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Minnesota state fair from above

Recap Of Our 2021 Fairground Tour

As the pandemic took its hold on the world, we at Ungerboeck made a commitment to remain engaged with our customers and to do what we could to help them through this most difficult time. We shared your concerns, your disappointments, your challenges. It was quite the storm to weather, but we did it together and we did it as well as we could.

One of the many industries impacted by the pandemic was the fair industry. So many fairs were cancelled in 2020 and early 2021, that when we began to hear that summer and fall fairs were planned and ready to open their gates, we couldn’t imagine not being a part of this great milestone. We continued our support of the industry and set out to attend as many fairs as we could in just six weeks.

Two of our industry experts and a contracted photographer/videographer made their first stop at the Indiana State Fair on August 4th. Our objective, besides celebrating the re-opening of the fairs, was to hear about the changes that had been made because of the pandemic which the organizations had found to be most beneficial and planned to carry over year after year.

Our Tour Began at Indiana State Fair

Upon arrival, it was obvious the public was ready to event again. Smiling families, excited children, busy vendors, and accomplished competitors were in abundance. We were able to catch up with Executive Director, Cindy Hoye, who shared, “People really missed their traditions last year. Our customers are happy to be together with their families outside, enjoying a tradition and a memory their family always had.” Indiana adjusted their dates to add an extra weekend on the front end, spread out their crowds and allow for closing Mondays and Tuesdays to accommodate changing over livestock buildings.


#2 - Wisconsin State Fair

Just a week later the crew headed to the Wisconsin State Fair and found similar crowds. As was the case in Indiana, the Wisconsin State Fair was offering free vaccinations and had a great plan in place for keeping people safe and healthy. The sun was shining, and the fairgoers were enjoying a great day at their favorite fair. Cream puffs are the signature food at the Wisconsin State Fair, so our staff made the sacrifice of giving them a taste. They did not disappoint!


#3 - Kentucky State Fair

After a week’s break from the tour, we set out to visit the Kentucky State Fair as they welcomed their fair families back on the grounds. Kentucky’s Executive Director of Communications, Ian Cox, shared that the Fair had adjusted their hours for 2021, opening the exhibit buildings at 10 am vs 8 am in previous years, and closed at 8 pm vs 12 am. These shorter hours allowed for plenty of time to get the facility cleaned and ready for the following day, and helped the fair manage the shortage of staff so many were experiencing. It was a very hot day, but we enjoyed exploring their 1.2 million square feet of indoor exhibit space and the refreshing air conditioning


#4 - Minnesota State Fair

We closed out the month of August in Minneapolis at the Minnesota State Fair. It took us a solid 9 hours to cover as much of the 322-acre campus as we could, and we felt accomplished and exhausted when we ended our day there. We didn’t miss our chance to enjoy a bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar chocolate chip cookies, a traditional staple of the event. The fair was celebrating the 100th year for their cattle barn, and the livestock competitions were a joy to watch. While the fair did not see their typical crowds. However, the thousands who turned up each day were thrilled to be there. Our day ended with a sunset trip in the famous Space Tower.


Our Last Stop was Washington State Fair

And finally, to expand our tour outside of the Midwest, we ventured west to the Washington State Fair in mid-September. The weather was beautiful, and the staff welcomed us with open arms. A mandate from the governor required guests to wear masks both inside and outside, but that didn’t seem to deter anyone from coming out to enjoy one of their favorite summer events. We were able to chat with Stacy Van Horne, PR Manager who shared, “We hadn’t closed down our fair since World War II, so this is huge for us in our 121 years. The same look, the same tastes, the same smells are all back. We downsized in some areas to try and accommodate for the health and safety of our guests.” COO, Ed Barnes was also kind enough to give us a quick tour before we set out on our day filled with adventure


The year, 2020, will forever be remembered as the year that the world had to pivot, to regroup, to rebound, to recover. It is our hope that we provided the right amount of support and empathy for our customers in these trying times. We were thrilled to celebrate the reopening of the fair industry and can’t wait for the Fair Tour 2022. Thank you to all our fair partners, for taking the time to be with us, and we look forward to continuing to champion our customers who begin to EVENT AGAIN!

Please send us a message if you would like to be apart of our 2022 Fair Tour!