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Discover Wisconsin: Fairs you won't want to miss this summer
Map of the fairs in Wisconsin. (Image supplied)
It's fair season, folks. Deep-fried food, exhilarating rides, flashing lights, fascinating magic shows, adorable petting zoos, winning oversized teddy bears in carnival games and locals coming together to celebrate the season ... what's not to like? After our five-month winter hibernation, there's nothing quite like Wisconsinites getting out for a good fair during the summer. Here's a round-up of some of our favorites:

Wisconsin State Fair


When: Thursday-Aug. 14

Where: 640 S. 84th St., West Allis

Why: Because it's the "fairest" of them all. With performances by Shawn Mendes, Rascal Flatts, Pat Benatar, Phillip Phillips, Matt Nathanson, and the Beach Boys and foods like cheese balls on-a-stick, Door County surf and turf on-a-stick, chocolate cruller on-a-stick, cream puffs, PBR beercicles and deep-fried cheese curds (duh), this place is hard to beat. If you're not yet convinced, consider visiting the Ag Village where visitors can see hundreds of animals, or the Craft and Culinary Pavilion, which features orchids, dahlias, bonsais, vegetables, textiles, pies and cakes. Kids will enjoy SpinCity, which boasts more than 50 rides and 30 exciting games. Join the other one million visitors in celebrating summertime in Wisconsin.

Sheboygan County Fair


When: Sept. 1-5

Where: 229 Fairview Drive, Plymouth

Why: Because, in their own words, the Sheboygan County Fair is celebrating "not the end of summer, the beginning of fun." The fair welcomes back some old favorites such as bull riding and barrel racing, tractor pulls, motorcycle racing, pig and duck races and plenty of live music, but also premieres High Flying Pages (an aerial and equestrian show), a zip line show and Mr. Ed's Magical Midway Carnival Rides.

Oneida County Fair


When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Corner of Kemp Street and Oneida Avenue, Rhinelander

Why: With a Friday night fish fry, Saturday night House of Blues and Brisket, a Native American Dance Exhibition and polka, rock, country and jazz bands, the Hext Theatre Big Top Tent is the place to be. This fair also features a Saturday morning farmers market, a senior pavilion with cribbage and bingo, a logging museum, carnival rides, a magician and face painting.

Central Wisconsin State Fair


When: Aug. 31-Sept. 5

Where: 513 E. 17th St., Marshfield

Why: With performing acts like Eric Paslay and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Central Wisconsin State Fair is kind of a big deal. Also at the Grandstand are the Regional Brush Pull, the WTPA Truck and Tractor Pull, the Rice Bullriding Co. and Action Auto Promotions Demolition Derby. Don't miss the carnival rides, where wristbands and family packages keep prices reasonable and make for a great end-of-summer celebration.

Sawyer County Fair


When: Aug. 18-21

Where: 10172 N. Bender Road, Hayward

Why: Located in beautiful Hayward, a popular getaway destination, the Sawyer County Fair has much to offer both locals and visitors. A pancake breakfast, petting zoo, pony rides, animal and educational exhibits, a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar eating contest, a llama show and musical performances make the 109th Sawyer County Fair the place to be this summer.

Grant County Fair


When: Aug. 14-21

Where: 916 E. Elm St., Lancaster

Why: We've all played with a foosball table before, right? The soccer game where you move your players to score on the other team? The Grant County Fair takes this concept to a whole new level with human foosball at the Grandstand on Aug. 18. Enter as a six-person team for a chance to win $100, or just go to watch this hilarious, yet innovative event. Come for the foosball and stay for the live music, car shows, exhibits, dog show, face painting and much more.

Share your favorite Wisconsin fairs with us on social media: #discoverwisconsin.

The Wisconsin Association of Fairs is a member of Something Special from Wisconsin, a trademarked program administered by the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection since 1983. Every dollar spent on Something Special from Wisconsin products and services supports local farmers, food processors, entrepreneurs, our communities and livelihood, as well as the Wisconsin way of life. Something Special from Wisconsin products are unique and of the highest quality, making them perfect for gift-giving, special occasions and every day.

- Mariah Haberman is the co-host of the nation's longest-running tourism TV show, "Discover Wisconsin." Her column is published Tuesday on the Life page in the Times.