By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — One of Marshfield’s greatest traditions, Dairyfest will span this weekend with a seemingly endless array of events. The festivities have been part of the fabric of the Marshfield community for 35 years.
The theme of this year’s Dairyfest is “Thank a Farmer”, said Debbie Bauer, program director for the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI). MACCI serves as the main organizer of Dairyfest.
“It (the theme) just seemed very fitting for our 35th year,” Bauer said. “From the start of the dairy breakfast 35 years ago, that was the whole purpose behind the Dairyfest event was to really pay tribute to the dairy industry and certainly the businesses and the farmers that we have right here in central Wisconsin.”
Bauer said over 2,000 people would be served at this year’s Mayor’s Breakfast. When the event began in 1981, Bauer said just 100 people were served.
Bauer’s favorite event is the parade, which she estimated 12,000 people typically attend.
“The people still come out whether it’s cold or hot or rainy. To see the streets lined with kids and families, that is just very rewarding to see that all come together, everybody wanting to be part of Dairyfest in some way,” Bauer said.
The business community, Bauer added, is integral to organizing and supporting Dairyfest.
“The chamber is the coordinator and the facilitator of much of Dairyfest,” Bauer said. “Without the support of the business community throughout the weekend, Dairyfest wouldn’t continue, and we couldn’t do it. The chamber could not do it.”
Bauer said businesses support the event through in-kind donations, supplying volunteers, and financial contributions.
Marshfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Matt McLean said that, while it is difficult to pinpoint Dairyfest’s exact economic impact, “We know Dairyfest does good things for the community.”
He added that the average person making a day trip to Marshfield would typically spend about $58 in town, and if that person stays overnight at a hotel, the number climbs to $180.
Dairyfest kicks off Thursday with Carnival at the Mall, and that event will run through Sunday. Early Friday morning will be the Mayor’s Breakfast, and Friday night is Picnic in the Park from 5-8:30 p.m. at Columbia Park. The ACO Wisconsin State Cornhole Championship will be held in the Expo Building at the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds from 5-10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday.
The main event, the Dairyfest Parade, will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. For a full listing of events, visit