Walworth County Fair debuts new features, but is still rooted in tradition

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Samantha Jacquest
Sunday, August 25, 2013

ELKHORN--Tradition meets innovation at the 164th Walworth County Fair.

This year's fair, which runs Wednesday, Aug. 28, to Monday, Sept. 2, is celebrating a rich history in Walworth County while bringing in new features for all ages.

Here are five things to know about this year's racecar-themed fair:

1. History. This is the 164th year for the Walworth County Fair: 164 years in the same location, doing many of the same activities and visited by generations of families.

“If you think about it, for 164 years, people have gathered here on these grounds, meeting friends, building relationships and showing what they have made or produced,” said Susan Pruessing, marketing and public relations manager with the fair. “It's pretty neat to think that our ancestors--seven or eight generations back--have walked these same footsteps.”

While the fair has many traditional aspects, there are also quite a few new features, such as a duct tape fashion show, veggie races for kids, duck racing and more. Details can be found at walworthcountyfair.com.

2. Affordability. This year, the fair has new affordability features to benefit families. Multiple food vendors will offer family value meals. The vendors can be identified with a big smiley face and checkered flag on their tent or trailer. The value meals serve a typical family of four and include food and drink. Prices and food options vary by vendor.

Ticket discounts include $4 for seniors Wednesday, Aug. 28, to Friday, Aug. 30.

Aug. 29 is family day, with $5 adult admission and one ticket per ride from noon to 5 p.m.

“If you want to come to the fair but budgets are tight, it is affordable,” Pruessing said.

3. Not just a talent show. For the first time, the Walworth County Fair will host the Wisconsin state finals for the Texaco Country Showdown at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, on the grandstand. The show is free.

The winner of the Rock County 4-H Fair showdown, Zac Matthews, will be competing at the state competition with the hopes to go on to Nashville and get his name and music heard in the country music industry.

The Texaco Country Showdown has hosted performers such as Martina McBride, Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and other big names when they were amateurs.

4. The crowd favorite. “We've done surveys, and the top things people love about the fair are always the food and entertainment,” Pruessing said.

The Walworth County Fair brings together all the fair favorites: cream puffs, éclairs, cheese curds, baked potatos, even homemade dinners, and of course, almost anything you can think of deep fried.

“This is the one time you can get off the diet and just enjoy yourself,” Pruessing said.

The entertainment is a big highlight, especially because every musical performance is free, including Kenny Loggins on Aug. 31 and The Beach Boys on Sept. 1. Reserved and VIP seating are available.

The tractor and truck pulls are Wednesday, Aug. 28, and the demolition derby is Monday, Sept. 2.

5. Go way, way back. If 164 years isn't far enough back, how about 400 years?

The fair is featuring Medieval Enchantment for the first time. The free exhibit features cooking, weaving and authentic jousting Friday, Aug. 30, to Monday, Sept. 2, all day in Kiddieland.

The actors will be interacting with fairgoers, showing them how people lived before modern technology with authentic medieval costumes and games for kids.

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