Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Great State Fair of Wisconsin

One photo of S I missed in yesterday's post.

You may or may not remember from last fall that S - he's a state fair junkie. He loves the State Fair of Texas. He goes as many times as he can. And, he likes fairs in general. We have of course been to the Indiana State Fair. And, we've been to the Wyoming Frontier Days once as well, while on vacation in 2005. So, when we decided to go to Wisconsin, S looked up when their state fair took place. And, it opened on the last day we'd be in the Milwaukee area. S was so excited.

This state fair, though, it was different than the others we'd been to. The Texas State Fair - it's sort of corporate to me - all the vendors have to look alike - you have to buy tickets to then buy food, etc. There are big buildings full of new cars. The animal competitions are all at the beginning and the animals leave before the fair is over. It's not warm and fuzzy at all. Corporate is the word I'd use. Not that I don't like it and go every year, stuffing my face and taking it all in, you understand.

The Indiana State Fair - incidentally, also going on right now - it has the different vendors and you can use cash. It's smaller than the Texas fair in land mass, and it has no car displays, but otherwise they are similar in that they have the creative arts, the animals, a midway, food to eat, crazy exhibitors, concerts, etc. I would definitely say the Indiana State Fair is more "down home", but still big and inclusive. I like it a lot, but I may be biased on that account.

This state fair - first of all - there was no Midway. Not at all. Now, their website says there was a Midway, but sister, we didn't find it. And we walked the entire grounds. There were two big rides - a slide and a ski lift sort of ride called the Sky Glider. There were also not really any "Carney" games except a guy trying to guess your age, weight or birthday.

The line to ride the Sky Glider was about an hour long. Easy. You can see we had a beautiful day to take in the fair. It was opening day, though, and man, was it crowded. Wall to wall people. Seriously packed. We did not ride that Sky Glider, though. We left it to the locals.

There were animals - and the cows had to be some of the cleanest, prettiest cows I've ever seen.

What's that in the background, you say?

Why yes, it's a milking parlor!

In case you were the least bit confused, these are milking cows. Ahem.

There were other animals too - pretty poultry.

Rabbits of all kinds.

Then in this area I would call a "children's petting zoo", but uh, I guess not.
And don't stand too closely or show any interest whatsoever, either!

Look at that baby lamb's face!

There were Wisconsin products of all sorts!

Including, of course, cheese!

And, the most sought after purchase - a cream puff.

But seriously folks - the cream puff is gotten at the end of this line - the cream puff can only be purchased at ONE place at the entire fair. And, people were telling us the wait was something like three hours. Huh? Wha? I don't care how stinking good that cream puff is, sister, I'm not a-waitin' THREE HOURS for ANYTHING, especially at a fair. So, in case you weren't clear, we did not partake of the cream puff. Amen to that. AND, note to State Fair of Wisconsin logistics and marketing folks - you might SELL MORE CREAM PUFFS if there were more places to partake. And less of a wait. Just an idea.

There were some amazing horticultural exhibits.

Like these dahlias.

And, just for my mother - Gladiolus! The death flower!

My mother terms the gladiolus flower the "death flower" because it is often seen as the primary flower in a casket spray. Therefore, she does not want the death flower included in any floral arrangement she sends to a funeral. Because, you know, they look like death. I'm just reporting the facts here, people. I can't make this stuff up.

The vegetables were picture perfect.

I mean, will you LOOK at the cabbage???

We checked out the creative arts section. There was one very impressive sweater jacket that I wish I would have photographed for you. It was all very nice, but in a small, cramped space, unfortunately. We looked at the photos, too. There were some very nice ones there - they don't have the stipulation that the photo must be taken in state, so there were photos from all over the world - they had more categories to enter - and they were fun to look at. I took no photos of the photos either. I guess I was so into it I didn't think to photograph!

Then there was this interesting display...

Winning quilts hanging over landscaping/flora displays...

And the ground display sort of matched the quilt...

OK, people, I found this to be very peculiar. I mean, the quilts were beautiful. And the landscaping/flora displays were interesting. But, why the combo, state of Wisconsin? Why? This seems very, very strange. A regional oddity. But let's move on.

There was still plenty to see and do. There was an exhibition hall, you know, where you can buy your own set of Ronco knives, a vitamix juicer, a shamwow, a little giant ladder, get your teeth whitened, your soul saved by any number of religions, purchase a jacuzzi, gutter guards and aluminum siding for your home, as well as a sewing machine that will sew for you and the world's best vacuum cleaner that cleans so well it leaves no carpet behind - all in one building! I took no photos. I could barely breathe it was so crowded in that building. Who says there's a recession!

You could climb inside the world's largest piggy bank.
Not sure what you do inside - make change?

There were pig races...but no seats, so we saw no races.

There was also this family variety show.
Also very well attended, no?

And there were lots of these...

There were these little "restaurant/pub" things all over the fair - this seemed to be a big deal - a big thing to do - go to one of these places, sit down and eat and drink. This was a big activity at the Wisconsin State Fair, no doubt. We didn't do this. There were no seats to be had, for one. And, we didn't quite "get" it. We were the outsiders. We kept on walking.

And, luckily we did, because we caught the PARADE! At 3:00 in the afternoon!

A mascot of some sort.

The Fairest of the Fair, Melissa Ploeckeman

The requisite HS Band.

Junior Miss Polish Fest stole the show, really.

Until these fellas showed up.

That dog was a good dog.
(This was later, after the parade - you know, when I took S's photo)

Then, the parade ended abruptly with the street sweepers.
Lickety split!

Shortly after the parade, we skedaddled. We had seen the whole thing more or less. Minus the Midway, of course, if there was one we missed. And, we didn't find the fried cheese curds - I was thinking of trying some of those. But, we had walked around the whole map. And we were tired of the crowds. So we headed for the hotel, one more state fair experience under our belts.

We've learned each one is definitely different. Each one does things their own way, and has their own specialties that make them unique. That's definitely the cool thing about them, I'd say. I joked with S that we should try to hit two or three each year and in a few years we could write a book about our travels. He thinks it's imperative we do this now, that it would be a huge success and we could retire to travel from fair to fair for years to come...we'll see.

See you tomorrow with something else from the magical trip to Wisconsin. Until then, keep your nose clean. And plan YOUR next trip to the fair - don't miss it!


  1. Okay! You are partially correct. I do not like to include glads in funeral flowers. But not because they "look like death." (I was laughing so hard when I read your comments, tears were running down my cheeks.) Anyway, back to glads, the flowers are for the living family members and so I like to send something I think they will enjoy as well as something I enjoy sending. So no glads, because I don't like them, I guess because they remind me of funerals and death. Just a personal preference, funny daughter. I still love you, always will. mom

  2. Amy's Mom- glads also remind me of funerals and death. You are not alone!

    Amy- cream puff mania= principle of scarcity. If they changed the availibility of the puffs, they just wouldn't be what they are, anymore. Ya know?

    And those pub things are all over the North Dakota state fair, too. I always thought they were the norm. Then I moved.


  3. Amy, please tell me you've been on the Barn Tour at the Texas State Fair. You can see the animals throughout the fair, and the tour guides are usually very funny. It's one of the highlights. Entrance is over by the kids section.

    I *might* consider standing in line for roasted corn dipped in butter at the Texas State Fair, but luckily people are... Read More not as interested in this relatively "healthy" treat compared to fried snickers and chicken fried bacon (which we tried last year but were quite underwhelmed).


  4. Those Flowers are Gorgeous!! I take lots of photos of the quilts at the Fair.



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