Seven things to know for the Kewaunee County Fair, including a hometown monster truck
LUXEMBURG – What's going to be new and exciting at the Kewaunee County Fair this year?
Well, just holding the fair is kinda new in a way, since the cancellation of last year's because of the COVID-19 pandemic means this will be the first one here since 2019. So, it's the first chance in two years to ride a Ferris wheel or tilt-a-whirl, win prizes playing carnival games, see animals shown by their owners and judged, check out exhibits, and pig out on cotton candy, funnel cakes and corn dogs.
With all those returning after their absence, the fair also has one major new event and a new pavilion to show off.
Here are seven things to know about, and some highlights of, the 2021 Kewaunee County Fair.
Cleaner rides but few other changes for COVID-19
Those attending the fair won't face any restrictions regarding social distancing, face masks or other public health precautions, said Isabella Haen, fair board secretary. However, it is recommended that fair goers who haven't been vaccinated wear a mask.
Haen also said hand sanitizer will be available in several locations on the grounds, and she believes Spectrum Carnival, which puts on the rides, concessions and midway, plans to sanitize the rides after each use. Haen added that the food stands might have more pre-packaged condiments and other items, which many concession stands have been doing recently, but otherwise there are no major pandemic-related changes.
And, as is the case for all events with larger gatherings of people across the state, those who don't feel well or are having COVID-19 symptoms are asked to stay home.
Motorized mayhem: Hometown car crusher, tugging tractors
The new main attraction at this year's fair is a national monster truck show featuring a local competitor.
Kewaunee native Brandan Tulachka is piloting his Just Get Er Done II as part of the All Star Monster Truck tour that competes across the country. Two more high-riding, huge-wheeled car-crushing trucks are scheduled to take part in racing, freestyle and best trick competitions starting at 7 p.m. on July 9.
And, for those who want to experience what it's like to climb up into one of the 1,500-horespower monsters and pound the ground of the fairgrounds race track, truck rides will be offered around the track from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and after the show; a meet-and-greet with the drivers will be held before the show as well. Cost of the monster truck rides is $10 and there are no age or height requirements.
Those who feel inspired to get their own vehicles dirty can take part in the Rough Truck and ATV/UTV Challenge that's part of the monster truck show. Cars, trucks and SUVs in one class and ATVs and UTVs in another will speed around a dirt course with jumps and turns one at a time, and anyone whose vehicle meets safety requirements can enter between 4 and 6 p.m. the day of the event. A $40 pit pass is good for one vehicle, driver and crew person, and it costs $20 for each additional crew member.
That's not the only motorized mayhem of the fair, as N.E.W. Motorsports brings its truck and tractor pull competition to the grandstand at 6 p.m. on July 10. That's been a very popular event of the fair, and entries are being accepted, but Haen said the monster trucks should bring people into the stands as well.
"The tractor pull has traditionally been one of our bigger events, but we hope the monster trucks will draw a big crowd," Haen said.
A more literal form of horsepower will be on display at the grandstands the other two days of the fair.
On opening night, the Wisconsin Pony Pullers Association holds a horse pull at 6 p.m. July 8. Then on July 11, an Open Speed Show begins at 9 a.m. with horses and riders in three age groups competing in 20 different classes. Entries are being accepted for this event, too.
Prizes for the best dressed … runner?
Another way for fairgoers to take part in the fair, or just sit back and watch the quirkiness, is the annual Crown and Sash Dash, a 5K run/walk for all ages starting at 8:30 a.m. July 10, and ending at the fairgrounds.
As the title implies, participants are invited to don formal wear to run; it's not mandatory but prizes are awarded for best dressed male and female in four age groups.
Proceeds go to the Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair contest.
Midway music offers alt country, glam rock
A variety of popular local and regional bands are joined by a national touring country band to entertain music fans on the Van's Lumber Midway Stage.
One of the headliners is Diamonds & Whiskey, an award-winning alt-country band fronted by vocalist Jennifer Lauren out of Charlotte, North Carolina that blends New Orleans roots-rock with mountain country sounds. They're on stage from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 10.
Also on stage July 10 is The Glam Band, a Northeast Wisconsin-based outfit that brings back the sound of 1980s hair metal and hardcore glam rock, as you'll be able to guess as soon as you see them. They play from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Other regional bands take to the Midway Stage, including popular pop/rock band Boogie and the Yo-Yo'z at 7 p.m. July 8.
July 9 features dance/polka band Jerry Voelker and His Jolly Gents at noon, cover rock band Road Trip at 5 p.m. and country cover band Grand Union at 9 p.m.
Local acoustic duo Gil Sans opens the July 10 shows at 1 p.m., and Ron & Mike close the stage to cover everything from the Blues Brothers to Elvis or Waylon and Willie at 2 p.m. July 11.
Two of Wisconsin's most famous barbecuers return to the fair for what promises to be a (literally) hotly contested event.
Nationally recognized, self-proclaimed "griil-ologists" Mad Dog & Merrill of the "Midwest Grill'n" TV show will pit their barbecue skills against local chefs on the midway at 12:30 p.m. July 11.
The pair made their fair debut in 2019, competing against grilling teams from area fire departments.
FOR MORE KEWAUNEE COUNTY NEWS: Check out our homepage
Dine, march with the chamber
While not technically fair activities, the Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring two of its traditional events to help people get into the spirit of the fair.
First, the public is invited as the chamber holds its Fair Kick Off Dinner on July 6, two nights before the opening, in the Midway Building at the fairgrounds. A social hour starts at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7. Admission is $15 per person, and tickets can be purchased by calling the chamber at 920-606-0311 or in the village at Stodola's IGA or the Bank of Luxemburg or Nicolet National Bank branches.
Second, the chamber also sponsors the Kewaunee County Fair Parade at 11:30 a.m. July 11 through downtown Luxemburg.
The route starts at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1412 Main St., and heads up Main to Ralph Street, then First Street, then Elm Street, ending at the fairgrounds. This year's parade has a country and Western theme, and businesses and organizations are welcome to join the parade; there is no charge or advance registration.
To enter the parade, be at Main Street and Church Road no later than 10 a.m.
The Kewaunee County Fair takes place from July 8 to 11 at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, 625 Third St., Luxemburg. Gates open at noon Thursday, July 8; 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, July 9 and10; and 10 a.m. Sunday, July 11.
Single-day admission is $10 July 8, $15 July 9, $10 July 10 and free ($5 for carnival rides) July 11; $25 for all four days. Pre-sale admissions good for all four days can be purchased from numerous businesses in the county through June 30; cost is $10 with no rides, $20 with rides; see the fair website for the list of places selling in advance under the "Admissions" tab. Admissions include all grandstand events and midway entertainment.
Parking is $5 daily or $10 for a season pass.
For more information, call 920-845-9798 (starting July 5, or leave a voice message before then); visit kewauneecountyfair.com or facebook.com/kewauneecountyfair; or email [email protected]. A complete schedule is available on the website.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Seven things to know for the Kewaunee County Fair, including a hometown monster truck