EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The Eau Claire County Fair is back for a week filled with activity for exhibitors.
First News at Nine’s Maria Blough spoke with some of the showmen and women ready to hop in the show ring once again.
The barns are starting to fill with cattle along with other animals waiting for show day at the Eau Claire County Fair.
A much different environment than competitors faced last year.
“It was a lot different,” said exhibitor Heidi Strey from Osseo. “We brought in cattle, and we took them home all in the same day. There was not a lot of people here as the shows were on different days, and you didn’t get to interact with all the people who may have been showing different species.”
After the uncertainty of 2020, Heidi Strey is grateful for a return to normal–in 2021, her last year as an exhibitor.
Part of that normal: getting to spend time with peers.
“We only got to see our friends for a couple days, you know, two days depending on what species you had, so it was definitely nice to stay,” said Kevin Kitchen, an exhibitor from Augusta. “Come in on Wednesday or Thursday and stay through the weekend and just get to spend more time doing what we’ve been working hard for all summer.”
Because of the pandemic, Kitchen gets a re-do for his final fair experience. This year marks the 12th he’ll be in the show ring.
Like Kitchen, Brooke Welke is getting to end her career showing at the fair on a high note.
Looking back at the past 12 years, for Welke it’s been a family affair.
“My Mom and my other three siblings, we kind of have our other little operation as well, I mean, it’s not really little we have 150 head, so it’s definitely been a family thing,” Welke said. “My siblings did it so everyone else did it too.”
In Eau Claire Maria Blough First News at Nine.
Though most of the fair’s activities are open to only family and friends, the livestock auction is open to the public.
That’s set to happen Saturday at 5:30 p.m. under the show tent.