Photo by Cynthya Porter
Shampooing farm animals for showing is part of the Winona County Fair routine.
The 155th annual Winona County Fair runs July 10 to July 14, but according to Cindy Timm, Winona County Fair president, things really get started on Monday, July 8.
“All of the exhibits in open class come in — all the baking, flowers, and photos come in,” Timm said. The 4-H has a dog obedience club that night as well. They’ve been practicing out here already, Timm added. On Tuesday, July 9, the 4-H exhibits come in, and the non-livestock, open class Dairy and Meat Goats and Dairy Cattle shows are at 7 p.m. Wednesday the tenth, the official start of the fair, Timm said.
There will be a few new additions to the fair this year, Timm noted.
“One of the things we brought back is Vogel’s Exotic Petting Zoo. They were here previously, about eight or nine years ago," Timm said. “This one is kind of fun because they’ve got the pony rides, which I remember as a child and the kids love that,” Timm explained.
“Winona County Soil and Water Board is coming in on Wednesday, celebrating 75 years of conservation,” Timm said. The board will hold its meeting at the fair at 1 p.m. and the public is invited to bring water samples for the board to test for nitrates from 3 to 6 p.m., she added.
The Winona County Historical Society is hosting an event new to the fair this year, the society invites people to come talk about their memories of the fair, Timm said. “I’m going to tell a story about monkeys that day. Over the years that I have been on the board, there have been some monkeys that get loose up here,” Timm added, chuckling.
There will also be another historical event, “St. Charles library is celebrating 100 years, so they’re going to come out for three days and do readings for the children,” Timm noted.
“Part of our mission is education of the public, and we’re also happy to provide experience for the 4-Hers. They have to exhibit at a county fair to be able to compete at the state fair,” Timm explained.
Along with the new additions, there will also be fair favorites like the antique tractor pull, the rodeo, and the demolition derby, Timm said.
Since 1976, the Winona County Fair Board has been honoring five people each year, “these people are considered the best of Winona County,” Timm explained . This year the honors go to Cyril Speltz, Frances Edstrom, Garlan Hulbert, Dianne Rislow, and Elmer Papenfus. Each person was picked based on commitment to Winona, whether it be through volunteering, like Garlan Hulbert, or Fran’s commitment to the business community of Winona, or Elmer Papenfus, the oldest living former fair board member, who still frequents the fair grounds at the age of 91, Timm explained.
“On Thursday, we honor everyone and name a king and queen,” Timm said. “We also honor our outstanding senior citizens of Winona County, the farm family of the year, and Century Farms,” Timm added.
Timm would like to remind people that the fair is not just about farming. There is the carnival along with educational and grand stand events for visitors to the Winona County Fair. “We encourage everyone to come and exhibit,” Timm added.
For those who prefer to be behind the scenes, volunteers are always welcome, Timm noted. “This fair is really a community and a county effort; this place couldn’t run without all the volunteers,” Timm said. The fair board puts in a lot of effort. “This is not just five days — board members are out here 12 months a year,” Timm explained. “We end up taking our vacation time to be a part of the fair,” Timm said.
Those interested in participating in the open class exhibits may submit their entries from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, July 8. Rules and regulations may be found at www.winonacountyfair.com. For any questions, or to volunteer, please call the Winona County Fair office (507)-932-3074.