Sunday night best time for county fair

Lee Pulaski
City Editor

For most folks, the most wonderful time of the year revolves around a specific holiday. Christmas immediately springs to mind, with Thanksgiving and Halloween also being deemed acceptable answers.

However, for many folks in Shawano County, the most wonderful time of the year is Labor Day. Why that holiday? Because that means the Shawano County Fair is just around the corner, and with that comes the carnival rides, animal exhibits, musical performances and seeing up close and personal why this county is such a haven for agriculture.

The fair lasts for six days, but unless you’ve got animals entered, you’re usually not there the whole time. Some folks might make several trips to the fair for specific events, but many usually can only find time to be there one day. Some like the idea of being there when it’s bumper to bumper people, while others prefer perusing the grounds and the exhibits without the risk of getting mowed down by the crowd.

When I’m just checking out the fair on my own time, I prefer the quieter times when I can look at things without worrying that I might be in someone’s way. After 12 years of covering the local fair, I can tell you that Sunday night is usually your best bet if you’re like me and want to enjoy things at your own pace.

The lines are shorter Sunday nights, for one thing, and one tradition for me is going up on the Ferris wheel. Sure, there are better days and deals for those who love going on the rides, but I like to be able to go up and view the fairgrounds at night, marveling at the tranquility of it all. This year should be very interesting as the fair is bringing a wheel called Vertigo, almost double in height, so it should provide a different view of below than in years past.

If you like shooting the animals like I do (with a camera, just in case the hunters reading this column are getting the wrong idea), then Sunday night is a great time to do it. With fewer people moving through the barns, photographers can wait for the best shots without worry that they’re clogging up traffic. Animals can be unpredictable, so if you want a shot of a pig looking through the bars at the camera, it requires time and patience.

Sunday night doesn’t prevent you from enjoying fair food. If anything, the hunger is satiated faster because of, as I mentioned before, shorter lines. You can enjoy the cheese curds, burgers and more.

Sunday night still provides entertainment. Star Six Nine will be performing on the main stage behind the grandstand, but it’ll be easier to get to the main stage because the grounds aren’t as crowded.

I also like Sunday nights because the setting sun brings cooler temperatures. The Shawano County Fair has a habit of taking place during one of the hottest times of the year, so while there are days where the attendance is lower and you get more elbow room, it’s more fun to see the fairgrounds all lit up at night.

Don’t get me wrong. I like seeing some of the other events that take place over the six days of the fair. Folks with kids enjoy the livestock auction, along with the animal judging that occurs during the day. Some folks enjoy the sound of polka and frequent President’s Park when the bands are playing. The cake decorating auction is a good event to watch, at least for the food vendors, because it tends to make folks hungry.

In the end, you can go check out the fair anytime you like, but if you enjoy going when there’s not blistering heat and long lines, Sunday night is your best bet. Grab your cream puffs and buckle up, because the 2023 Shawano County Fair should be quite a ride.

Lee Pulaski is the city editor for NEW Media. Readers can contact him at