The Vernon County Fair, which runs Sept. 11-15, will once again feature Junior Fair and Open Class exhibits, food, commercial exhibits, carnival rides and games, and a wide variety of other activities and events.
This year’s theme is “Makin’ Memories,” and it will be used for decorating buildings, barns and the grounds. Bill Marohl, treasurer of the Vernon County Agricultural Society Board of Directors, said there is a cultural arts class in Junior Fair that gives youth an opportunity to design a cover and define a theme for the Vernon County Fair – Official Premium Book.
“A lot of kids enter,” Marohl said. “Three Fair Board members determine next year’s winner.”
Each entry includes specific words that must be on the premium book cover. All entries are judged for premiums. The exhibitor whose fair book cover is selected receives a check for $25 when the book is published. Ella A. Penchi, a member of the Retreat Ramblers 4-H Club, designed this year’s premium book cover.
Marohl said the premium book cover class has been offered for about five or six years.
Every year improvements are made to the fairgrounds, and this year isn’t an exception. One of this year’s improvements is the repainting of the Youth Activity Building.
Another improvement is the relocation of the poultry and rabbit exhibits to the old Open Class Barn No. 1. “We got a grant to buy new rabbit cages and stands,” Marohl said.
The turkey exhibits will be housed in the original rabbit and poultry building.
The horse corral that is set up on the southeast end of the fairgrounds for the regular horse show and the draft horse show, has been move a bit to the west. The move was made, Marohl said, because it offers a flatter and smoother surface.
A new guardrail was installed in the tractor pull and demolition derby areas for safety.
The Fair Board is working on a new project – replacement of the bathrooms on west end of the fairgrounds. Marohl said the board will be taking donations for the project. “Plans and designs are being worked on.” He said the outlay of the new bathrooms will be like those in the Vernon Memorial Healthcare Expo Center.
At one point, there was discussion of building new bathrooms that would also include a new fair office. “The bathrooms are the big priority,” Marohl said.
Marohl said the Fair Board hopes to start the project after the fair or the first part of 2020. “We want to get going.”
A few additions were made to the premium book this year. Some new projects were added to the Junior Fair portion of the premium book. Marohl said mechanical projects and STEM-related projects were added, along with Legos. About five or six categories were also added to the Open Class Antiques Department.
A few highlights
A new event – horse pulling — will take place in front of the grandstand, Saturday, Sept. 14, at 10:30 a.m. The pull returns after an absence of 30-some years.
The draft horse show will start on Saturday, Sept. 14, at a new time – 11:45 a.m.
Harness racing will only be held on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. Marohl said racing is only one day because the number of racers is dwindling.
Nick’s Kids Show and TA-DA Robots Show return to the Bob Fredrick Free Stage. Local entertainment will also grace the stage. Country music artist Tyler Deaver, a Viroqua High School graduate now living in Nashville, Tennessee, will be bringing his band to the stage Saturday, Sept. 14, for performances from 1-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Local businesses have volunteered to work the gates, so fair-goers will see some new faces as they enter the fairgrounds.
The Fair Board is inviting fair-goers to share any photos they take during this year’s fair. A drop box has been added to the fair’s website, and Marohl said he encourages visitors to put photos in the drop box for use on the fair’s website and on social media.
“We hope all will come to the fair,” Marohl said. “We’re proud of the fair and we get good comments. We want everyone to come and have a good time. We’re a family-orientated fair.”