By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Aug 07, 2021 at 8:01 AM

This piece is in the partnership with Wisconsin State Fair. See you there! 

It's time to celebrate the best 11 days of the summer at the Wisconsin State Fair, which takes place August 5-15.

After taking a one-year hiatus, the staff at the Fair has worked diligently to put together a plan for this year’s event that ensures both a fun and safe experience for both employees and guests.

So, to ensure you have the best experience possible, we’ve gathered together the information you need to know about safety measures and new procedures that are in place at the Fair for 2021. 

Take note of new hours

Employees are working extra hard this year to ensure that all State Fair facilities are properly sanitized, making them as safe as possible for the public. To allow for the time needed to enact these safety measures, the hours for the Fair have been adjusted.

In 2021, the Fair is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with the exception of the final day of the Fair (August 15) when hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parking lots will open at 10:30 a.m. daily. Most buildings are open until 10 p.m.; the exception is the Exposition Center, which closes at 9 p.m. daily.

Masks are not required

Masks are not required indoors or outdoors at the Wisconsin State Fair. That said, masks are definitely acceptable. Guests are encouraged to follow the advisement of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the matter of masks.

Sanitized for your safety

Keeping Fairgoers safe is the Wisconsin State Fair’s highest priority. Wisconsin State Fair Park is one of the first fairgrounds in the U.S. to receive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation, which represents the gold standard in the prevention and mitigation of communicable disease, including COVID-19. 

Safety measures include:

  • Upgraded cleaning and safety measures throughout the park
  • The use of hospital grade cleaners and procedures to ensure surfaces are properly disinfected
  • The use of Kalvac no-touch sanitization systems in all restrooms
  • High touch points (including door handles, tables, chairs and drinking fountains) are wiped down multiple times a day with EPA approved disinfectant.

These practices keep both staff and guests as safe as possible from the transmission of disease.

Learn more about what GBAC STAR means for cleanliness at the Fair.

Use hand sanitizer stations

State Fair is doing its part to keep facilities and surfaces clean. But as a Fairgoer, you can also do your part to keep unnecessary germs from spreading.

In addition to regular hand-washing, as advised by the CDC, the State Fair has installed hand sanitizer stations throughout the park, including in the Exposition Center and Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center. Please make liberal use of these stations in between hand-washing.

Bring your credit card

To promote safer monetary transactions, the State Fair has switched to cashless payment for both purchasing admission tickets and paying for parking. To make things easy, Fairgoers are encouraged to purchase both tickets ($9-$14) and parking passes ($12 per vehicle) online before they arrive at the Fair. That's good advice, as having a physical ticket or printed online ticket will save you a significant amount of time as you enter the Fair.

Credit cards will be required for tickets and parking purchased at the gates. 
[Purchase advance admission tickets]
[Purchase advance parking passes]

Vendors inside the Fair Park have the option to accept cash as payment, with most vendors accepting both cash and credit cards. To ensure you can purchase everything you’d like, bring your credit card along (just in case).

Take note of program changes

Fairgoers will notice some changes to regular State Fair programming. Those changes have been put in place to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible. That includes a break from eating contests, including the annual potato-eating and cream puff eating competitions. The State Fair hopes to bring these events back in future years.

Please note: An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By visiting Wisconsin State Fair Park, all guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. Guests are advised to follow guidance and recommendations provided by the CDC to best ensure their individual safety.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.