Say CHEESE! It’s time for the Wisconsin State Fair

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Last month I wrote about a Wisconsin event, Summerfest, well now it’s time for another—Wisconsin State Fair (WSF). I have been going to the fair pretty much my whole life. My cousins used to live just blocks away and I became a resident of their home for the entire ten day affair. We would spend the day riding rides, eating fair food and winning cheap mirrors with our favorite bands on them playing games.
Many years ago when my husband and I were dating, we attended the Ohio State fair. I was like, “Where are the animals? Where are the bands? Where is the BEER?” The Ohio State Fair was DRY!! It was more like a local county fair than the state fair that I was used to. He was skeptical when I told him about WSF, but he has since become a convert. The first time he went he was overwhelmed by the food choices, barns of animals, music stages and of course the beer. We have made it a summer time destination for the last several years, and we look forward to it every year.
In no particular order, here are my Top 10 favorites of the WSF:
1. Fried cheese – not those little nuggets, but the big blocks of ooey goodness. Dipped in jalapeno ranch sauce, it’s the bomb.
2. Ice cream with fresh cherries from the Agriculture building. So creamy and the cherries are tart-delicious
3. Rib-eye sandwich from the Cattleman’s Association – I have been trying to avoid beef and pork, but I may have to make an exception for this.
4. Baked potato bar – located in the Agriculture building, they will put the basics on it for you then you get to add a bunch of extras.
5. Beer, most notably the Microbrew tent. Great selection of craft beers in a sea of Bud and Miller.
6. Shopping. While historically the shopping has been good, it seems to be in decline. However, we can all use another stainless steel ring or WSF t-shirt.
7. Exhibition Hall – when it is hot outside this is the place to be as it is air conditioned. Packed with everything from pots and pans, knives, choppers, chamois, sports memorabilia, you name it, it’s in there. Demos galore and you might even run into a politician or two. Beware the double wide stroller—major log jam.
8. Live music. There are many stages around the fair that have something for everyone. In the mood for an Elvis or Neil Diamond impersonator? The Fair has them. Country, blues, and cover bands, which leads me to…
9. Metal Men. My favorite cover band in Milwaukee playing the 80’s metal hits. I have known the guitar player, a friend of my brother’s, since I was probably 13. It brings back all the good memories of my heavy metal years and even earlier, as I usually run into a bunch of my brother’s friends who I have known for almost 30 years. Nostalgia galore.
10. Giant slide. Not because I ride it now, but the memory of my cousin and I doing it in our teens and yelling expletives the whole way down. We didn’t realize it was miked, and all the parents at the bottom were giving us the stink eye. Priceless.
And for those of you wondering where the famous cream puffs fall on my list, the answer is NOWHERE. I have never been a fan, but I can appreciate that it holds a place in some people’s hearts as a symbol of the fair. Give me a lemonade shaken by hand or a Goolsby’s burger any day over a cream puff.
Next week I will be on vacation and so will my blog. I will be back on August 17 with some observations and experiences of my trip, and probably a blog on going on a detox diet. Have a great week.

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