July 23, 2007
The Wright County Fair - 'Everyone is going!'
By Jenni Sebora
Young and old, and everyone in between, clamor to Howard Lake for the annual county fair. The fair averages about 45,000 people in its annual celebration, and this year will most likely be no exception.
There are many reasons why people attend the fair year after year. 4-H participation, free entertainment, daily cash drawings, fair food and excellent grandstand acts are all what 36-year fair board member and fair secretary Dennis Beise claim as some of the great attributes of the Wright County Fair.
This year’s grandstand “shows” will once again provide exciting entertainment. The popular demolition derby, tractor and truck pull, and the talent show will all be part of the grand stand action once again this year, but a new “act” has been added to the venue this year.
Rumbling the stands on Wednesday, July 25, opening night of the fair, will be the all new combine demolition derby. “We have about 15 combines so far, but we’re looking for more,” Beise commented.
“We wanted to try something different and new,” Beise said.
Although the combine demo derby is new to the Wright County Fair, other cities and celebrations have sponsored the derby and with great success. It has been drawing good crowds, “so we thought we wanted to give it a try,” Beise added.
Also new to the fair is the awarding of “The Friend of the Fair.” As part of the opening ceremonies, the award will be presented to the honoree.
The award is to show honor and appreciation to a volunteer who has given outstanding commitment and service to the Wright County Fair.
Last year, the first year of the special award, Taddy Drusch was donned “The Friend of the Fair.”
On opening night, fair goers can also see the 2007 Fairest of the Fair crowned. An array of single women, ages 17 22, from Wright County compete for the title.
The 2006 Fairest of the Fair is Courtney Heuer, Miss Congeniality and Princess of the Fair is Hope Braatz, and Kirie Marshall was also crowned princess of the fair.
Musical and other forms of entertainment are not in short supply at the fair either. A variety of music genres can be enjoyed this year also.
The Circle Back Band, Silverado, Wagon Wheelers Band, Blind Pigs and the Castaways are among the entertainment. The Castaways used to open for the Beach Boys in concert.
Franko the Hypnotist is also back this year to “hypnotize” folks with his talent among other family entertainment acts.
The Timberjacks will also be making a return, available to the public every day of the fair.
The exotic animals petting zoo, silly pig races, 4-H shows, demonstrations, and animals, Midway rides and activities, and of course, the delicious fair food, are among the fun things to experience every day at the fair.
Beise enjoys the 4-H animals and shows, which is how Beise actually started his involvement with the fair.
At the age of eight or nine, Beise, along with his twin brother, began showing their purebred hogs at the fair. The two grew up near Buffalo and enjoyed showing their hogs that they raised together.
Because of that experience, Beise’s interest in the fair continued just in a different capacity organizing and running the fair for others to enjoy.
Although the county owns the buildings and grounds on the fairgrounds, it is the fair board’s responsibility to manage and maintain both the grounds and the fair.
Last year the county purchased more land for the grounds, and a little over 11 acres was seeded and is available for parking this year.
The board receives money from the county commissioners for mowing the grass and other such duties.
The secretary of the fair board is the manager of the fair, which Beise has been for the last several years.
“I like to see that everything happens right. I like to see that we have a nice fair and everything is done right,” Beise said.
Beise also enjoys working with the various people.
“We have a lot of good vendors,” Beise said. “Treat people right, and they will treat you with respect.”
With that philosophy, the Wright County Fair is sure to draw crowds for years to come and be a place where “everyone is going.”
Check out the Wright County Fair’s web site at www.wrightcountyfair.com to get the full schedule of events.
Wright County Fair
Days: Wednesday through Sunday, July 25-29 in Howard Lake
Wednesday, July 25, 6 p.m.
Wright County Fair Board of Directors
Jerry Quaal, President
Ward Westphal, Vice President
Dennis Beise, Secretary
George Mead, Treasurer
Gary A. Fieldseth, Director-at-Large