Wear the fair with collectible pins

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Margaret Plevak | August 30, 2013

It's smaller than a stuffed bear at a carnival game, will last longer than a box of cream puffs, and will be a reminder of the Walworth County Fair long after the gates are closed.

It's a little enameled gold pin, sold in the souvenir shop on the fairgrounds.

The pins are decorated with Walworth County Fair logos and themes over the last few years. There's a Holstein cow peeking over the 2010 pin, a golden ear of corn on the 2009 pin, a boatload of animals for the nautical theme of 2011, and a pig astronaut outside a rocket for the 2012 pin that advertised, “Blast off for the Walworth County Fair.” On a 2008 International Association of Fairs and Exposition pin for Zone 4—which contains part of Minnesota, Canada, Wisconsin and the Dakotas--there's even a tiny horse, rider and sulky, celebrating the fair tradition of harness racing. And of course, there's this year's fair pin: a cow in a convertible for the 2013 theme of “Start Your Engines.”

Walworth County Fair commemorative pins have been popular for some six years now, according to Sue Pruessing, Walworth County Fair manager of marketing and public relations.

“All of our pins have sold well, although the (160th anniversary) pin has been very popular,” Pruessing said in an email. “That year (2009) we offered two sizes, the large and then a smaller lapel pin, but every other year, there has just been the smaller lapel pin.”

Pruessing credited Walworth County Fair board member David Adams with the pins. The idea for them began taking shape after a new fair logo was designed, she said.

Commemorative pins aren't new. Many fairs throughout the industry have them, Pruessing said. In fact, she's amassed quite a collection herself.

“As far as who has the biggest pin collection, I probably do just because I have pins from fairs all over, as well as our own,” she said. “We take our pins to the national convention out in Las Vegas and trade them.”   

But because pins don't suit everybody, Pruessing started a more universal souvenir 11 years ago in the form of the Walworth County Fair t-shirt.  She said the shirts have been wearable banners for the fair's annual themes. Look for them selling at spots all around the grounds.

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