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Trio looking for more Friends of the Fair

Workers installing new doors in the arena barn on the Pierce County Fairgrounds earlier this summer. The project was one of the first coordinated by the Friends of the Fair (Photo by Vicky Howe).

As the 2013 Pierce County Fair launches this week, a group of three men have begun thinking about the future--of the fair and its fairgrounds.

Jack Hines and Bill Emery, along with Bill Schroeder, recently formed Pierce County Friends of the Fair., Inc., whose mission is to improve and assist the fair and the Pierce County Fairgrounds.

“We want to see an increase of special events,” Emery said. “We would like to see it be used more year-round.”

Emery brings up a valid point when one looks at the schedule. Currently, the special events on the fairgrounds are the fair, motocross, Polka Fest, the Beldenville Old Car Club Show and the FFA Tractor Pull. With the exception of the tractor pull, which is held in June, the rest are within a month-span, meaning the fairgrounds mostly sits vacant for 11 months.

“Whatever it takes to attract more people, we are willing to do it,” Emery said. “We want everyone in the county to become (Friends) members. The fairgrounds are not just for Ellsworth.”


It’s no secret fair workers and the Pierce County Board for years have looked at ways to reduce the fair’s dependence on the tax levy.

Last year’s fair illustrates the example. With perfect weather during the four days, the 2012 edition had the biggest gate revenue collection along with the second highest attendance since 2006; yet, the fair still finished in the red as revenues fell about $8,400 short of expenditures.

One effort to help cut into the deficit was the creation of a social garden, which will launch for the first time at this year’s fair.

Another example was an establishment of a foundation, run by the public, with public funds going toward the fair.

Emery said County Board Chairman Jeff Holst approached Emery and Hines to see if they were interested. The pair, along with Schroeder, accepted.

“We want to enhance the fair,” Hines said. “It’s a good fair and we want to make it something better.”

The Friends have already contributed with new doors to the arena barn constructed earlier this summer, along with the purchase of table and chairs for the barn as well.

Hines said for $20, one will be a lifetime member. if interested, checks can be sent to Friends of the Fair, P.O. Box 406, Ellsworth, WI 54011.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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