Claire Fox, of Brighton serves as Fairest of the Fair.

Centennial Celebration: Kenosha County Fair means even more in 2021

After a year hiatus, visitors enjoying a return to a local summer staple

By Daniel GaitanKENOSHA.COM

Gaitan is a proud Kenosha native who has covered his local community for much of his professional career. The DePaul University graduate served previously as an award-winning writer for the Kenosha News.

WILMOT — Thousands are visiting the Kenosha County Fair this weekend to celebrate the area’s farmers and artisans, and soak up some outdoor fun.

This year’s fair, 30820 111th St., is extra special because it marks its 100th anniversary, a celebration delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We never imagined having a year like 2020, with no fair or other events, so to be able to plan and execute the 100th anniversary of the first Kenosha County Fair took on even more meaning for the Fair Board, superintendents and volunteers,” fair manager Denise Zirbel said in a statement.

“We are excited to welcome back our exhibitors, vendors and guests to celebrate this historic milestone with us.”

Claire Fox, of Brighton, serves as Fairest of the Fair. She said this year is one for the history books. 

“It’s a very big year for us, and we brought even more events to celebrate it,” the 21-year-old said. “It feels great. I’ve been a part of the fair since I was probably six.”

Fox encourages anyone with questions about the fair to chat with her if they see her on the grounds. She wears a sparkly tiara. 

“It’s a very big year for us, and we brought even more events to celebrate it.”

– Claire Fox, the Fairest of the Fair

“Growing up, I loved showing at the fair. I showed pigs, turkeys and rabbits. I’ve also done some baking. I’ve done quite a few exhibits over the years. My personal favorite is the pie auction,” she said. 

Diana Christofferson, a member of the Fairest of the Fair Committee, said it feels “exciting and wonderful” to be “together as a community again.”

Heather Daniels, the Kenosha County Dairy Promotion ambassador, expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s so great to see all the dairy kids and see all the hard work they put into all their cows,” she said. “We love seeing all the dairy farms and their kids and grandkids. It’s a whole family affair. We’ve had such a good turnout this year. 

Dannielle Fisher, of Trevor, had daughters Carter and Riley in the S.E.A. Hamsters pool.

Daniels was busy selling milk, ice cream and cheese sticks. She hopes the fair will help encourage young people to pursue careers in the dairy industry and educate locals about their efforts. 

“We want to get education out there about the dairy industry and agriculture industry to help keep it going,” she said. “You’ve got to love cheese.”

Chris Stalker, of Trevor, brought her grandkids, Hailey and Aria, to the petting zoo in the Family Fun Zone. They come every year. 

“We’re having a blast,” she said. “The kids love it and that’s all that matters.” 

A few feet from the Stalkers, Dannielle Fisher, of Trevor, had daughters Carter and Riley in the S.E.A. Hamsters pool. The young participants get placed in a large plastic ball and then dropped in a pool. 

Holly Fleming is the owner of the Happy Camper Coffee Company.

“This is so awesome because we missed out on the fair last year,” she said. We’ve done rides, walked around, looked at exhibits and now have been doing more rides.” 

Holly Fleming, owner of the Happy Camper Coffee Company, said business is good at the fair. She said the fair exemplifies everything great about southeastern Wisconsin.

“It’s nice to see everybody you haven’t seen for two years. Everybody seems happy to get out,” she said. “You see people from the city and they have a lot of questions about the fair. It’s fun to be able to chat with them. There’s something for everybody here. You can have great food, great music and fun things to watch.”