CWSF has successful year despite challenges
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – Despite some pretty large changes, a hectic start, and two rain days, the Central Wisconsin State Fair (CWSF) saw a successful year as organizers rounded up the week-long event.
“The four days we did run were just phenomenal,” said Fair Director Dale Christiansen. “I can honestly say that we’ve doubled the sales gross of last year’s carnival.”
The success of the fair comes on the heels of some pretty large changes, which included a schedule change from Labor Day weekend to the week before, as well as a new midway carnival vendor.
These changes were further amplified by a dog show on the fairgrounds the week prior, which left organizers one day – Monday – to set up the grounds.
In addition, the six-day event saw two heavy rain days, which cut short Friday’s Night Ranger concert and dampened Sunday’s demo derby.
But, the fair-weathered days saw huge crowds that were treated to some great entertainment and a fantastic light show on the midway.
“I think the changes we made were all very good, very positive,” Christiansen said. “I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback on the date change, on the carnival change, the change to bring in the high dive— everything was very positive.
“I’ve been in this business 30 years, and I said to our board president (that) I’ve never been on a rollercoaster that this fair was on. Tuesday was rough because of trying to get everything set up in a short period of time. Tuesday was low. Wednesday and Thursday, we hit our highs and we did great. Then, Friday came and hit us with rain, and it was down the bottom of the rollercoaster again, and how are we going to pay our bills. Then, Saturday comes through with beautiful weather and great crowds and we are high again. (Sunday) the rain comes and closes us down.
“So, it was a real rollercoaster ride, but overall gate attendance was up dramatically, even with the Tuesday Junior Fair Day and with the rain days. The carnival was double from last year, so even with two lost days, this year’s fair was a good success.”