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Dane County Fair


July 19, 2018

Photo contributed

Festivities included chicken competitions, great food, and colorful dances.

If you like food on a stick, animal exhibits, midway rides and live entertainment, you may want to put the Dane County Fair on your calendar. This year the Madison-based fair will be held from July 19-22 at the Alliant Energy Center.

The fair, which began in 1851, offers 4-H and FFA members the chance to compete in animal shows as well as other contests, including photography, cooking, clothing, gardening and mechanical science. Youth projects can be seen at the New Holland Pavilion and the Exhibition Hall. Animal shows allow kids to exhibit both farm animals and house pets.

"With support from our generous Friend of the Fair sponsors, we are able to offer this public exhibition for Dane County's youth, giving them the opportunity to be recognized in their endeavors. Dane County Fair sponsors also allow us to offer educational displays–such as the Kiddie Farm and Learning Lane–to our attendees, along with unique daily activities," explained Kristin Olsen, Dane County Fair Media Relations Director.

In addition to youth programs, other fair highlights include entertainment that is included with admission. Moto Maniacs is a motorcycle stunt show, which features the popular "globe of death." K9s in Flight, an acrobatic dog act, includes dock diving, high jumping and frisbee tricks. Both of these shows have three daily performances. The Kiddie Farm at the New Holland Pavilion 2 offers a chance for guests to interact with animals and learn about agriculture.

While at the fair, you can take in some live music, too. Thursday night at 7 p.m. will be Madison Music Foundry Band Night, Friday at 7 p.m. Madison County will take the stage, Saturday will feature Ryan Stevenson, also at 7 p.m. On Sunday, La Movida Family Fiesta will take the stage at 12 p.m. All musical acts are located on the main stage and free with admission.

Fair food will be offered up by about two dozen vendors. Selections include everything from coffee to ice cream. Food stands open daily at 11 a.m.

Carnival rides are a fair staple and promise to thrill young and old, alike. Wristbands are available for purchase, and rides start at noon every day.

Photo contributed

Festivities included chicken competitions, great food, and colorful dances.

In addition to all of these events, the Dane County Fair partners with local organizations and outreach groups. "The American Red Cross hosts a blood drive on Thursday, while Operation Homefront provides free school supplies to military families. The Fair proudly works with the public libraries, Madison School & Community Recreation and daycares. Our outreach continues throughout the year with the Dane County Fairest of the Fair program–an ambassador who serves as the voice and a face for the Fair, as well as a role model to youth in Dane County," Olson said.

Olson reminded that Thursday and Friday are reduced admission days, with $3 admission for anyone six over older before 3 p.m., and parking is free all day. For more information on the events at the Dane County Fair, visit


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