The Wisconsin State Fair is coming to West Allis again this August 2020, marking its 169th year running. Hosted in Fair Park, the State Fair is the absolute highlight of the year—every year! The fair is chock full of entertainment, live music, agricultural education exhibits, animal exhibits, shopping, food concessions, competitions, amusement rides, games, and much more. The State Fair offers 11 full-days of constant activities and family-friendly fun. Attending this fair is one of the most popular things to do in Wisconsin, with nearly 1,000,000 people in attendance last year!
The Fair Park was established in 1891 after nearly 100 acres of farmland was purchased from George Stevens by the Wisconsin Agricultural Society. The Agricultural Society bought the land to use as more a permanent location where they could host the Wisconsin State Fair. Despite being intended for a state fair, the fairgrounds have an interesting usage history.
During the Spanish-American War, the park was used as a staging area for military troops, known as “Camp Harvey.” The fairgrounds also worked as a staging ground for the military during both World War I and II. Two historical monuments, which document the events, are still standing near the entrance of the Wisconsin Exposition Center.
The Green Bay Packers also played many football games at the park, from 1934 to 1951, before moving to County Stadium in 1953. The park hosted the famous 1939 NFL Championship Game, where the Packers dominated the New York Giants.
Event Details & Attractions
Tickets for the Wisconsin State Fair are very affordable. Adult admission is only $14, while children (between 6 and 11 years old), seniors, and military/veterans are only $8. Any kids under the age of 5 get in for free. Also, if you buy a ticket for a concert at the Main Stage, admission to the fair (for one day) is included!
The fair has a ton of live music performances to check out while you’re there. Shows can be caught at the Main Stage, Amphitheater, and over 30 different vendor stages featuring free music from local bands.
The “Main Stage” at the State Fair features live music from a variety of famous performers. Bands playing many different genres (from country to hip-hop) take the stage throughout the 11-day fair. This year will feature Skillet with Colton Dixon & Ledger, Chris Young, Bethel Music, Brothers Osborne with Ryan Hurd, Boyz II Men with Ginuwine, and The Beach Boys!
Agricultural & Animal Exhibits
Agriculture is one of the main aspects of the State Fair. Last year saw over 7,000 animals partaking in contests and nearly 3,000 participants in competitive exhibits. The State Fair features barn closures, show rings, educational exhibits on agriculture, horticulture exhibits, as well as exhibits displaying textiles, crafts, and culinary delights. For more information regarding what to expect from these, check this page on the official website.
Arts & Culture
Aside from live music and other entertainment, the State Fair provides plenty of cultural exhibitions and art displays. Art displays range from a “Cow-Temporary Art Walk,” which features diverse art in an outdoor gallery, to a “Young People’s Art Exhibit,” which displays art pieces created by 6th-12th graders from across the state.
Rides & Games
A fair of any type isn’t really a fair without some amusement rides and games! The State Fair’s “SpinCity” area features over 50 different rides and 30 games for both children and adults.
Food Concessions & Shopping
Each year the Wisconsin State Fair offers over 200 food concession stands. According to their website, these 200 locations offer over “800 different food and beverage options.”If you’ve ever experienced any of Wisconsin’s best restaurants, then you wouldn’t be too surprised at the scrumptious quality of the food. Fan-favorites include “butter-dripping corn-on-the-cob, steaming hot deep-fried cheese curds,” and the famous Original Cream Puffs (over 400,000 are sold each year). Their website even offers a “Food Finder” if you’re looking for something specific!
Shopping at the State Fair is just as extensive as other aspects, with over 500 different vendors to browse through. There are multiple shopping locations throughout the park. The exact list of shops that will be in attendance this 2020 isn’t quite listed yet, but you can expect to find almost anything you’re looking for! As the website states, vendor items are versatile enough that “you could plan your home remodel, get gear for your next camping trip, or wrap up your Christmas shopping early.”
That’s Not All!
There’s a literal mountain of activities to experience at the Wisconsin State Fair. Aside from everything we’ve mentioned here, there’s a lot more to check out. Competitions, a daily parade, an exploratory park, activity zones, garden walks, pig racing, an energy-efficient park—each day at the fair offers new fun activities! This year, the State Fair begins on August 6th and finishes up on August 16th. If you can, come down and experience at least one day of fun at the Wisconsin State Fair this 2020!