Wisconsin State Fair

Face of Festivals

Shari Black; Photo by Boutique Photographer Linda Smallpage; Instagram: @boutiquephotographer | Facebook: Boutique Photographer | Linkedin: Linda Smallpage

Shari Black has spent her whole life working state and county fairs. As a kid, she raised and showed swine and heifers at the Waukesha County Fair, and then heifers at the Wisconsin State Fair. An internship at the Waukesha County Fair soon blossomed into being named executive director at only 23 years old. Now Black is starting a new role as the CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair.

“I wake up every day excited to go to work,” she says. “We’re really looking forward to getting back to a normal fair this year.”

This year – the fair’s 171st since it debuted in 1851 – the fair is introducing new vendors like Camp Bar and WurstBar. And on Aug. 9, the popular “Crazy Grazin’ Day” continues. “It’s a great way to sample many dishes in smaller portion sizes,” says Black, who also highlights the Discovery Barnyard and a Japanese garden in Exploratory Park as must-dos at this year’s event.

“We’re creating memories and making fun for people to enjoy,” she says. “We’re planning an 11-day party for nearly a million people.”

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