The rules of the road for parking at the Rock County 4-H Fair

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Sarah Zimmermann
July 25, 2015

JANESVILLE—As thousands stream to the Rock County 4-H Fair, residents who live near the grounds said they enjoy fair week despite the crowds, noise and streets jammed with parked cars.

Phyllis Cockfield, who lives on Craig Avenue across the street from the fairgrounds, said she looks forward to the fair every year.

“I get to meet a lot of people and everyone is friendly,” Cockfield said.

Fair attendees typically flood all available street parking. When country music band Florida Georgia Line performed at the fair in 2013, the fair set a single-day attendance record of 30,667.

“Cars and people were lined up on the street and around the block,” said Rebecca Kennedy, who lives on Ringold Street near the fairgrounds.

The crowds were so large that fairgrounds bathrooms overflowed. Kennedy let a mother and her children use her bathroom.

Janesville police encourage fair goers to be careful where they park. Community service officers will patrol the area during fair week, looking for parking violators. Drivers parked illegally will receive tickets costing $30 to $50.

While the officers don't see many issues, occasionally a car will be parked too close to a driveway, making it difficult residents to get their vehicles out, Janesville police Sgt. Todd Kleisner said.

Officers also see vehicles in no-parking zones, too close to fire hydrants and too far from the curb, Kleisner said.

The extra traffic just requires a little more patience, Cockfield said.

First Lutheran Church, across the street from the fairgrounds at 612 N. Randall Ave., offers parking passes for the fair. Weekly passes are $55, but they sell out before the fair starts, said Mary Wileman, business administrator for Faith Lutheran Church.

Drivers can purchase daily parking passes at First Lutheran Church for $5 or $7. The $7 daily passes let drivers come and go throughout the day, while the $5 passes let users park for the day but do not reserve the spots if they decide to leave and come back. Daily passes are purchased the day of use and sell out quickly, Wileman said.

Attendees may be interested in taking alternative forms of transit to the fair to avoid parking issues. While the Janesville Transit System will not be offering any additional routes, the fairgrounds area is served by the East Milwaukee Street Route, as well as the Nightside East Route in the evening.

“While there isn't a great increase, there are some people that do choose to ride the bus to the fair to avoid parking issues,” said Rebecca Smith, transit director with the Janesville Transit System.

In previous years, the fair provided a free shuttle from the Creston Park Shopping Center parking lot to the fairgrounds, but no shuttle is offered this year. Mary Check, office manager for the fair, said the fair stopped running the shuttle a couple years ago because there were not enough riders.

Pat Bare, owner of Park City Taxi, is offering a free shuttle from Craig High School to the fairgrounds Saturday from 3 p.m. until after the fair ends.

Park City Taxi also offers regular taxi service throughout the fair week.

Ted Kilcoyne, who lives on Craig Avenue, said he enjoys seeing people having a good time at the fair, and attendees are always in good moods.

“I don't have a problem with it, it's only one week of the year,” Kilcoyne said.

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