History of the Walworth County Fair
The Constitution of the Walworth County Agricultural Society was adopted on April 28, 1842. The first annual fair and cattle show of which we have any record was held in the Village of East Troy on October 16, 1850. A total of 35 first premiums, 17-second premiums, and three third premiums were given at that time.
The first County Fair held in Elkhorn was in 1851, and again in 1852, in the block southwest of the City Park. In 1853 the fair site was moved to Delavan but returned to Elkhorn in 1854. In 1855, the first purchase of land, from Colonel Edward Elderkin, was made consisting of six acres within the Village of Elkhorn limits. The cost was $100 an acre with 10 percent interest, a high price for the time. The city of Elkhorn donated $300 to fence the land, erect pens, and sheds and to dig wells. The fair site has remained in Elkhorn since 1855 on this same location. On April 5, 1965, the Articles of Incorporation for the Walworth County Agricultural Society, Inc., were signed by the Secretary of State.
In its early years, many visitors traveled to the Fair by train. At one time, there were 19 Special Trains which arrived daily directly at the Fairgrounds and departed again each evening after the harness races. Guests came from Libertyville, Rockford, Freeport, Walworth, Beloit, Madison, Janesville, Milwaukee, and Waukesha.
The Walworth County Fairgrounds, throughout history, have been well-regarded as a live entertainment venue. 1933 was the beginning of live entertainment night shows at the Walworth County Fair, such as the WLS entertainers. Throughout the years, the grandstand main stage has welcomed the talents of such nationally-acclaimed artists, such as Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash, Keith Urban, Josh Turner, Little Big Town, Styx, Doobie Brothers, Cheap Trick, Foreigner, Skillet, Newsboys United, and The Beach Boys. Visit the link below for more information.
Today, the Walworth County Agricultural Society, Inc., a 501(c)(3), welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests year-round to its nearly 100-acre facility. From beautiful campgrounds, spacious buildings, open green spaces, a large grandstand, and a recently improved and expanded equine facility, the fairgrounds attracts visitors and events from coast-to-coast, renowned for its midwest charm, affordability, and hospitality. Additionally, the Walworth County Fair and Fairgrounds is a consistent award-winning fair industry leader in agriculture education, competitive exhibits, non-Fair facility usage, and sponsorship with the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE).
We look forward to welcoming you and your family to the Walworth County Fairgrounds!