The Vernon County Fair, which runs Sept. 12-16, will once again feature Junior Fair and Open Class exhibits, carnival rides, food, and a wide variety of other activities and events.
Bill Marohl, treasurer of the Vernon County Agricultural Society Board, said there will be plenty of exhibitors bringing entries for visitors to view.
The number of Open Class exhibitors is 365. “It’s the same number as last year,” Marohl said. “It’s the first time I’ve been doing this that it’s the same as the year before.”
This year there are 311 Junior Fair exhibitors 12 and younger, and 192 Junior Fair exhibitors 13 and older, for a combined total of 503, compared to 478 in 2017. The grand total of Open Class and Junior Fair exhibitors is 859, compared to 834 last year.
The total number of exhibits is expected to be 10,996 this year, compared to 11,039 in 2017. Marohl said the number of exhibits could change by fair week, depending on if such things as flowers and vegetables are ready for picking.
All exhibitors were required to submit their entry forms by Aug. 1. Junior Fair exhibitors are required to register online, while Open Class exhibitors have the option of either registering online or submitting a paper form. This is about the fifth year for online registration, Marohl said.
“Open Class online registration is going up,” he said. “We will do both ways (for Open Class) because some people don’t have computers.”
The agricultural society is once again selling an all-inclusive season pass for $25 that includes entry onto the fairgrounds and into the grandstand for the tractor pulls and demolition derby. Last year was the first time the pass was available.
“That went well; there’s quite a bit of savings,” Marohl said. “We thought we’d do it again and see how it goes.”
All ticket and pass entry options and fees can be found at the fair's website.
Marohl said the most popular events are the demo derby and tractor pulls. The youth pedal tractor pull is also gaining popularity. “Those numbers are going up.”
Since last year’s fair, there have been some improvements made to the fairgrounds. The horse barn has been repainted and some electrical work has been done on the grounds.
The fair board also continues to plan for a fair office/restroom combination project on the west end of the fairgrounds.
“We have preliminary drawings,” Marohl said. “We’re trying to get actual figures. The bathrooms are really old.”
He said the board has been putting money aside for the construction project.
More money will be raised for the office/restroom construction project at an auction on the Bob Fredrick Free Stage, Sunday, Sept. 16, at 12:30 p.m. Marohl said the statues created by a chainsaw carver on the fairgrounds will be sold.
The fair wouldn’t be the fair without the tasty treats served from the local food booths, all of which are the same this year, or Mr. Ed’s Magical Midway. Marohl said this is last year for the current contract with Mr. Ed’s, and the board will negotiate a contract the first of January.
The Vernon County Fair also includes commercial exhibits set up in the Vernon Memorial Healthcare Expo Center and along Fairground Road.
Ken Deaver, board secretary, is in charge of organizing the commercial exhibits. He said usually there are 50 to 60 commercial exhibitors. Each year, he said, features the same type of exhibitors in the expo center from photographers to Bible camps. “There’s a nice variety in there.”
He said the outdoor exhibit area includes such things as independent food vendors and implement dealers. “There’s just a big variety and a lot of them are somewhat local.”
Deaver said he never has any trouble filling the commercial exhibit slots.
Marohl said the Vernon County Fair is special because it’s family-oriented. “We have no beer and people come to the fair to walk around, look around, communicate and have a good time.”
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He said the carnival operators also comment about the fair, saying, “Your fair is more family-centered.”
“The fair is a get-together for people to see each other once a year,” Marohl said. “We have excellent exhibits — both Open Class and Junior Fair — and we keep the numbers up. Dairy number are up a bit (this year).”
Marohl said he is amazed with the volunteers who help throughout the fair and the board members.
“The board that we have is tremendous,” he said. “We all get along and chip in and help each other out.”