Polk County, WI -- The Polk County Fair has had an intimate presence in the City of St. Croix Falls since 1887. Since that time, the Polk County Fair (event) and the fairgrounds (property) have changed and grown in many wonderful ways. The fairgrounds is currently managed by the Polk County Fair Society through a Memorandum of Understanding with Polk County, covering the County-owned 80 acres of land, including its historic buildings, venues, and the traditions that we are so proud to maintain for the community.
It is the goal of the Polk County Fair Society to protect these historic landmarks for future generations of fairgoers to enjoy, as well as to provide new opportunities for the community to experience the fairgrounds in new ways and create new traditions. In order to do this, we have partnered with the Polk County Government, which has enlisted the help of an engineering firm to design a master plan to address the current and future needs of the Polk County fairgrounds.
While the Polk County Fair Society attempts to maintain the historic nature of the fairgrounds, sometimes wear and tear on structures becomes too much to overcome. For example, our beloved grandstand that was over 100 years old, was torn down in the spring of 2018 by Polk County, not the Polk County Fair Society, due to structural issues and safety concerns. This was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately, the decision would open the door for new opportunities on the fairgrounds that would allow more accessibility and comfort to fairgoers under a new ADA compliant grandstand that the Fair Society envisioned.
As the Fair Society and County Board considered options, it became apparent that while building a new grandstand would be the appropriate time to integrate other renovations and expansions into a bigger plan, which could help ensure the success of the Polk County Fair for generations to come.
With the help of Cedar Corporation, an engineering study was conducted and preliminary plans were developed to create an integrated project that would include a new grandstand, but would also work collaboratively with the city's future plans for widening Simonson Road (on the West side of the fairgrounds), implementing a stormwater retention plan, a safe traffic pattern and parking plan, as well as creating a multi-use venue that could be used by the community throughout the year.
While the original intent of the Fair Society was to replace the grandstand, the new plan would relocate the grandstand and pull track to the north end of the property. The track would be widened to allow two tracks side-by-side, which would also shorten track events and limit noise. The study concluded that updating and reconfiguring the pulling track would make it a safer venue for the participants and attendees at the grandstand events, but also create opportunities to use the grandstands for other private and community events throughout the year.
As you can imagine, a project of this scope needs the approval of both the Polk County Board of Supervisors and the City of St. Croix Falls to proceed. We are in communications with both the County Board and City of St. Croix Falls and are pleased to have partnered with Cedar Corporation to assure that this project meets the highest quality expectations of our community. Through this project, we are committed to maintaining a strong relationship with the City of St. Croix Falls, which has supported the Polk County Fair's efforts for over 133 years.
Recently, however, there have been some questions about the scope of the project and how it may impact the residents of St. Croix Falls. This has caused some confusion and produced some misinformation, which we want to address publically and correct as necessary.
We believe this plan, including the renovations and expansion, will be a great fit for the city and will continue to support the local economy, provide a safe and fun experience to visitors throughout the year, and encourage young people through fantastic educational experiences in programs like 4H, FFA, Royalty, Arts Education, entrepreneurship, and much, much more.
Since the announcement of the renovation and expansion, there have been some rumors about proposed events, suggesting that they would be loud year-round, which are simply not true. We would like to clarify what the Fair Society is proposing and answer any questions you have regarding the events we host on the grounds.
In reality, it is likely that you are unaware of much of the wonderful events that already occur on the fairgrounds because they tend to go on unnoticed by those not attending them. As most people know, the Polk County Fair takes place over a four day period, scheduled at the end of July each year. The Polk County Fair is our biggest event, which includes over 30,000+ visitors, enjoying delicious food, live music, entertainment, animals, and grandstand events.
In addition to the annual Polk County Fair, the fairgrounds are available throughout the year for a variety of sanctioned and private events. During the year you may see horse shows, dog shows, weddings, camping, 4H events, as well as other yearly events like Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack, Career Day, Falls Sampler, Ribfest, and Relay for Life. But, by building the grandstand, the Fair Society would like to utilize it to deliver some successful community events. Those events may include a community carnival, live music, a rodeo, a comedy show, or even a tractor pull*.
*If the Fair Society decided to host a tractor pull, it would be held on a single weekend in the summer (on a weekend not associated with the fair week activities) and would be pre-scheduled. A tractor pull event would be limited to no more than 1 time per year outside of fair week, and the Fair Society would work with the city to assure it is managed safely and appropriately.
We want to be very clear that it is not, and never has been, the intention of the Fair Society to build a venue that would create on-going noise that occurs every weekend of the summer. The primary use of this venue would be for the events that take place during the annual Polk County Fair, supplemented by one or two other grandstand type events, and private or community events as requested.
The Polk County Fair Society is proud of the strong relationship it has with the city and its reputation as a good neighbor. Our intention is to continue that tradition into the future and that our relationship would be mutually beneficial between the city, its residents, and the Polk County Fair.
Please feel free to contact any Polk County Fair Society Board Member with any questions or concerns. For more information, please visit PolkCountyFair.com.
Polk County Fair Society Board Members
Janis Larson, Karrie Melin-Swenson, Matt Koch, Judy Bainbridge, Tracy LaBlanc, Mary Berklund, Jeanne Alling, Don Dippery, Jessie Baillargeon, Jordon Hibbs, Michelle Peterson, Becky Larson, Rod Rivard, Chad Lutsey, Royce Larson, Hans Johnson