WEST ALLIS, Wis. - With the Wisconsin State Fair roughly two weeks away, officials introduced on Tuesday, July 19 several safety and security enhancements for this year's fair.
The changes for the upcoming 171st fair include the addition of vehicle barriers, a new bag policy and updates to the carry-in policy for 2022.
"We’re looking forward to great weather and providing a fun atmosphere for everybody to come together and have a great time," said Shari Black, the fair's executive director. "Our number one priority here at the park is safety."
The enhanced measures come after a shooter opened fire on an Independence Day celebration in Highland Park, Illinois and an SUV drove through the Waukesha Christmas Parade last year.
"Every year we review what our policies are as far as security, and this year we decided that we needed to take some of our action plans a little bit further," Black said.
Wisconsin State Fair
While visiting the Wisconsin State Fair, all bags must be 9"x10"x12" or smaller. Exceptions will be made for diaper bags as well as bags holding carry-in items for infants and other medical reasons. As always, all bags are subject to inspection.
Following bag inspections, fairgoers will walk through magnetometer metal detectors that will be in place at every fair park entrance.
To make the fairgoer entry experience quicker and more efficient, Wisconsin State Fair said it has outlined what is permitted and not permitted to bring along to the Wisconsin State Fair. Fairgoers are encouraged to leave unnecessary items at home, and read through the full list before heading to the fair grounds.
"It’s really to help keep pedestrian and vehicle traffic separated and keep people safe as they’re coming into the fair," said Black.
Gate and entrance configurations have also been updated to increase safety between pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
Protective barriers for parades in the City of Waukesha
Officials also say the new layout allows for a better flow as fairgoers enter and exit – separating fairgoers who have pre-purchased tickets from those who still need to purchase tickets.
The new changes bring peace of mind, so people can enjoy what they came to do.
"We want to make sure that we are always providing the best experience, and some of those protocols are put in place just to make sure that we’re providing a safe, fun, family environment," Black said.
As a reminder, fairgoers under 18 years of age entering Wisconsin State Fair Park after 6 p.m. must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older. Proof of age is required.
The 2022 Wisconsin State Fair starts Aug. 4 and runs through Aug. 14.