Weddings on a stick: County Fair offers free weddings, vow renewals

Photo courtesy of Washington County Fair
Tenth Judicial District Judge Greg Galler, right, performs free weddings and wedding vow renewals during the Washington County Fair Aug. 1-5 at the County Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo.

LAKE ELMO — Washington County fairgoers can get married or have their wedding vows renewed for free at the fairgrounds during the fair’s Aug. 1-5 run.

The ceremonies will take place on a hill overlooking the Washington County Master Gardeners “Fairest Garden.” Bergmann’s Greenhouse and Farm Market in Stillwater is landscaping and decorating the immediate ceremony area.

Tenth Judicial District Judge Greg Galler, who came up with idea and performs the ceremonies, wanted to make the fair even more memorable for those who attend.

“I love the demographics of the fair,” he said. “It is a good gathering spot and the ceremonies are something everyone can enjoy whether they participate or observe.”

Ceremony times are from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1-3 and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 4- 5. Participants can begin signing up 30 minutes before the scheduled time block.

            Marguerite Rheinberger, a Washington County Fair Board Director and organizer of the event, said because the ceremonies require no registration and are on a first come, first served basis, they really have no idea how many people will participate.

“I am aware of one wedding and some renewals that will take place over the five-day fair but there are rumors that several more may occur,” she said. “If we have to, we will go beyond the scheduled times to get everyone in.”

After seeing the new attraction posted on the International Association of Fairs and Expositions Web site, Washington County Fair Board Director John Rheinberger contacted the organization and other entities to see how unique our county was in offering them.

“We are the only county in the United States to offer fair-sponsored free weddings and vow renewals every day of our fair to every qualified person without any pre-registration or contest involved, and in a very open setting on the fairgrounds so that all other fairgoers can witness the ceremonies,” said John Rheinberger.

Normal gate admission will be charged for all participants and their families and friends who come to observe. For more information go to’s_for_Weddings.pdf