Ag Society Information
Interesting Facts about Us ...
La Crosse County Agricultural Society
- Owners and operators of the La Crosse Interstate Fair
- Comprised of nine (9) voting board members: 7 Ag. Society members elected for a 3 year term, (2 term limit); 1 representative from the 4-H Adult Leaders Association, 1 County Board appointed representative. In addition, there is a UW Extension staff liaison and financial/business manager, and a Fair Manager / Fairest of the Fair coordinator that serve as ex-officio members.
- The board makes all of the business decisions. The membership elects the board members at its annual meeting in November.
- In 1890 the La Crosse Interstate Fair Association was formed (133 years ago).
- The La Crosse Interstate Fair is a District Fair. A district fair allows individuals from outside of the state to exhibit at the fair. There are presently four (4) district fairs in Wisconsin.
- In 1986 the fair almost folded. The fair association at the time proposed to cancel the event. County residents and fair supporters did not want this to happen and rallied together to see what could be done.
- The present La Crosse County Agricultural society was reorganized and then incorporated.
- The society was authorized to negotiate with the present fairground owner, the La Crosse Interstate Fair Association, on a lease of the grounds so that a three or four day fair could be held.
- They offered to lease the grounds for $1.00 each year for three years plus the cost of utilities and insurance.
- Many fundraiser events were held and the first fair under new leadership was a success. There was free parking and free gate admission except for grandstand events.
- During early 1989 the La Crosse County Agricultural Society assumed complete control of the La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds in West Salem.
- The transaction included all fairground property and its outstanding $174,000 mortgage, which was co-signed by several area residents and business merchants.
- The responsibility was enormous for the membership who in turn made a dedicated effort to preserve the fair operation, held fundraising events and provided an annual educational event for the community.
- The debt was totally paid off as of 1994. Annual Improvements and maintenance of the fairgrounds is ongoing.
- The reason for the success of the fairgrounds operation is the result of dedicated and committed volunteers.
Copyright by the La Crosse County Agricultural Society. All rights reserved.
Purpose of a Fair
- To provide a means for the community to share their pride in their product (competitive exhibit or commercial).
- To provide an educational forum for learning and informing the public of new technologies, inventions, and products available from area merchants.
Location of the Fair
- First Fair was held in La Crosse in 1858 (165 years ago).
- Fairs were held in the city as well as in a county location.
- The La Crosse County fairs were held at 5th and Ferry streets, Myrick Park and the present day UWL at Campbell Street.
- In 1957 the fairgrounds moved to its present location in West Salem (66 years ago).
What Keeps the Fair Going?
- The dedication and commitment of the La Crosse County Ag. Society board members.
- Community Support: 4-H Adult Leaders, project members and volunteers, the Dairy Breed associations, the La Crosse County Pork Producers, and the many other community organizations that lend a hand.
- It is the blood sweat and tears of the community of volunteers with a vision that has made the fair the success that it is and will continue to be for the future of the youth and education of the county.
- It is also the community of volunteers that pulled the organization back together.
- Individuals have benefited from participation in the fair and are willing to contribute their time and talents back to the organization.
Business Operations – Year Around Operation
- La Crosse Interstate Fair, held annually in July.
- Contract for lease for the purpose of stock car races, weekly, April-October.
- Contract for lease for the purpose of go-kart races, weekly, May-September.
- Other events: Company picnics, horse shows, wedding receptions, 4-H project training events, flea markets, RV and recreational vehicle shows, and winter storage.