By Steve Sharp
JEFFERSON -- The Jefferson County Fair has years of experience in its administrative and organizational crews, so it was hardly surprising when a Daily Times visit to the fair park on the sunny, warm Monday morning before the fair's opening Wednesday yielded nothing out of order.
It was just 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 is always 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.
Another fine addition to the park comes in a building that is a addendum to the swine barn. Jefferson County Fair Park Supervisor Roger Kylmanen said this latest building 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 even be used for non-fair events, such as horse shows, and sheep and wool festivals, because it has a wash rack for four-legged critters.
"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."
Kylmanen said the new building will have good airflow through it, overhead doors, and an electrician has it all hooked up and ready to go.
"Now for us, it's just getting to the routine stuff -- the buildings set up for all the different animals coming in," he said.
The new building of which Kylmanen spoke is an extension of the fair's main swine barn.
"We wanted to upgrade our wash rack and that was done," he said, adding 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 its multi-purpose."
New Jefferson County Fair Director Amy Listle said she is excited to be touting this year's fair theme as, the "Year of the Carnival."
She said new this year 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 also 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 basis of the fair is its featuring 4-H participants along with their projects and animals. See the fair's website for more details on the exhibitors.
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.
"Formerly The Midway Hop Stop, we are excited to introduce The Leinie Lodge," a media release from fair organizers said. "The Leinie Lodge is located in the center of the fair park between the midway and the food vendors. This location features specialty beers from Wisconsin's 150-year-old brewery, Leinenkugel's and live music."
Admission pricing for the fair is adults $10, seniors ages 62 and older $5; children under 12 $5 with children under 5 admitted free.
Admission specials include Wednesday: children under 12 admitted free until 5 p.m., buy one get one free adult admission with coupon from PremierBank Newsletter; Thursday buy one get one free adult admission with coupon from PremierBank Newsletter and Sunday military and veterans are free with their ID's.
"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."