Eau Claire Farm Show set for its 56th year, March 5-6, 2019

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Farmers of all ages and from three states will be heading to western Wisconsin for the 56th annual Eau Claire Farm Show, March 5-6, 2019.

As one of the first farm shows of 2019, winter weary farmers are eager to get out and about to see what's new and to learn more about farm products and services for the year ahead.

Touted as the second oldest running farm show in Wisconsin, North Country Enterprise and The Country Today is again holding the Eau Claire Farm Show, March 5-6, at the Chippewa Valley Expo Center, 5151 Old Mill Plaza, Eau Claire. The show runs each day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition to the Eau Claire Farm Show, Eau Claire will also host the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days show at Huntsinger Farms in 2020.

This well-attended show, draws between 8,000 to 9,000 people, and features over 150 exhibitors, so show co-director Bill Henry.

"We draw a lot of farmers in from the tri-state area and have seen attendance go up every year," Henry said. "In fact, our vendor spots for the show typically fill up around Christmas. Right now we have a waiting list of around 30-40 vendors."

Despite the less than ideal farm economy, Henry says that vendors are eager to show farmers their wares and services.

"This show not only allows them to showcase their businesses, but it lets farmers know that they're still in business and when the farm economy turns around, they're going to still be there to provide for farmers' needs," Henry said.

Henry feels the secret of success to the show's 56-year run is the value all under one roof at the 53,413-square foot Chippewa Valley Expo Center (formerly known as the Menards Conference Center).

"It's a combination of things: health care clinics, vendors, entertainment—farmers need a good laugh, too— and free admission and parking," Henry pointed out. "As long as we're running this show, there will never be charges for admission and parking."

Henry says a health clinic sponsored by Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) St. Joseph and Sacred Heart hospitals will feature blood pressure checks, cholesterol and audio testing, as well as stroke prevention and some cancer screenings. The Eau Claire County Health Department will also be available to perform well water testing and provide coupons for radon testing kits. In addition, a limited number of fire/carbon monoxide detectors will also be given out.

Entertainment will be provided by Wisconsin comedian and juggler Steven Russell. The Colfax entertainer's show will feature a mixture of comedy, magic, stunts, jokes, juggling and more, suited for audiences of all ages. 

Russell, who has appeared everywhere from local school classrooms to cruise ships, Broadway or on Good Morning America, will be performing at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m., both days of the farm show.

Henry encourages show-goers to check out the show's silent auction which will benefit the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. He says the auction has raised nearly $60,000 in it's existence.

Auction items which include a signed Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings footballs, John Deere pedal tractor, welding bench, gift baskets and more will on display throughout the show, with attendees being able to cast bids both days from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

"It's a great way to support the FFA members and the program," Henry said.