WEST ALLIS — Get your tickets and your stomachs ready! The Wisconsin State Fair is back after it was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's always around my birthday, so I always make it a tradition to come with the kids and family," said one fair-goer, Taylor Hutchins.
"It's always been a tradition coming on opening day since I was a little girl," said another fair-goer, Juanita Moore.
Last year the fair was canceled due to the pandemic. So when Wisconsin native Kimberly Hutchins found out it was happening this year, she flew straight from Florida to spend time with her family at the fair.
The fair runs Thursday through Aug. 15 at the 200-acre State Fair Park in West Allis.
"This is something that I've been doing all of my life. It's great to make memories that they will remember forever," said Hutchins.
Meanwhile, Greg Failey has been coming to the state fair for 40 years.
"It was pretty old back in the day, they built this nice expo center. It's cleaned up the grounds a whole lot and the racetrack of course was upgraded," said Failey.
But he says this year is a little more special.
"It does bring a feeling of normalcy back with some regular activities in life so it's good to have that feeling," said Failey.
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So what's everyone looking forward to at the fair this year?
"The rides, and the cream puffs and the mini donuts," said Ariana Zastrow.
"Food, food, food, food," said Hutchins sons.
"I'm a big concert person, I like to go to concerts and stuff," said Julie Kreuziger.
And while it is an exciting day, some families at the fair are still taking precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19.
"I have my mask. We're going to kind of social distance as much as we can. We're fully vaccinated. Life doesn't stop but you still just have to be careful," said Moore.
COVID-19 means some changes for this year's fair, including cashless admission and parking. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the fair gates. Organizers say it will reduce both physical contact and manpower and to make transactions faster.
It’s all about the butter dip at the New Berlin Lions Club Roasted Corn stand @wistatefair! Youth groups volunteer each year and then the proceeds are donated back to their clubs and the greater community! @tmj4 pic.twitter.com/4QJscZZJkz— Sarah McGrew (@sarahrosemcgrew) August 5, 2021
Also, hours of the fair have been trimmed to give staff more time to clean overnight.