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Friday, 28 August 2015 12:16

Walworth County Fair 2015: New fair manager takes the reins

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Larry Gaffey is ready to experience his first Walworth County Fair as the new general manager. Gaffey formerly operated an event venue in Wyoming. Larry Gaffey is ready to experience his first Walworth County Fair as the new general manager. Gaffey formerly operated an event venue in Wyoming. Terry Mayer

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Larry Gaffey plans to use his event promotion experience to help attract more people to the Walworth County Fair.

Gaffey was named the general manager of the Walworth County Fair earlier this year. He officially moved to Walworth County in May.

“This is kind of my year to see how it goes,” Gaffey said. “I really didn’t have any input on the entertainment lineup or the scheduling or anything.”

Still, Gaffey is looking forward to the entertainment that will be featured at the fair, set for Wednesday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 7, at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” Gaffey said. “It’s the largest county fair in the state, so the amount of vendors that are here is an attraction in itself, as well as the food vendors.

“I think the monster trucks are going to be a big attraction. The truck pulls are always a big draw. The demolition derby is always a big draw. Cheap Trick is going to be a good show because they’re from the Rockford area. I think that’s going to do well. There’s a lot of Charlie Daniels fans, so I think he’s going to do well.”

And Gaffey already is looking ahead to the 2016 fair.

“We’ve got some plans starting next year,” Gaffey said. “We’re going to have the largest bull contest. We might do the largest onion contest. We already do the largest pumpkin contest,” he said. “So we figure since we’re the largest county fair in Wisconsin, we’re going to start doing things in a big way, and every year add the biggest something contest.”

Before coming to Walworth County, Gaffey operated an event facility in Wyoming that hosted concerts, rodeos, recreational vehicle rallies, horse shows, conventions and trade shows. He also worked as a manager for the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa.

“I’ve been involved with presidential nominees coming in and many, many entertainers and many, many concerts,” Gaffey said. “I don’t know how many weddings, gun shows, hot tub shows, flea markets and ‘world largest garage sales’ I’ve done, but I’ve loved all of it.”

Moving closer to family played into the decision for Gaffey and his wife to move here. But so did the good reputation of the Walworth County Fair, he said.

“My wife and I are from eastern Iowa. We were looking for a good county fair or state fair to run and we were looking at other parts of the country. We studied them a little bit and this one really sounded nice,” Gaffey said. “It’s a good, clean, historical fair. It has good community involvement.

“There’s so many people here who are so passionate about this fair. It makes it fun to explore ideas and think of ways to improve when people are excited about the fair.”

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