From Wednesday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 10, the Village of Gays Mills will fill up as folks take in the sights, sounds, and smells that mean only one thing—the Crawford County Fair!
A walk through the fairgrounds should offer something for nearly everyone—the gentle lowing of cattle being groomed, fed and cared for by hopeful youth with dreams of a blue ribbon and a champion sale price…squeals, shouts, and laughter from children and adults spinning madly about upon carnival rides...bagged goldfish and stuffed animals marking the members of the crowd with a winning aim…the sugary aroma of funnel cakes on the midway…sizzling burgers and brewing coffee at the community food stands…music wafting from tents and the grandstand…..and the roar of motors as drivers demonstrate their skill, their daring and the power of their machines.
What’s new at the fair this year?
“Our newest thing at the fairgrounds this year is the Crawford County Amateur Talent Competition,” according to Crawford County Fair Coordinator Amanda Nagel. “The winners from this will go on to participate in the State Fair competition next year.”
The talent show will be held on Sunday at noon. It has two age groups: 2-12 and 13-18. No more than five persons are allowed in an act. (Accompanists are not considered part of the act.) Acts must be able to set-up within one-minute. No combos, rock bands or similar musical groups are permitted. However, the talent show isn’t the only new event.
The Fairest of the Fair Sarah Achenbach and a fair board member will lead an animal walk on Thursday at 2 p.m.
“This will give people a chance to get up close to the animals that are shown at the fair,” Achenbach said.
The educational event gives the curious an opportunity to learn about a core aspect of the rural county fair – animal husbandry.
“We’ll explain why we show the animals, what it takes to bring them to the fair, and talk about the skills you need to successfully show an animal,” Achenbach said.
Other new events include a digital scavenger hunt (Saturday at 4 p.m.), an alphabet walk (Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.); and a poker walk (Friday 3 to 5 p.m.).
The fair has lined up multiple events for the Wednesday evening kickoff. The Crawford County Conservation Awards will be announced at 5 p.m. followed by the Grilled Cheese Experience (a bake-off contest for grilled cheese sandwiches) at 6 p.m., and the Taste of Crawford County Wine Tasting Contest at 7 p.m. Live music and the quilt block contest will also begin at 7 p.m.
The grandstand is the stage for the fair’s largest events.
Thursday night will see the stands filled for the Southwest Pullers Tractor and Truck Show. Area residents will be familiar with the organization, which was responsible for the truck and tractor pulls seen last month in Soldiers Grove for Dairy Days.
The antique tractor pull will occur the following day, Friday at noon.
Come evening, this year will see the return of the Blessed FMX Stunt Show who will perform both before and after the a capella musical group Six Appeal on Friday night. Swearing off instruments, the award winning vocal band Six Appeal covers a broad selection of musical pieces both old and new and of nearly any genre.
“We signed them up at the Wisconsin Fair Convention, which isn’t normally how we get our acts, but we got to see them perform and were so impressed we signed them on the spot,” said Pete Flesch, the Crawford County Fair Board Chairman. “They are a lot of fun.”
On Saturday evening, the grandstand will be the site of the ever-popular demolition derby. The derby sold out the grandstand last year and Nagel expects it to do so again this year.
What else might you want to catch?
Flesch recommended Nick’s Kid Show and the Buddy Holly Show.
“Nick is pretty amazing,” Flesch said. “The kids’ show is very interactive. He has magic and music. He has the kids trying out musical instruments and dancing. And he also does a really excellent tribute to Buddy Holly.”
Flesh was also enthused about the 4-H Robotics demonstrations planned for Friday and Saturday. The successful program saw a Crawford County 4-H team, called ‘BOTS’ (Boys On Technology & Science), earn first place in the Robo Rally held at Southwest Technical College at the end of May. The fair gives the kids a chance to display the skills they have learned.
There are also several events that are either good for you or good for the community.
The 5K Walk/Run on Saturday morning is open to anyone and celebrates the very successful Crawford County on the Move program. The cost to participate is $15 per participant and registration forms are available at www.crawfordcountywisconsinfair.com (under event schedule) or at the UW- Extension office in Prairie du Chien. You can also register that morning at the Entertainment Tent from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m.
On Saturday evening, there is the Tug of War Challenge. Winners of the challenge win cash awards for the Crawford County non-profit of their choice. Last year saw money awards go to the Wauzeka-Steuben Boosters, the G2 Little League, and Wauzeka-Steuben Youth Wrestling.
A fair raffle will be ongoing throughout the fair with the drawing on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
“The raffle raises money for special improvements at the fairgrounds,” explained Nagel. “You can win a variety of prizes from a one-night stay at a hotel to a plant hook to an outdoor bench. Tickets are only $1 each or six for $5.”
Not to be overlooked, the fair is about spending time with others in the community. That aspect is what Achenbach said she most enjoys.
“My favorite part of the fair is the people,” Achenbach said. “I really love talking to the exhibitors, especially seeing their faces when they receive ribbons, and talking with people, hearing about what they enjoy at the fair.”
A birthday party recognizing 100 years of 4-H will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate in the cake and socializing. A display of pictures and memorabilia from current and former Crawford County 4-H members will be on display throughout the fair.
The fair passes are $6 day per person. Season passes can be purchased in advance for $20 at the Crawford Ag Extension office in the Crawford County Administration Building, 225 North Beaumont Road, Prairie du Chien.
Admission to the grandstand events is included in your pass.
There is free admission for those with a Country on the River pass.
Each day of the fair, Wenzel Amazements Carnival will have a midway complete with rides and games. A Mega Pass for unlimited rides throughout the fair is $40 in advance and $50 at the fair. There will also be $18 wristband specials allowing unlimited rides during specified hours for the day they are purchased: Thursday from 6-10 p.m.; Friday from 1-5 p.m., Saturday from 1-5 p.m.; and Sunday from Noon-4 p.m.
To view the complete schedule, click here.