Walworth County Fair celebrates 165 years

The 165th Walworth County Fair opened Wednesday on the county fairgrounds in Elkhorn. The annual festival runs through Labor Day with all the food, fun and excitement county residents have come to expect from the biggest county fair in the state. (Tom Ganser file photo)
The 165th Walworth County Fair opened Wednesday on the county fairgrounds in Elkhorn. The annual festival runs through Labor Day with all the food, fun and excitement county residents have come to expect from the biggest county fair in the state. (Tom Ganser file photo)

State’s largest county fair runs through Labor Day

The Walworth County Fair, which opened Wednesday, is the largest county fair in the state, second only to the Wisconsin State Fair.

The festival is celebrating its 165th anniversary this year and chose to honor the 100th anniversary of the Wisconsin 4-H with its theme of “We’re Still Having Fun! 4-H is Still the One!”

The fair runs through Labor Day. Fairgrounds, 411 E. Court St., Elkhorn, are open 7 a.m. to midnight, except Monday, Labor Day, when it closes at 8 p.m.

      Adult daily admission is $10; Junior admission (ages 6-12) is $4.

Walworth is home to the state’s first 4-H Club, which was formed in Linn Township. The club was called the Linn Junior Farmers Club and came to being when community leader May Hatch and Thomas L. Bewick, the newly appointed state Boys and Girls Club leader at the University of Wisconsin, organized the club at the Hatch farm in Linn on Oct. 30, 1914.

New at the fair

Each year the Walworth County Fair adds to and improves its offerings to entertain and educate the annual visitors and this year is no exception.

One of the big changes in 2014 is the fair’s free parking and the discontinuation of the shuttle buses from the square in downtown Elkhorn to the fairgrounds. There will be golf-cart taxis on the fairgrounds to help get people around.

Bulls, Broncs and Barrels

The fair is holding a rodeo on the Grandstand at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Bulls, Broncs and Barrels will be produced by Big Hat Rodeo, which offers a full rodeo experience complete with bull riding.

The Hebron, Ill.-based company has been producing rodeos for nearly 40 years and performs primarily in the Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri area, according to its website.

“Big Hat Rodeo features a rare combination of traditional events paired with spectacular bucking livestock, the hottest specialty acts, synchronized music, hilarious, family friendly clowns, non-stop excitement and tons of surprises … all guaranteed to provide the highest quality family entertainment,” the rodeo’s website states.

For more information, visit www.bighatrodeo.com.

Show Us Your Talent

There’s a new talent competition for kids at the fair this year – Show Us Your Talent.

Children in two age divisions (2-12 years old and 13-18 years old) can compete in four basic talent areas – dance, vocal, instrumental and variety. The first place winner will take home $1,000 and each category will have winner with a $500 prize.

Each performer will have seven minutes to show the judges what they do best. One winner from each age division at the local/county event could advance to the Wisconsin State Fair Competition.

This year’s contestants are:

• 2-12 years olds – Olivia Peterson, Aydon Clikeman, Kendra Barkas, Lillian Jones, Lauren Harkness, Genevieve Paur and Kaylee Granata.

• 13-18 year olds – Alyssa Montes de Oca, Kira Granberg, Genevieve Heyward, Becca Brewer, Jacob Harnburg, Colin White, Melissa Schoedel, Rachel Vanderstappen and Julia Dodich.

Auditions were July 26. The semifinal round will be at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, on the Park Stage. The final competition will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, on the Park Stage.

Cooking with Corn

Another new competition this year is the Cooking with Corn Challenge. The contest is being held in conjunction with Darien Cornfest, which is the weekend after the fair, Sept. 5-7.

The challenge is open to all Walworth County Fair guests, even the kids. No pre-registration is required. Dishes must be prepared offsite.

There are three categories for the corn cookers:

• Light Affair – appetizers, salads, side dishes, etc.

• Main Affair –casseroles, soups, etc.

• Baked Affair – desserts, breads, muffins, etc.

The cooking contest will be at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30, at the Market Village Gazebo. Look for the Darien Cornfest giant ear of corn.

For more information, visit www.walworthcountyfair.com.


In response to fairgoers requests, the fair will have food stands in the Kiddieland area starting this year, said Sue Pruessing, marketing and public relations manager for the Walworth County Fair.

And there are plenty of new things to try throughout the fairgrounds.

Lake Geneva Methodist Hall will host a fish fry on Friday night. The hall is air conditioned for diners and anyone needed respite from the heat.

Also new are:

• Morris Concessions: Big G’s, featuring bourbon chicken with beans and rice, chopped smoked Cajun sausages with bourbon rice and beans, bourbon turkey legs, fried bacon cinnamon rolls, fried bacon bombers and Baconade (bacon lemonade).

• Sausage and Schnitzel King: Little Europa, offering wienerschnitzel sandwiches, pierogies, latke (mini potato pancakes) and homemade potato chips.

• At the Hop: 50s Diner, serving hotdogs, corndogs, hamburgers, fries, Philly cheese steak sandwiches and slushies.

• Paul’s Fun Food, offering a variety of hot wings, sweet potato fries and french fries.

• Ken Leipart, serving blooming onions, onion rings, breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and jalapeno cheese fries.

For more information, visit www.walworthcountyfair.com.


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