Questioning the Locals: Rusty Volk

free-wheelin‘ discussions with local folks

V1 Staff, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

READY FOR FAIR FUN. Rusty Volk is executive director of the Northern Wisconsin State Fair.
READY FOR FAIR FUN. Rusty Volk is executive director of the Northern Wisconsin State Fair.

From farm to fair, Rusty Volk has had a lengthy journey in the agriculture business. From owning a 1,900-acre family dairy operation in North Dakota to owning a dairy distribution business for 19 years in the Chippewa Valley, and finally to becoming executive director at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in Chippewa Falls. Rusty is passionate about agricultural education for youth as well as the fair’s long history. This year’s fair is July 12-17.

Name: Rusty Volk

Occupation: Executive director, Northern Wisconsin State Fair Association Inc.

What’s been the best part about running the fair thus far?

Working with a dedicated, passionate staff to have FUN and seeing smiling faces of children and grandparents as they both witness new adventures. Fair experiences are lasting experiences.

What is your favorite fair food?

Gyro from Hari Paizis food stand.

What is one of the best cultural experiences you’ve had in the Chippewa Valley?

“Hmong Fest” celebrating Hmong culture/heritage in our region.

What place in town considers you a “regular”?

4:30 AM Coffee House.

If you were on your deathbed and you had to choose one meal from a local restaurant, what would it be?

Rib eye steak from High Shores Supper Club.

What sort of economic development would you like to see in our area?

Passenger rail service from the Chippewa Valley to the Minneapolis and Milwaukee markets.

What frustrates you about the Chippewa Valley?

The deteriorating roads, bridges, and infrastructure.

Describe your last encounter with the police department.

Police officer informed us of her upcoming wedding. I work with the police department nearly every week. Regarding an encounter that is not business or service related; likely a speeding ticket.

RUSTY’s Shoutouts

XCEL ENERGY HYDRO DAM AT NIGHT. Though this hydro dam was built in 1928, the colorful lights weren’t added until 2019. Watch out for the summer seasonal northern lights colors.

HEYDE CENTER FOR THE ARTS. What was once the McDonell Memorial High School is now Chippewa Falls’ premiere art center with exhibits, performances, and other special events. 

LEINENKUGEL BREWERY. Rusty’s favorite local trivia fact is that Leinie’s has been a family-run establishment for over 150 years – we think that’s pretty cool, too.