Portage County celebrates its’ 95th fair anniversary

Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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ROSHOLT, Wis. (WSAW) - This year marked the 95th anniversary of the Portage County fair. The long history of the yearly event allowed for timeless traditions to continue.

“We started out as a farmers’ picnic. The farmers just got together up here on the hill and they just had a picnic in the fall and that turned into what is known as the Portage County Fair now,” said Chris Martin, fair president.

Sunday I set out to find the longest traditions of the fair and why they managed to keep going.

Martin thought it was because of the people. He said he enjoyed watching the smiles the fair brought to their faces year after year.

That was his reason to keep on planning, even though it was two years of hard work. The 4-H kids also had a lot of preparation for the event.

“The 4H kids worked on their projects all year long,” said Martin.

A fair board member and active fair participant for 25 years said 4-H was one of the longest traditions.

“We’re 95 years here and the 4H has been here 95 years,” said Lisa Mercurio Wroblewski, fair board member.

Her son spent 13 years showing animals at the fair. He said it became a tradition for him. He is now aged out of the competitions, but he continued to help out other students this year.

“I’m trying to give back to fair showers, 4H-ers and FFA-ers to give them support like I got when I was showing,” said Karol Wroblewski, former 4-H member.

Another group that gave back at the fair is the Lions Club. They also have a longstanding tradition. They were serving at the fair for as long as Nicole Buchkowski, a Lions Club volunteer, can remember. They raise money at the far and use it for charity to help out community members.

“Wherever there is a community need, the Lions Club tries to be there to help,” said Buchkowski.

Those weren’t the only long traditions. The rides were another classic. Thomas Luisi is the ride foreman for the Portage County Fair and he’s done that job for 16 years.

He said something that never changed over time was how excited kids got for the rides.

”They’re glad we keep coming back,” said Luisi.

Martin said it’s good to have the traditions continue.

“95 years, I’m looking forward to 100,” said Martin.

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