WI Fairest of the Fairs to serve additional year

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer

Cayley Vande Berg will have another shot at serving as the Wisconsin State Fair's official hostess.

Cayley Vande Berg of Fond du Lac county will have an extended opportunity to serve as the Wisconsin State Fair's official hostess next year despite the widespread fair cancellations due to the pandemic.

The Rosendale woman was selected in January 2020 to serve as the 2020 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted her plans of traveling across the state to visit a myriad of events and county fairs, promoting the educational, agricultural, social and cultural and commercial opportunities available at Wisconsin's fairs.

Following the announcement of the cancellation of the Wisconsin State Fair, Vande Berg posted on Facebook that the news was painful, as fairs are her passion.

"We are mourning the loss of a time when we come together as a community to celebrate the best 11 days of summer together at the Wisconsin State Fair," Vande Berg wrote. "I am thankful for the memories that I have of fairs and cherish those memories now more than ever."

Jen Puente, chief marketing officer for the Wisconsin State Fair announced that Vande Berg will serve an additional year until January 2022.

While Vande Berg won't be performing her traditional duties, her focus will shift to making limited appearances during the remainder of 2020 in hopes of returning to traveling in 2021.

Vande Berg follows in a 54 year tradition as the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, which serves as an ambassador for the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, representing 75 county, district and state fairs in Wisconsin.

Puente noted that by extending her reign, Vande Berg will be able to fully experience all of the great events usually scheduled while highlighting the importance of agriculture and the Fair industry throughout Wisconsin.

According to Wednesday's news release, modifications will also be made to the annual Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention to be held January 10-13, 2021. Changes include the absence of the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs Contest. In addition, the Wisconsin Association of Fairs Fairest Committee is working with local programs to roll their contestants into the 2022 contest.

Vande Berg says she looks forward to continuing her reign through 2021, being able to visit many of Wisconsin’s Fairs next summer, including the Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, Thursday, Aug. 5 – Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.