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Countdown continues for start of county fair

ELLSWORTH -- Cotton candy, Ferris wheels, clowns, rides, cattle, homemade cakes and pies. Everyone remembers these county fair staples from childhood. It’s an American family tradition.

The first such fair in Pierce County was in 1859 but held in Prescott.

Prescott was also the county seat at that time.  The Agriculture Society sponsored the County Fair and moved it to Ellsworth in 1884 where it continues to this day.

The fair continued to be run by the Ag Society until 1942 when the county bought the Fairgrounds. It’s been paid for by the county ever since.

According to Pierce County Fair Coordinator Ann Webb, the Ellsworth Fairgrounds has one unique building -- a round barn -- that most county fairs don’t have.

The round barn was built in 1920 at cost of $36,000. The Ag Society sold shares for $50 to build it. 

When the round barn was recently re-shingled, it took 17,334 shingles, 69,336 nails, with every shingle having to be cut to fit. This is 52,002 feet of shingles, or 10 miles. 

Over 200 gallons of paint was used recently to spruce up the outside appearance by the summer grounds crew.

“Be sure to take a good look at this amazing structure when you visit our fairgrounds,” said. Webb

The theme for this year is: ‘Pierce County Fair – A Slice of Wisconsin,’ running from Aug. 8-11.

On Friday, Aug. 9, to honor senior citizens, admission for those 62 and older is only $2.

On Sunday, Aug. 11, to honor veterans, there will be free admission for anyone who served in the military. Regular daily admission to the fair is $5. 

With lots of shade, blacktopped pathways, plenty of benches and picnic tables, Webb says it makes a comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone.

“Don’t forget, though, the fair is actually a four-day event,” she adds. “We open on Thursday, August 8, and round off the activities on Sunday, August 11.

“Take advantage of the hourly free entertainment.  That is a heck of a value for the cost of admission.” 

Webb says the county fair’s food is not to be overlooked.

“If you are looking for corn dogs and cotton candy, we have it,” she said. “Or the home-cooked specials from the church stands. 

“From the huge breakfasts, to a sizzling hamburger or the homemade pies, you can’t beat any of it.”

Webb calls the various 4-H and open-class exhibits the “absolute highlight” of the county fair.

“From the 4-H chocolate chip cookies to the intricately detailed heirloom quilt, the Pierce County Fair has it all,” she says. “Did you realize that we have over 11,000 entries and over 8,500 exhibits?  We are extremely proud of the number of projects that are available for your viewing pleasure. 

“There is live animal judging going on throughout the fair.  Go watch a cattle show, stroll through the photography exhibits, taste a great meal, and enjoy the free entertainment or chatting with a former acquaintance.”

For questions, more information and entertainment updates, contact the Pierce County Fair office at 715-273-6874 or go to