The grounds for hosting the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw this year may have single perimeter fence, rather than the standard two fences of recent years.

The Cow Chip Committee requested an ordinance change by the Prairie du Sac Village Board at their June 11 meeting, to allow for a single fence around the festival grounds.

“We’re fine with having a fence, but two is a lot of extra work,” said Marietta Reuter of the Cow Chip Committee. “It’s a lot of extra fencing, it’s a lot of extra posts, it’s a lot of extra manpower hours on us.”

The ordinance, originally passed decades ago, was put in place as a security measure for outdoor events where both alcohol would be sold and minors would be present. An inner fence and an outer fence spaced three feet apart would make it harder for drinks to be handed from one individual inside the festival grounds to another on the outside.

Prairie du Sac Village President Cheryl Sherman said the ordinance “needs to be updated.”

Adults over the age of 21 purchasing or consuming alcohol will be required to wear a wristband at the festival.

Reuter said the Sauk Prairie Police Department, which will have a presence at the Cow Chip Festival, accepted going to one fence instead of two.

Village Board Member Craig Bender questioned whether alcohol could be served at the event because it will be partially held on school grounds in the area of Grand Avenue Elementary School.

Reuter said the Cow Chip Committee received permission from the school.

“Their attorney said it was okay, and the school board approved it,” Reuter said.

Village Administrator Alan Wildman said state law allows for events with alcohol being served to be held on school grounds if school approval is granted.

After discussing whether it would be more prudent to alter the ordinance entirely or keep the current text while adding an option for the Village Board to make exceptions for certain events, the Board decided on the latter.

Wildman recommended adding the option for exceptions to the text of the ordinance so a precedent would not be set that exceptions to any ordinance could be requested for an event.

The changes will need to go through two readings at future Village Board meetings before they can be approved. Wildman said that could be by the end of July.

The Cow Chip Festival is scheduled for the end of August. “It makes a big difference in how much (fencing) we have to buy,” Reuter said.

Other Business

The Village Board voted to accept Wisconsin disaster fund assistance in the amount of $32,039 for damages from the flooding in March.

Wildman said a joint meeting with the Sauk Prairie Police Commission and the Village Boards of Sauk City and Prairie du Sac is being considered to discuss the possibility of a new police department building.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is exploring the possibility of holding a 25 mile bike ride in the Prairie du Sac area along the Great Sauk Trail. The event would be held in 2020.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl or contact him at 608-697-6353


Juneau County Star-Times reporter

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