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Shawano County Fair survives two pandemics

Local News

SHAWANO, Wis. (WFRV) Nothing signals the end of summer like a county fair and one local fair has managed to survive two health pandemics.

Carnival-goers have come to the Shawano County Fair for 139 years –now that’s before the flu pandemic of 1918.

Dale Hodkiewicz, President of the Shawano County Fair says, “The fair survived wars, world wars because the community just loves this fair. People flock in here from all counties all around.”

Tyler Stammer, a carnival-goer, says, “I’m from Appleton so not a lot of things going on this year.”

This isn’t the first pandemic the Shawano County Fair has survived and organizers say COVID-19 hasn’t stopped people from enjoying the fair.

Hodkiewicz says, “All I hear from people all the day is thank you for having a fair. We miss having fairs.”

Stammer says, “It’s one of the only fair that’s going on right now and why wouldn’t You come out to have a good time.”

Although people came out, this health crisis has taken its toll on business.

Jim Griese, a vendor at the fair says, “Last year we had 35 events with over 4000 people each. This year they’ve all been canceled. It was a terrible year. We’re really glad to be here.”

Organizers say –the people– have helped this carnival survive.

The Shawano County Fair started in 1881, and to put things in perspective–this fair has survived the First and Second World Wars and was around before the Wright Brothers took flight in 1903.

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