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May 25, 2020

3/3/2020 7:30:00 AM
'A taste of the county fair'
Minocqua carnival approved as fair events expand outside Rhinelander

Brian Jopek
Lakeland Times Reporter

A carnival will be held in Minocqua during the last weekend in August as part of an effort to expand Oneida County fair activities to other parts of the county.

In a special session last Thursday morning, the Minocqua town board approved the use of the soccer field portion of the Minocqua 70 West Sports Complex for the carnival which is scheduled to run from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30.

Town chairman Mark Hartzheim began the nearly 45-minute discussion by telling the town board he'd been contacted late last year by Tom Barnett, Oneida County Fair coordinator, and Oneida County Fair committee president Fred Andrist about the concept of getting carnival activity into other parts of the county.

"(They asked) whether the town would have the availability and desire to hold a carnival-type event in town," Hartzheim said, adding that he talked to town clerk Roben Haggart about the idea.

"We were interested in that and thought it could be a nice thing for the community," he said. "They told us what their needs are and wanted to look at some maps and coordinate a little bit. We've kind of done all we can on that end and they are interested in moving forward with it but at this point, we need the board involvement to approve the concept so they can make sure they can book this."

Barnett said they looked at options they were given and the complex seemed to suit the needs of the carnival "very well."

There were several reasons Minocqua was being approached, he added.

"One, we want to bring communities outside of Rhinelander, because it is a county fair, we want other communities in the county to have something of the fair to enjoy and have in their town as well," he said. "The second reason is this would be a major fundraising opportunity for the fair."

At the county level, Barnett explained this would be a way for the fair to be more self-sufficient which he said is what the fair committee has been trying to accomplish over the past few years.

"This would add to that effort tremendously," he said.

The carnival, which will be stationed at Rhinelander's Pioneer Park during the Oneida County Fair in early August, is Hurley-based Tri-State Amusements.

Barnett said Tri-State is a "professional" operation, down to uniforms its employees wear while at work.

"People would just be getting a taste of the county fair in Minocqua with all the rides and everything," he said.

Vendors would be limited and Barnett said there are no plans at this point to have beer served although town supervisor Billy Fried offered toward the end of the discussion to provide Barnett with contact information for some of Minocqua's service organizations to see if there would be interest in having a beer stand during the carnival.

Hours of operation discussed would be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Barnett and the fair committee will work with Minocqua public works director Mark Pertile and police chief Dave Jaeger on logistical and traffic control details.

Other details, such as documentation of the carnival's operating permit and insurance, will also be addressed.

Barnett said he could also have the carnival's owner provide a list of employees so background checks can be performed, something he said is done for the fair in Rhinelander.

"I really do think a carnival can be a very nice addition to the community," Hartzheim said. "We had them when we were kids at the Hazelhurst ballfield. We went every year. Half of it was a social event and half of it was the rides."

"I think you'll be very pleased," Barnett said.

Other matters

In other business, the town board:

• Approved a bid from Pitlik & Wick of just over $850,000 for work that will include multiple culvert replacements on 3.6 miles of Bo Di Lac Drive.

Pertile said all but $371,000 is covered by grant money and the town's road budget.

The town will have to borrow the remainder.

The board also reappointed Buck Drossert and Dick Heil to one-year terms on the room tax commission.

Brian Jopek may be reached at

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