The Langlade County Fair will be held for the 134th time this summer, but it will be pared down and have a very different look and feel.
Following a series of meetings, the fair’s board of directors announced today that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “modified” exposition will be held July 31 and Aug. 1.
“Although the entertainers, carnival, vendors and exhibitors were still hoping to participate in this year’s fair, we feel the event cannot be ran safely at full capacity.,” Rhonda Klement, fair coordinator, explained. “When planning the fair, the safety of all attending is always a high priority. But this year, in our opinion, the feasibility of keeping everyone safe, to our standards, could not be obtained when holding the fair in its entirety.”
For this year, the fair will be a two-day event comprised of the sprint car race July 31, and demo derby Aug. 1 in front of the grandstand. In addition, a market animal jackpot show and sale will be held July 31 in the livestock pavilion.
Klement said the decision allows some events to continue, while rewarding the youth who have been raising market animals—some for two years in the case of the steers—and who cannot “shelve” their livestock until 2021.
THE SALE STAYS—Grace Schuessler cheers and raises her trophy high as her champion market lamb was auctioned during the 2019 Langlade County Fair. This year’s event will be severely pared down due to changes forced by the COVD19 pandemic. But there will be a market animal show and sale, allowing young exhibitors to show and sell their championship market animals. A demo derby and sprint car racing is also planned at the event, scheduled July 31 and Aug. 1.
“The economic financial strains by COVID-19 were also considered,” she said. “ Many of our vendors, sponsors, and carnival are and may be experiencing financial hardships. We didn’t feel it was justified to ask for support during a time of economic strain or ask them to operate when maximum attendance may not have been reached.”
The fair is also a major fund-raiser for many local nonprofit, another area that was considered.
“We are grateful for the organizations that participate at the fair,” Klement said. “ But many had voiced concerns of limited volunteers and lower attendance causing smaller profit margins. We want to assure all non-profit organizations they will be invited back for 2021 and are guaranteed their existing selling location.”
The fair is a summer highlight for thousands of youth, volunteers, vendors and spectators, but the restrictions of social distancing works in the exact opposite its purpose.
“To maintain the social distancing guidelines would be difficult, unattainable, and take away from the true fair experience that our community has grown to appreciate,” Klement said. “But it can be managed on a smaller scale with fewer areas in operation.”
Each year, since 1886, the Langlade County Fair has come together with the community, exhibitors, organizations and local businesses to showcase the services, talents and heritage of Langlade County. It has given the community a place to gather, greet friends, and spend family time.
"We thank you for understanding and supporting the board in making this decision,” Klement said. “ We hope you will attend the modified event.”
The proceeds will continue to benefit the Langlade County Fair Association which supports the youth of Langlade County.”