A show manager with Wisconsin Farm Technology Days told Kewaunee County officials that last year’s agricultural trade show was the most well-executed he’s seen in his time with the event.
That was among the highlights in a report about the July 11-13 event on the grounds of Ebert Enterprises, given to the Kewaunee County Board by Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom, who worked on bringing the show to Kewaunee County since 2012.
“It took a lot of time but it was really worth the effort in the end,” she said. “We made it about our community – not about Kewaunee County, but our community.”
The effort took 18 committees with 33 chairs and co-chairs and 200 committee members. By the time the show closed, a record 1,900 volunteers had served 21,410 hours, and estimated $516,855, Bjurstrom said.
The first-day attendance of 10,000 visitors was Farm Technology Days’ highest in years, she said. Total attendance of 26,500 was about in the expected range, especially given a rainstorm the morning of July 12 that depressed that day’s numbers, even though an intense cleanup effort had the grounds dry by the time the gates opened.
All 1,000 commemorative toys sold out before opening day, for the first time since 2012.
Among other highlights, 15,000 people took the farm tour, volunteers served 15,000 hamburgers and cheeseburgers, and visitors downed almost 12,000 bowls of ice cream.
“The $500,000 fundraising goal was exceeded from in-kind donations alone due to the overwhelming support of local businesses and families from the show,” Bjurstrom said.
The show made a tidy profit, she said.
“All county departments that budgeted expenses, such as law enforcement and highway, have been paid back already,” and the county’s investment in the trade show will be reimbursed soon, Bjurstrom said.
The executive committee has agreed to return or invest 100 percent of the profit – 47 percent to the community, 28 percent to grants, and 25 percent to scholarships, she said. “We are working on some ideas that should benefit the community and local organizations.”
More announcements are forthcoming in the next couple of months, Bjurstrom said.
“The show was a success because of the people, because of all of you, because of the time you put in, the support and the effort that you made, and together we worked to accomplish something that’s never been done in this county, and we’re proud of that,” she said. “We made a lot of memories, we developed new leaders, and most importantly we are going to give back to the community monetarily and we’re excited about that.”
Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days 2017 has provided funds to these nonprofit organizations: 4-H Adult Leaders Association, Algoma Hunting and Fishing Club, Algoma Snowriders Club, Denmark FFA Alumni, Fox Valley Chorus of Sweet Adelines in Appleton, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Kewaunee Artisan Center, Kewaunee County Food Pantry, Kewaunee High School FBLA, Kewaunee Rotary, Luxemburg Knights of Columbus, Kewaunee School District PBIS, Mishicot FFA Alumni, Rio Creek Aviation Foundation, Robinson Legion Post 538 Carlton, St. Isadore The Farmer Parish, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s Algoma Home School Association, St. Paul Lutheran Church Algoma and The Violence Intervention Project.