The much anticipated 2020 Dodge County Fair is scheduled to be held in Beaver Dam on August 19-23. Even sooner, the first of the monthly flea markets is planned to kick-off at the fairgrounds on May 23rd. Unfortunately, as the rest of the world is still in a holding pattern with planning and resuming activities – planning in Beaver Dam is currently still paused, awaiting limitations to be lifted and additional guidance to be provided to groups, businesses and local organizations.

Earlier this week, the Fair Board met to discuss options for August’s fair. With too many unknowns still lingering and shifting, the Board felt strongly that it was still too early to make any final decisions on this year’s event — which is only three months away. Unfortunately, those same mandates will be used to help guide planning for the popular flea markets held on Saturday mornings.

As flea markets and vendor fairs have not been outlined as essential or non-essential the Dodge County Fairgrounds is still awaiting final interpretation of the guidelines. Unfortunately, a final decision cannot be made until May 21st — two days before the first market. Ultimately, the May 23rd flea market and future vendor events will operate in a different capacity than attendees have seen in the past. The Board hopes to hold the flea market in some capacity, to continue supporting Frosty’s Fosters Animal Rescue, to find necessary homes for animals in the community.

The monthly flea markets and craft fairs feature unique finds, collectibles and local handmade items. The event is held rain or shine from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm in the afternoon one Saturday each month. Flea market participants and interested attendees should mark June 20, July 18, August 29, September 19 and October 17 on their calendars to take advantage of these monthly events when schedules optimistically resume. Admission and parking for the flea market is free. Interested vendors should visit our website for more information on how to participate.

The Board realizes that too many local, non-profit organizations rely on fundraising activities from the annual events of the Fair and that the education involved in 4-H and FFA exhibits and activities is invaluable to the Dodge County community. Organizations such as the American Legion, Beaver Dam Rotary, Wisconsin Women for Agriculture – Rock River Chapter, Beaver Dam Kiwanis, Dodge County Farm Bureau and the Dodge County Emergency Response Team, provide so many significant services to the community and unfortunately rely on the annual Fair as a primary source for fundraising.

Organizers will be waiting until an ultimate decision is made by the State Supreme Court regarding mandates for holding both small and large scale events. Ultimately, the Board hopes that the community can still be involved in open class exhibits and that local participants can still learn from the valuable experiences involved with public speaking, sportsmanship, event planning and the judging competitions surrounding the Fair activities.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Blue Oyster Cult and Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and another popular, national touring artist are scheduled to give performances at this year’s Fair. A truck and tractor pull and demolition derby are scheduled to entertain fans on Wednesday and Sunday of the Fair.

The health and safety of all who participate in and attend events at the Dodge County Fairgrounds is our top priority.  We will continue to consult with local health and state agencies to aid in decision making. Over the upcoming weeks, the Dodge County Fair Board will be meeting and reaching out to the many vendors, volunteers, 4-H and FFA exhibitors, and promoters to get additional ideas on moving forward with planning.  We welcome ideas from our attendees on how to maintain a safe environment for all involved, including holding a reduced version of the 2020 Fair and holding judging competitions. Suggestions from the community may be submitted via email or by phone to (920) 885-3586.

When events resume, attendees are encouraged to maintain social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings to protect themselves and other attendees. Suggested guidelines from the CDC will be shared and posted for each event and areas and surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected.

Members of the Fair Association and the Extension Office have been attending virtual meetings for several weeks with other local, county fairs to understand the guidelines provided and make alternative plans. Ultimately, at this time a decision still cannot be made. We encourage participants and community members to subscribe to the Dodge County Fairgrounds’ newsletter for notifications and updates by email or visit or Facebook page for up-to-date information on the 2020 Fair events and planning for the flea market.

Article by Jamie Adcock author of and
Photos by Larry Douma of Leader Photography