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Streamlined Fair Opens Next Week, Oval Will Come to Life with Racing, Demo and More

July 24, 2020

Fair food, fast action in front of the grandstand, and a sale featuring some of the area’s finest livestock will combine for a “lite” version of the Langlade County Fair opening one week from today.

It’s being billed as  “Wheels in Motion” sponsored by the Langlade County Fair Association, and will involve IRA sprint cars, sport mods and stock car races Friday, July 31 at 6 p.m.; Crazy Crash Motorsports Demo Derby on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 5 p.m.; and the traditional tractor pull Sunday, Aug., 2 at noon.
 

Distinct Aerial Shotz provided this view of the winged sprint cars in action at the 2019 county fair. T
he small, fast, and very loud machines return to the fairgrounds oval on Friday, July 31, 2020.

There will also be a Jackpot Sale, featuring the champion market steers, sheep and swine raised and prepared by 4-H members in preparation for this year’s exposition, Saturday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m. in the livestock pavilion.

According to Rhonda Klement, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a serious curve at organizers hoping for the traditional five-day event, resplendent with music, carnival rides, a bevy of entertainment options and thousands of various judged exhibits.

Many fairs across Wisconsin canceled entirely, but Klement said the Fair Board made the decision to move forward with a smaller, more compact schedule for a variety of reasons.

The animal sale is vitally important to the exhibitors, who have spent up to two years raising their champions and who need some sort of payback. Local nonprofit organizations rely on proceeds from their participation in the fair to fund everything from scholarships to playgrounds. And the Fair Association needs to maintain an operating reserve of dollars for future events.

“We have to ensure our reserves stay at a certain level,” Klement said, stressing the fair stands on its own, with no cash infusion from the county. “If there are no reserves, there is no fair.”

“From the beginning we have been trying to ensure all the nonprofits have something,” she continued. “We’re working diligently to incorporate them in the event so they have an opportunity to make money.”

Fair-goers will find plenty to enjoy. Racecar drivers, demo crashers, and tractor pullers are all anxious to get back to their competitive work, Klement said.

“We had a good response of cars and racers coming,” she said. “Participants are glad they have a place to compete so there should be some good shows.”

And that most treasured of fair traditions—the food—will be back.

The Antigo Optimist Club will be selling its “almost” famous cheese curds, along with an expanded menu featuring garlic parmesan fries and tenderloin steak sandwiches. The wagon will be running Friday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday, 3 to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Optimists will also be offering lunch delivery to area businesses in the city Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Check the Optimist Facebook page or website at antigooptimist.com for the lunch order form and more details.

There will be more fair food on the grounds as well, including funnel cakes, corn dogs, and lemonade and the vendor offering fried rice and other Oriental specialties such as shrimp and fried rice is also back.

The Fair Board will be serving beer, soda, and water, with the FFA, Lions Club and Elks Lodge handling 50/50 raffles.

There is no charge for parking, so fair-goers are invited to come out for lunch or dinner, even if they don’t catch a grandstand show.

Klement said fair-goers are asked to follow the Centers for Disease Control guideline regarding social distancing, hand-washing and sanitation. Facial coverings will be encouraged but not required.

Advance ticket purchase online is also encouraged to trim the lines at the ticket booths. Online purchasers will have a designated window for quicker gate processing.

“We’re hoping people will be respectful,” she said. “We want everyone to come out and enjoy the events. It’s something they haven’t been able to do this summer in other counties.”

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