The carnival rides and grandstand entertainment will not start until Wednesday. But for the first time in several years, the Northern Wisconsin State Fair is starting on a Tuesday night.
Fair Executive Director Rusty Volk calls the session from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday a fair preview, with $3 admission for fairgoers age 12 and older.
The preview is intended to get people to come out and enjoy the fair, and to make sure fair employees are prepared when the fair kicks into full gear Wednesday.
“The carnival is still setting up and we wanted to direct people away from the carnival area,” Volk said.
That’s OK, because there will be plenty of activities elsewhere. For example, a panel of local media will judge the food from fair vendors. They will crown the best fried food; sandwiches; deserts and beverages.
North American Midway Carnival will also announce a new ride it is bringing to the fair, Volk said. And the five Fairest of the Fair candidates will be announced.
Plus there will be musical entertainment in the fairgrounds tap beer garden.
Wednesday’s official start of the fair features the legendary country group, the Oak Ridge Boys, playing in the grandstand at 8 p.m.
“Ticket sales are very brisk at this time for the Oak Ridge Boys. If you want to see them, you best try to get a reserved seat,” Volk said.
Reserved seats for the nightly grandstand acts are $15. A $20 combo for fair admission and a reserved seat is available from the fair’s website, http://www.northernwistatefair.com
Other grandstand acts include: 8 p.m. Thursday, Jerrod Niemann; 8 p.m. Friday, Randy Houser; 8 p.m. Saturday, Grand Funk Railroad; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Hyland.
Volk said a new attraction at the fair this year is a zip-line—a pulley suspended on a cable. People are placed in a harness and hang on for a ride that covers 90 feet.
The zip-line is located near the main entrance of the fair, Volk said.
The fair will also hold various contests, including ones for milk drinking, Hula Hoop-ing, karaoke and pie eating.
The popular Swifty Swine racing pigs will return.
The fair’s talent show will be offered at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. A teen dance will be held at 9:30 p.m. A DJ will provide the music and Big Brothers and Big Sisters will provide the chaperones.
In the AgVenture tent, there will be vegetable races, and fairgoers will have the opportunity to milk a mechanical cow.
Thursday night will be the annual animal auction. And in the Outdoor Life Building throughout the fair, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College will provide demonstrations for prospective students.
On Friday at 12:30 p.m., the finals of the Fairest of the Fair contest will take place.
Parking and admission to the fairgrounds on Sunday will be free until 11 a.m. so people can attend a 10:30 a.m. non-denominational worship service five churches are holding in the grandstand area.
There is also an antique tractor parade at 2 p.m. Sunday.
People attending Sunday who bring a canned food item will receive a $1 food coupon that’s redeemable at fair food stands. Cash donations will also be accepted.
The donations will go to Feed My People, which supplies area food banks. Volk said a $1 donation helps Feed My People to get 10 pounds of food.
The goal of fairs nationwide is to collect 20 million pounds of food for the hungry.