Business View Magazine | August 2019

217 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE AUGUST 2019 and until it came to Wisconsin State Fair Park, it was transient – it started in Janesville, it moved to a number of different cities (including Watertown, Fond du Lac, Madison, and Milwaukee) until it came here in 1892. “Through the course of the 168 fairs, the Wisconsin State Fair has only been cancelled five times due, primarily, to the Civil War in 1862 and 1863; and then due to the major exposition that was being held in Chicago in 1893; and then two times during World War II at the request of the U.S. Office of War Transportation.” Over the years, the Fair has continually added new attractions: in 1869, there was a fire engine demonstration where boxes, barrels, and a large wooden building were set aflame. The historic Milwaukee Mile at Wisconsin State Fair Park first opened as a private horse-racing track, and has since experienced thousands of automobile races and welcomed loyal fans from across the country. This iconic Milwaukee treasure hosted its first dirt- track automobile race on Sept. 11, 1903, and the most recent race took place June 16, 2019, making the Milwaukee Mile the oldest operating motor speedway in the world. By the early 1900s, several other new facilities had been built at the Fair Park, including electric lighting that allowed for extended hours. In keeping with the times, the 1911 Fair featured WI SCONS IN STATE FA I R PARK a new gate to accommodate automobile traffic. That same year, pioneer aviator, Lincoln Beachey, departed from the Fair Park, marking the first flight over Milwaukee. Henry Ford visited the Fair in 1922, and one year later, more than 60 new amusement park concessions and rides were installed near the Old Mill, creating “Fun City.” In 2012, the Fair introduced SpinCity, one of only a handful of independently-managed Fair midways in the country. Today, SpinCity continues to offer fairgoers more than 50 spectacular rides, quality games, and concessions. But, according to O’Leary, what truly sets the Wisconsin State Fair apart from other events is its agricultural component. “We are the agricultural showcase of the State of Wisconsin,” she states. Animal exhibitions include cattle, donkeys, goats, horses, poultry, rabbits, sheep, and swine. There are also horticultural exhibits, tractor displays, and farm and agricultural education exhibits. pictured below Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO, Kathleen O’Leary