4-H members work near the grandstand ticket booth in advance of today's abbreviated fair opener.

 The smells of cheese curds, corn dogs, and soon auto exhaust and animals are returning to the Langlade County Fairgrounds.

It’s being billed as “Wheels in Motion” sponsored by the Langlade County Fair Association, and will involve IRA sprint cars, sport mods and stock car races tonight  at 6 p.m.; Crazy Crash Motorsports Demo Derby on Saturday at 5 p.m.; and the traditional tractor pull Sunday, at noon.

There will also be a Jackpot sale, featuring the champion market steers, sheep and swine raised and prepared for 4-H members in preparation for this year’s exposition, Saturday at 1 p.m. in the livestock pavilion.

According to Rhonda Klement, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a serious curve at organizers hoping for the traditional five-day event, resplendent with music, carnival rides, a bevy of entertainment options and thousands of various judged exhibits.

But fair-goers will find plenty to enjoy. Race car drivers, demo crashers, and tractor pullers are all anxious to get back to their competitive work, Fair Coordinator Rhonda Klement said.

“We had a good response of cars and racers coming,” she said. “Participants are glad they have a place to complete so there should be some good shows.”

And that most treasured of fair traditions—the food—will be back.

The Antigo Optimist Club will be selling its “almost” famous cheese curds, along with an expanded menu featuring garlic parmesan fries and tenderloin steak sandwiches. The wagon will be running today  until  10:30 p.m., with delivery available at lunchtime, Saturday, 3 to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be more fair food on the grounds as well, including funnel cakes, corn dogs and lemonade and the vendor offering fried rice and other Oriental specialties such as shrimp and fried rice is also back.

The Fair Board will be serving beer, soda and water, with the FFA, Lions Club and Elks Lodge handling 50/50 raffles.

There is no charge for parking, so fair-goers are invited to come out for lunch or dinner, even if they don’t catch a grandstand show.

Admission for tonight’s racing is $25 for adults, $15 for youth ages three to 12, and free for those under three. Demo tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for youth over three years of age. The tractor finale will cost $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

Online ticket purchases are encouraged for quick pick-up.

The Jackpot sale will again be conducted by Duke and Kathy Packard of Northcentral Sales, continuing a decades-old tradition. Forty-seven steers, sheep and hogs raised by 4-Hers in preparation for the usual market sale now canceled due to COVID—will be sold with live and online bidding. The auction will also be streamed live on Facebook. The bidders and their animals may be previewed now on the Northcentral Sales Auction website.

Arrangements have already been made with the processing plants. Bidders only need to contact the processor with cutting instructions and make payment arrangements.

Fair-goers are asked to follow the Centers for Disease Control guideline regarding social distancing, hand-washing and sanitation. Facial coverings will be encouraged but not required.

Advance ticket purchase online is also encouraged to trim the lines at the ticket booths. Online purchasers will have a designated window for quicker gate processing.