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Black Named Interim Director of Wisconsin State Fair Park
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 10/20/2021

The Wisconsin State Fair Park board has hired from within in choosing an interim CEO and executive director. Shari Black, who currently serves as chief programs officer for the facility, was appointed by WSFP Chairman John Yingling to fulfill those duties once Kathleen O'Leary retires at the end of October.

"Shari has a wealth of experience and knowledge that make her an excellent choice for interim director," Yingling said. "The board looks forward to working with her and the staff to continue the forward momentum we have seen at State Fair Park in recent years."

Black has been involved in the fair industry for most of her career. After serving as executive director for the Waukesha County Fair in Waukesha for 15 years, she was hired by Wisconsin State Fair Park in 2016 as senior director of event services, which included managing year-round facility rentals as well as the amusement ride and game area at the state fair. She was promoted to chief programs officer in 2019.

In addition, Black has been active in the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

O'Leary announced in September that she will be retiring after 24 years of service at WSFP, including the past five as CEO.

The annual Wisconsin State Fair is considered one of the top 10 fairs in the nation and has garnered numerous industry awards under her leadership.


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