Wisconsin Public Radio

State Fair Returns, With Pandemic Changes

Some areas going cashless, some events on hiatus.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Aug 3rd, 2021 11:58 am
Wisconsin State Fair. Photo taken August 1, 2019 by Jeramey Jannene.

Wisconsin State Fair. Photo taken August 1, 2019 by Jeramey Jannene.

The Wisconsin State Fair is coming back Thursday after last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, but with delta variant of the coronavirus spreading across the state, organizers say this year’s edition won’t be completely back to normal.

It is the fair’s 170th edition and will continue daily through Aug. 15.

Jen Puente is the fair’s chief marketing officer. She said masks are recommended, but not required, in the fair’s buildings. New CDC guidelines suggest even fully vaccinated people mask up indoors.

“I think everyone would agree that it has kind of wreaked havoc on our lives, especially these last, you know, 18 months or so,” said Puente.

The announcement the fair would go forward this year came in late April.

“We had a lot of sponsors and vendors that weren’t willing to sign up and be able to issue contracts until we confirmed we’re having a fair, so planning has been very, very accelerated this year,” said Puente. “We’re feeling like we’re not missing a beat, and we’re still able to move forward with a great fair.”

Puente said the fair is doing everything it can to keep people safe while maintaining the basic State Fair experience.

“We’ve also had a year plus off from being able to gather with friends and family, and that’s really where the state fair reigns supreme, is we offer that opportunity for people to come together,” said Puente. “After a year off, and a lot of people, you know, working through their struggles, we are trying to have the best and most normal fair as we possibly can.”

Puente said the fair will be monitoring further COVID-19 developments in the days ahead.

Among other changes, certain events, such as daily parades, will not be taking place this year. The fair’s hours will also be shortened, and admission and parking will both be cashless.

Other aspects of the fair will carry on. The main stage, for example, will feature a wide spectrum of acts, from comedian Gabriel Iglesias to The Beach Boys and Christian rock band Skillet.

“We’re just so excited to be back to the traditions,” said Puente. “The importance of the State Fair is coming together to celebrate everything we’re so proud of in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin State Fair Back For 2021 With Pandemic Changes was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

One thought on “State Fair Returns, With Pandemic Changes”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Hard to believe there’s no mask mandate at the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair.

    COVID denial is alive and well in the State of Wisconsin.

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