Leaping dogs, racing pigs, crashing cars and more join the animals at the Door County Fair

Games, rides and food are among the items available on the Quantum Technologies Midway at this year's 151st annual Door County Fair, running from Aug. 10 to 14.
Games, rides and food are among the items available on the Quantum Technologies Midway at this year's 151st annual Door County Fair, running from Aug. 10 to 14.

STURGEON BAY - One of Door County's oldest summer traditions returns to John Miles County Park this week when the Door County Fair takes place for the 151st time.

Of course, the fair celebrates the farm animals of the Peninsula and the people of all ages, adults and juniors, who breed and raise them. But while they will be the focus of much of the activity and exhibits, there are plenty of other attractions for the whole family, starting with the rides, games and foods of the carnival on the Quantum Technologies Midway.

Along with that, the fair offers racing not just by motorized vehicles but also by pigs and ducks, music and entertainment for all ages, dogs leaping into the air, wood carving and other crafts, and much more.

Here's what you can expect or need to know when you head to the fair.

Exhibits and judging

Judging takes place throughout the fair of animals, plants, arts and crafts and other projects from 4-H members, and show judging and exhibits will be in various buildings on the fairgrounds. A complete schedule is available on the fair's website.

One of the annual highlights of this aspect of the fair is the Quality Market Animal Sale, which gives 4-H and Future Farmers of America youths the chance to exhibit farm animals, from rabbits and chickens to cattle and swine, and sell them at a Saturday night auction in the Livestock Facility, learning life and agribusiness skills along the way.

Dogs, pigs, ducks and horses

Some other animals at the fair find different ways to draw the crowd's attention.

For example, there are the DockDogs, trained dogs competing under the national sanctioning body of the same name. You might have seen them on TV racing off the end of a dock to leap into the air and catch an object thrown their way before dog and object hit the water under them. They made their Door County Fair debut last year and are coming back for another go-around.

The Wisconsin DockDogs affiliate of the national organization brings the canines to the midway for five competitive shows during the day Friday and Saturday and four Sunday; 12 of the shows are Big Air Wave contests, one is for vertical air and one for Speed Retrieve.

Also seen on the midway is one of the fair's more popular traditional events: pig and duck races. Those take place three or four times each afternoon of the fair.

Equine fans also have two special events to check out. First is the 19th annual S.H.O.W. (Stock Horse of Wisconsin) Drill Team Competition from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. More than 10 teams from across Wisconsin are expected to compete in displays of precision horsemanship and training in the horse arena.

Also in the horse arena, a gymkhana — barrel racing and other speed events for horses and their riders — will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Arts, crafts and wood

Another event that debuted on the fair midway last year and is coming back is a vendor fair, with artists, crafters, woodworkers and more from across Wisconsin showing and selling their wares from noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Also, local wood carver Cody Leist will be on hand throughout the day from Thursday through Sunday to show how he uses a chainsaw to transform wood into art. A drawing to win one of Leist's wood sculptures will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Motorized mayhem

Motorsports usually is a big part of any county fair, and that's the case in Door County with three events during the fair for fans in the Budweiser Grandstand at The Hill Raceway, the third-mile clay oval on the fairgrounds.

The racing action starts at 7 p.m. Thursday with four classes of The Hill's usual stock cars to the track with results counting toward their season-long points standings, along with a special shootout race for the SportMod class.

Saturday night brings the one of the fair's most spectacular and popular events with American Motorcyclist Association flat-track motorcycle racing for top regional semi-pros and amateurs. Practice starts at 4 p.m. with racing at 6 p.m.

Then the track sends the fair out with a bang with its traditional demolition derby at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, featuring beaters and bangers from the area and across Wisconsin trying to keep moving while all about them are wheezing or grinding to a stop.

Midway music and something for the kids

The Door County Scrap Metal Main Stage on the midway features popular local and regional acts, opening with longtime party band Boogie and the Yo-Yoz playing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Regional rock band Whiskey Ditch takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and Friday features a twin bill with cover band Mostly Water at 6 p.m. and international touring, female-fronted country-rockers Tobi Lee and Mustang Sally at 8 p.m.

Saturday brings a special show as veteran Fox Valley rock band Vic Ferrari Band visits on its Farewell Tour — they're ending their 34-year run in October — at 7:30 p.m. The Time Machine wraps up the music with classic rock covers at 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Also on the midway, the Children's Festival Stage in the Hatco Building offers events from Thursday through Sunday, including contests for ages 12 and younger each afternoon, juggling, magic shows and hypnosis shows. Trivia, "Name That Tune" and spelling bee contests for all ages also will be held. Also available are temporary tattoos at 1 p.m. Thursday and balloon animals from 2 to 3 p.m. each day. The stage opens at 2 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday through Sunday, closing at 6 p.m. each day.

Oh, about that danged virus ...

Aug. 4, the Thursday before the fair, Door County was elevated to a "High" level of activity for the COVID-19 virus from its previous "Medium" level, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The High level means the CDC and Door County Public Health recommend that everyone should wear a face mask when indoors, for protection and to prevent the spread of the virus. People also should make sure they're up to date on the COVID-19 vaccines and stay home and get tested for the virus if they show symptoms of infection.

The CDC currently releases weekly updates on COVID-19 activity Thursday nights. If virus activity in Door County recedes to Medium in its Aug. 11 report, that means wearing a face mask is optional, but people should talk to their health care provider about the need to wear a mask or take other precautions if they're at high risk for severe illness if they catch the virus.

In all cases, it is recommended people stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if they exhibit symptoms of infection.

How and when to get in

The 151st annual Door County Fair runs from Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 10 to 14, at John Miles County Park (Door County Fairgrounds), 812 N. 14th Ave., Sturgeon Bay. Midway rides are open from 4 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, 3 to 11 p.m. Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, with a break from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Admission is $8 daily before 5 p.m.; $10 after 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $20 for a Booster Button good for the entire fair. All passes and booster buttons include midway rides, music, grandstand events and fairground shows. Booster Buttons are available at Quantum Technologies in Sturgeon Bay, Marchant's Meats and Sausage in Sturgeon Bay, Destination Door County on State 42/57 in Sturgeon Bay, Valmy Happy Hour and Institute Saloon.

For more information, visit doorcountyfair.com or facebook.com/DoorCountyFair.

Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or cclough@doorcountyadvocate.com.

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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Door County Fair starts this week in Sturgeon Bay