After careful consideration, much discussion, and perhaps a few tears, the Pepin County Fair Association, Inc., and Pepin County UW-Extension have decided that the 140th Pepin County Fair, held this past July, was the last.
This decision was made for a number of reasons, including the difficulties faced with property usage, lack of volunteers, and being mindful of our most important aspect; the youth exhibitors in 4-H and FFA. PCFAI and UWEX believe it is in the best interest of the youth exhibitors to give them an option to participate in a larger fair setting with better learning opportunities.
The PCFAI could not be more appreciative of those who’ve provided them with funds to do what was done over the six years of the Fair Association’s organization. The Association was created first as a sub-committee under the Pepin County Ag & Extension Committee to build up the Pepin County Fair, and evolved into a community-run, non-profit organization. The PCFAI worked to bring new events such as a pony pull, pedal tractor pull, inflatables, educational displays and demonstrations, a horse show, trail ride, carnival games, fair food, fireworks, live music, beer tent, and other events, to the fair. The Association works hard almost year-round to plan the next year’s fair, but due to space and manpower restraints, the Association agreed that it is time to move on.
A short survey was sent out to 4-H families this fall to gather input on how those most involved in the fair would like to see things proceed. A majority indicated they’d like to see the fair combine with another county, which also aided in the decision to discontinue the Pepin County Fair.
Christina Hager, Chair of the PCFAI and Pepin County 4-H and SYC alumni, said she is sad to see this tradition cease, but believes, especially in this case, that when one door closes, another opens. Pepin County 4-H will continue on with no changes, and youth who wish to participate in the fair will be welcomed to the Buffalo County Fair with open arms. Open Class exhibitors are encouraged to continue to share their talents at any of the many wonderful neighboring county fairs including Buffalo County. Those who still wish to volunteer their time will surely also be welcomed. The PCFAI and UWEX wish to thank Buffalo County for welcoming our exhibitors to allow them to continue their learning and friendly competition in a fair setting. The Buffalo County Fair will provide exhibitors with a wider range of options, as well as more competition and experiences.
The Pepin County Fair Association and UW-Extension would also thank those who’ve volunteered their time to help at the fair. Without people fitting volunteering into their busy schedules, the fair would not have lasted as long as it did, or achieved as much as it has. With the generosity of Pepin County residents via their time and donations, the fair did achieve more than some may have guessed, and provided a fun, free event for area families each summer for many years.
Again, the Pepin County Fair Association and UW-Extension thanks everyone for their support, and wishes our fair family luck with their future fair participation.