Written by Kaitlyn Bernarde
The farm animals stayed home…
The rides did not roll in…
And the music acts performed online last summer instead of gathering in Wausau for at Marathon Park for the Wisconsin Valley Fair in August of 2020.
According to Wisconsin Valley Fair Administrator Jodi Langenhahn, this void of losing yet another event due to the COVID-19 pandemic was felt across the county:
“We were disappointed and had a virtual fair that brought together different aspects of the fair, but it was sad to drive through the empty park.”
But fear not…
The 153rd annual Wisconsin Valley Fair is returning August 3–8 to Marathon Park!
Health & Safety Precautions
Wisconsin Valley Fair planners are ensuring the event’s return keeps fairgoers safe and healthy. They are working with the Marathon County Health Department to implement necessary COVID precautions, which currently are to:
- Wash hands frequently
- Stay home if you are sick
With just over a month until fair gates open, precautions will be updated if necessary. For the latest information on health and safety precautions, please visit the Wisconsin Valley Fair’s website.
A Few Returning “Fair Favorites”
Pig, Goat, & Duck Races (Daily)
Catch a head-to-head (or beak-to-beak!) face-off between our hooved and web-footed friends 3 times a day at 1:00, 3:00, or 5:00 p.m. Cost: FREE.
Rodeo (Aug. 7)
Watch as riders from across the country compete in bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, and more starting at 7:30 p.m. in the grandstand. Cost: Free general admission seats (included with your fair admission ticket) will be available, or lower-level reserved seats are available for purchase online.
New Features for 2021’s Fair
Music Acts to the Grandstand
Come to the fair grounds to see great musical entertainment. Cost: Free general admission seats (included with your fair admission ticket) will be available, or lower-level reserved seats are available for purchase online.
- TUESDAY (Aug. 3) — Green Bay cover band Boogie and the Yo-Yo’z
- WEDNESDAY (Aug. 4) — Roots’ n’ Boots Tour (featuring Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, and Collin Raye)
- THURSDAY (Aug. 5) — Country music artist Randy Houser
- FRIDAY (Aug. 6) — Ezra Ray Hart (featuring Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray)
New Fair Foods
Try new delicacies on a stick or other new items from a food truck throughout the midway including Munch a Bunch. Cost: Varies
Riding Class as Part of the Draft Horse Show
Try a new class added to the Draft Horse Show on Sunday, August 8, at 10:30 a.m. Cost: Free (sponsored by the Wisconsin Draft Horse Association).
Moved Exhibit Displays
To provide a better viewing experience, Open Class and Junior Fair works can now be found in the South and Southwest wings of the Exhibition Building and East Hate Hall instead of the Fieldhouse.
Ways to Get Involved in the Fair
Even though the Junior Fair entry deadline has passed, there are still several ways to get involved with this year’s fair:
- Exhibit in the Open Class division by bringing in items to be judged against other members of the public for ribbons and premiums. Available classes vary from Poultry and Rabbits to Vegetables and Photography. Cost: $15 (includes Season Admission ticket).
- Participate in the Apple-Pie Baking Contest on August 8: Bake your best apple pie and bring it to the last day of the fair, to compete against other amateur bakers. Cost: Free.
- Kids can participate in the Fairest of the Fair’s Coloring Contest. Receive the 2021 coloring sheet either from the Fairest at a community event or stop in the Fair Office in Marathon Park to pick one up. Color and return it to the Fair Office to be entered to win prizes. (Check Facebook or call 715.261.1539 for the latest office hours).
Parking / Admission / Wristbands
Advanced Ticket/Parking Pricing
- Advanced Season Admission Ticket: $22
- Advanced Ride Wristband Ticket: $25
- Advanced Season Parking Pass: $18
All advanced tickets and parking passes can be purchased online at the fair’s ticket webpage.
Ticket/Parking Pricing After the Fair Begins
Tickets and parking passes purchased during the fair are:
- Daily Admission Ticket for Kids 10 & Under: Free
- Daily Admission Ticket Before Noon: $6
- Daily Admission Ticket After Noon: $9
- Season Admission Ticket: $25
- Daily Parking Pass: $6
- Season Parking Pass: $22
- Ride Wristband: $30
Be on the lookout for several Marathon County Government departments assisting with the county fair, including:
- Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department
- Sheriff’s Department
- Aging & Disability Resource Center – Central Wisconsin
- Solid Waste Department
Whether you volunteer or compete at the fair — or just wish to attend the FUN — you can find the latest information at the Wisconsin Valley Fair website and their Facebook page.
Office Hours are:
- Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. to noon (during fair season)
- Mondays 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (in the off-season)
Don’t miss the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the Wisconsin Valley Fair
— back at Marathon Park in Wausau, August 3–8!
4-H Program Coordinator | University of Wisconsin Extension–Cooperative Extension
Kaitlyn Bernarde is the Marathon County 4-H Program Coordinator for UW-Extension, where she has worked since April 2018. She is a graduate of Marathon High School, has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, divides her time between volunteer management and expanding access to 4-H programs. Her passion is strengthening Marathon County youth and adults via education, opportunities, and experiences. In her free time, you can find her exploring Wisconsin with her husband, consuming the news of the day, and trying a new cup of coffee with her family. Email Kaitlyn Bernarde.
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