The Dodge County Fair will celebrate its 125th anniversary this summer, and the fair board has plans to make it a special event for all who attend.
The board met Saturday afternoon at Best Western – Campus Inn to announce its 2012 plans, and to list its chosen entertainers. The named musicians will perform each evening from Aug. 15 through 19 at the fairgrounds just east of Beaver Dam on Highway 33.
“The theme this year is “Remember the past, enjoy the present and look to the future,” said board co-secretary/treasurer Sharon Keil. “We want people to know that this is happening. We’ll probably dress for the past one day – and maybe into the future.”
Performing at this year’s event will be the Eli Young Band on Thursday, Jake Owens on Friday and Jerrod Niemann on Saturday. A performer has not yet been named for Wednesday.
The board has focused on finding young talent to control costs. Those costs have risen dramatically..
“Entertainment prices have skyrocketed,” said Keil. “It’s a real challenge. A lot of fairs have dropped entertainment because of the price.”
Still, she is confident that the mainly country musicians will please the crowds, which can reach up to 50,000 people over the five-day event.
Traditional favorites will return, such as truck, tractor and horse pulls; 4-H animal and project competitions and sales; food; the Wild World of Animals” show; and a host of other offerings.
“A lot of events will remain the same, but there are other things that are still in the works,” Keil said.
Plans are progressing for a new small animal building, according to Sara Nehls. The goal is to raise $100,000 for the building, helped along by a starter donation of $10,000 from Farm Technology Days organizers.
“It will be for poultry, rabbits and goats, and will stand where the tent used to go,” said Nehls. “We’ll be raising money through a frozen food fundraiser, raffles, silent auctions, gift box sales and a lot of other activities.”
In answer to a request that the fair association support the project, Keil answered, “We’ll definitely be working with them hand in hand, and we hope they have it up by fair time.”
Admission prices reflect changing times, with a hike from $6 to $7 before 2 p.m., and the same $10 per person after 2 p.m. A season pass will cost $27 before Aug. 15, and $35 during the fair. Exhibitor tickets will be $24.
Bill Christian took the opportunity to thank the hundreds of people who make the fair a success.
“During my years on the board there have been a lot of changes – real positive changes,” he said. “When I think of the help we get, I say ‘Wow!’ We take care of the grounds, but if it wasn’t for the volunteers we probably couldn’t operate.”
Steve Fitzgerald added, “Thanks also to the service groups that help us out. It’s definitely a community affair. That’s what it’s all about.”