodeo for a new act by Division Stunt Team from West Bend.
For the first time in 50-some years, Lincoln County won’t have a demo derby. Oneida will be adding a flea market, craft show and Friday night fish fry to its lineup. Sailing by on a zipline will cost visitors about $5 a pop at several of the fairs.