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Lodi Ag Fair begins 153rd run on Thursday

July 9, 2018

LODI — The first of two state-sanctioned local fairs in Columbia County opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know about the 153rd edition of the Lodi Agricultural Fair.

Is this the

Columbia County Fair?

No. That event is scheduled for July 25 to 29 at the fairgrounds in Portage. But many people exhibit in both fairs. The Lodi Agricultural Fair attracts exhibitors — about 450 of them — mainly from southern Columbia County and surrounding counties. About 10,000 people come to the fair annually.

What’s new in 2018?

Livestock exhibitors will likely be the ones who most notice the changes. Because the rabbit and poultry exhibitors needed a bigger tent, the tent was moved to a spot alongside the sheep barn. And a new wash rack has been built for large livestock exhibits.

A Sunday-afternoon event that was new last year — a free ice cream social to honor veterans — has been expanded to include first responders. That’s happening from noon to 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the free tent.

What’s the theme

for this year’s bake-off?

For the traditional bake-off, judged at noon Friday in the junior exhibit hall, the theme is oranges and lemons. People up to age 18 will be invited to offer their best concoctions — bars, pies, cakes, anything — but the baked goods must be flavored with real lemon or real orange, such as freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice or the zest (grated peel) from lemons or oranges.

What, exactly, is a quilt turning?

It’s a tradition of the Lodi Ag Fair, and it’s happening at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Members of the Lodi Valley Quilters’ Guild will show dozens of quilts, old and new, on a hand-rotated rack.

Will there be pie?

Yes — but be prepared to pay at least a three-figure price at the Celebrity Pie Auction at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Free Stage Tent. The reigning Alice in Dairyland, Kaitlyn Riley, will be among the celebrities offering a pie for the auction, which benefits the fair and the Lodi Challengers 4-H Club.

What’s happening in the grandstand?

The demolition derby will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with the Saturday show starting with a kiddie car demo derby. A children’s pedal pull will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, and the fair will conclude at 5 p.m. Sunday with the South Central Wisconsin Pullers Truck and Tractor Pull.

Is the butterfly tent back this year?

Yes. This will be its third year. Monarch butterflies, freshly emerged from the chrysalis, will be housed in a tent on the fairgrounds, and people of all ages can come and see them, as long as they do not touch the butterflies. At 3 p.m. Sunday, the tent flaps will come down and the butterflies will be released into the wild.

When is the carnival open?

The rides open at 5 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On the fair’s final day, the carnival closes at 6 p.m.

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