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Downtown Baraboo gears up for popular fall Fair on the Square Saturday

October 11, 2018

Rylee Green, left, and Stella Meier, both of Baraboo and then 6 years old, dance to live music in front of the Sauk County Courthouse during the spring Fair on the Square in 2017.

Artists and crafters will fill Baraboo’s downtown Saturday for the fall Fair on the Square, ensuring no shortage of activities for area residents and visitors.

“Typically the spring fair is our biggest, but this is gonna be a whopper,” said Dee Marshall, president of Downtown Baraboo Inc.

Hosted by the group twice a year, the fair features all the staples: live music, food, activities for children, a farmers market, art and open shops. This particular iteration also includes the Baraboo Fire Department open house, starting at 10 a.m., and the kickoff for the pop-up shop program’s second year, in which Baraboo Children’s Museum and the International Crane Foundation will set up downtown storefronts through the end of the year.

“We try to do something a little different each time,” Marshall said, noting the farm-to-table cooking demonstrations at the spring Fair on the Square proved “very popular” and likely would be brought back for future events.

Todd Wickus, Downtown Baraboo Inc. board member and promotion committee chair, found himself listing each aspect of the fall fair when asked what he was most looking forward to this time.

“That’s a lot. I guess I’m looking forward to it all,” he said. “I think it’s a great end of the summer/fall season to get out and experience the downtown and vendors, the farmers market, friends and family.”

With almost 160 artists and crafters booked as of Friday, according to Marshall, visitors can expect plenty of new faces compared to the 2017 fall fair, which featured about 140 vendors. Wickus said some vendors choose to attend only the October event, so even those who came to the larger spring fair — boasting roughly 190 artisans — could find items they haven’t seen before.

Baraboo and the surrounding area act as a draw on their own, Wickus said, in addition to the fair being an event people enjoy returning for — and that makes an increasing number of vendors want access to those customers.

Live music performed first by local singer Marc LaMere and then by Baraboo funk band Say It Ain’t Soul will provide atmosphere from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Estimating attendance to be in the thousands — mid-thousands by Marshall’s guess, high thousands by Wickus’ — organizers expressed optimism the weather would cooperate.

Forecasts as of Wednesday call for the rain clouds that have soaked Baraboo this week to break before the fair, leaving Saturday mostly sunny with a high of 48 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That crisp, fall weather for celebrating autumn in Wisconsin will coincide with the tail end of peak colors enhancing the area’s trees, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report.

Marshall, who has “a whole contingent” of friends from Iowa and other communities staying with her this weekend for the art fair and pop-up shops, said there’s excitement even from other states.

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