There’s No Place Like the Walworth County Fair!

This award-winning fair blends agriculture, education and entertainment for an unforgettable family experience.

A short drive from Chicago in Elkhorn, Wisconsin near Lake Geneva, The Walworth County Fair is one of the most celebrated in the world. And for good reason. You’ll find activities for the whole family to enjoy. 

Events range from old-school fair favorites like pie baking and Walworth’s own pickle-eating contest to concerts, tractor pulls, a demolition derby and a rodeo. This year’s theme is “No Place Like Home,” with Wizard of Oz characters making an appearance.

“It’s the unique-to-us experiences that families love about the Walworth County Fair,” says Larry Gaffey, General Manager of Walworth County Fairgrounds. “While the fair boasts spectacular grandstand entertainment and a large carnival area, it is the array of interactive activities for children that truly sets it apart.”

Barnyard Adventure Area

Sitting on two full acres, the Barnyard Adventure Area is an award-winning interactive space. From the dairy industry to heritage crops, kids and families explore the many ways in which agriculture affects their daily lives. 

Expansive gardens make up one of the most popular parts of the Barnyard Adventure Area. Here, guests can see thriving plants including staple crops that date back to Native American times. Kids will recognize these plants as common foods we enjoy today.

“One popular exhibit features the ‘Three Sisters’ crops – corn, beans and squash” says Gaffey. “This is a farming practice developed by the Iroquois and Cherokee tribes and it connects kids to history and tradition.”

Visitors can also explore “Global Gardens” and learn all about the “Vegetable of the Day.” Who knows – you might get kids to try a new vegetable this way!

Bees and butterflies

Bees are a rich area of exploration in the Barnyard Adventure Area’s Learning Coop. “We teach visitors that without our pollinators, we don’t have crops,” says Gaffey. Kids watch working beehives and (safely) get up close and personal with these small but mighty creatures. There is even a “Cute as a Bee” contest for young visitors.

Butterflies are another draw for the Barnyard Adventure Area, which is an official Monarch Way Station. Visitors can watch these winged beauties through a butterfly observation tent. “We have a butterfly release every day of the fair,” adds Gaffey.

The Discovery Barn

The Discovery Barn has award-winning educational programs and events. To start, visitors can view all types of farm animals including calves, goats, pigs and sheep. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Expert volunteers share their knowledge about livestock and all aspects of farming.

Kids ride on farm combines at the Walworth County Fair
Photo courtesy of Walworth County Fairgrounds

Combines for Kids

This is the second year for Combines for Kids, one of the Walworth County Fair’s most unique attractions. Local farmers volunteer to give kids rides around the horse track in their combines. This event proved to be a massive success in its initial appearance.

“We had lines all the way out of the barn for Combines for Kids last year and we knew we needed to bring it back,” says Gaffey. “Kids love it!”

Combines for Kids is fun with a purpose: it also serves as a fundraiser to benefit the Discovery Barn.

Contests and activities galore

What would a county fair be without contests? The Walworth County Fair has a dizzying array. If you’ve got a champion milk chugger, they’ve got you covered. Does your kid like Legos? Check. Do you have a budding baker on your hands? Your child can compete for the best pie.

Kids are a huge part of the fair’s participation, says Gaffey. Each year, the fair gets about 15,000 entries for judging and half of those entries come from kids.

Two standouts are the Pinewood Derby and Birdhouse Build-Off. These fair-favorite contests offer opportunities for mentorship and skill development.

Pre-registration is required for the Birdhouse Build-Off, with an entry deadline of August 18. Both mentors and mentees are eligible for prizes totaling up to $5,000.

“Free car kits for the Pinewood Derby are available at the fair office,” says Gaffey. “We want to make the Derby as accessible as possible.” A total of up to $5,000 in prize money is also up for grabs in the Pinewood Derby, which is open to anyone attending the fair.

When looking for an enriching and fun family experience, Gaffey says to look no further than the Walworth County Fair. “We are one of the most award-winning fairs in the world. If you’re going to attend a county fair, why not come to the best?”

The Walworth County Fair runs from August 30 through September 4. To learn more about activities, events and schedules visit: walworthcountyfairgrounds.com/p/walworthcountyfair

Jennifer Kales
Jennifer Kales
Content editor Jennifer Kales has been in the business of writing for more than 20 years creating advertising copy, blogs, books and everything in between. She loves helping Chicago Parent clients tell their stories in a way that resonates with audiences.

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