WEST ALLIS, Wis. — The Wisconsin State Fair opens to the public Thursday morning.

The 2020 fair was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time it was canceled in 75 years. Now that it's returning, there is a lot excitement in the air as fair staff and vendors look forward to welcoming people back.

On Wednesday, final preparations were underway to make sure everything was ready to go for the event — including ride inspections. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services oversees ride inspections at the fair.

Department of Safety and Professional Services secretary-designee Dawn Crim was standing by to watch as inspectors made sure rides were good to go.

“There are 42 rides here this year; our team comes on site one week before this is set up,” said Crim. “They have spent every day of the last seven days going through all the safety checks ensuring the inspections are correct before the fair opens.”

Even more, albeit vastly different, preperations were underway in the livestock barns.

Colton Coffeen will show a cow at the fair through Brown County Junior Holsteins. Coffeen spent much of Wednesday afternoon making sure his cow was in tip-top condition to be shown. For him, getting to be back at the fair means a lot.

“Its fun meeting people, watching your cattle grow and develop and see how they do in the future,” said Coffeen.

The fair is mainly going cashless this year, with credit or debit cards required for parking and admission to reduce physical contact. There are also hand sanitizer stations scattered throughout the fairgrounds. Masks are not required.

The Wisconsin State Fair will run Aug. 5-15. It will be open from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, except for Aug. 15, when it closes at 10 p.m.