Having taken on the Waukesha County Fair, intrepid Lake Country Publications/NOW reporter Megan Sukovich now takes us on the tilt-a-whirlwind adventure that is the 2014 Wisconsin State Fair.
From the first day, to the last day, and all the days in between, the Wisconsin State Fair was a fair exprience unlike any other. Grandstand Avenue saw hundreds of thousands of fairgoers during the fair's eleven day run and over 100 different foods on a stick were devoured. Thank you to all the people who made the event of the summer a true celebration of our great state! I am sure many Wisconsinites are experiencing cream puff withdrawal on this cloudy Monday afternoon, but have no fear! There are only 359 more days until the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair.
Today is the last day of the 2014 Wisconsin State Fair, which means it’s your last chance to see the amazingly talented Kids From Wisconsin! Here is a photo from yesterday’s performance as they sing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ cart topper “Can’t Hold Us”. These exceptional youth are guaranteed to sing and dance their way into your heart. Since 1969, Kids From Wisconsin have been the official musical ambassadors of Wisconsin. Thirty-three performers from around the state of Wisconsin unite every summer to perform 65 to 70 shows during the months of June, July and August. Cheer them on today at 1:30 in the Bank Mutual Amphitheater as they perform their musical spectacular from this year’s Can’t Hold Us Tour.
In case you missed the Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit “Through All the Years” here is a shortened version with some fun facts! The exhibit will be open all day tomorrow and is located in the south end of the Expo Center. After viewing the retro displays, take a short Fair history quiz for the chance to win a Fair prize!
- The Dairy Cattle Barn was built in 1907, making it the oldest building at the Wisconsin State Fair. The Cream Puff Pavilion comes in second, which was constructed in 1909.
- The very first Wisconsin State Fair was held in Janesville in 1851. Approximately 13,000 to 18,000 Wisconsinites attended the fair.
- Spin City is a younger fair feature, making its debut in 2012 with 50 rides and attractions.
- When the fair opened at its present location in 1892, admission to the State Fair cost 50 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.
- In the early 1900’s, fairgoers wore their Sunday best to the fair. Clad in suits and dresses, families could stop by a photography studio for portraits and could purchase a tintype photograph before leaving the park.
- The recognizable Wisconsin State Fair logo was first introduced in 1972. The logo is made up of six elements and each element is an abstract letter “W” for Wisconsin. The elements represent the six major areas of interest at the fair: agriculture, industry, commerce, government, sports, and entertainment.
This weekend’s warm temperatures are sure to bring the Wisconsin State Fair plenty of golden sunshine, but there is something else besides the sun to be seen at the fair that is golden, warm, and pops out behind layers of green… Why it’s corn, of course! The New Berlin Lion’s Club is once again serving Wisconsin grown corn smothered in Wisconsin butter. For almost 60 years, thousands of volunteers have peeled, roasted, and dipped this sweet delicacy to satisfy the taste buds of many fairgoers. The five unit stand is capable of producing a total of 4,000 cobs per hour and proceeds go to numerous charities all over Wisconsin. If the cob is not for you, “corn-in-a-cup” is making its second appearance. Customers receive the corn they love, with the same number or kernels, but removed and in a cup with plenty of butter. Have you gotten an earful yet at this year’s Wisconsin State Fair?
Here in the great state of Wisconsin, we love to share our passion for barley, hops, yeast, and water, or, as cerevisaphiles call it… beer. According to a study conducted by the Beer Institute, the average Wisconsinite drank 36.2 gallons of beer in 2012. That’s more liquid than the average bathtub can hold! Today at 2 p.m. in the Horticulture, Craft, & Culinary Pavilion, see a beer making demo to learn more about this popular beverage. Join beer enthusiasts, Pat, Jason, and Jennifer as they discuss some facts on what they call “really yummy water” and learn some home brewing tips to make your next batch the best of the best. For more fun beer trivia, visit http://www.wisconsinbeerdrinkers.com/facts.html
The Governor's Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction drew in a crowd double the size of Tuesday's Meat Products Auction. The auction raised an earth shattering total of $313,350, beating the previous record of $255,400 set in 2005.
Bidding began with the Grand Champion Steer exhibited by Lauren May of Mineral Point, Wis. in Iowa County. The 1,290 pound steer sold for $45,000 with the winning bid from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.
Also breaking a new record, the Grand Champion Barrow exhibited by Myles Leahy of Lafayette County received a winning bid of $23,500 by Beer Capitol Distributing.
Combined with the Meat Products Auction’s total, this year’s Governor’s Blue Ribbon Auctions raised a grand total of $463,350 for the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation.
The State 4-H Showcase Singers celebrated 100 years of 4-H yesterday at the fair by singing and dancing in jubilation. The men's group pictured above sang a medley of modern day songs and cut a rug on stage... Wisconsin style. The Showcase Singers premiered in 1987 and have dazzled audiences at the Wisconsin State Fair and the 4-H Youth Conference ever since. The group usually consists of 30 to 35 high school aged students from all over the great state of Wisconsin who exemplify various musical talents and dedication to 4-H. The Showcase singers represent hard work, talent, family, and, most importantly, what it means to be a Wisconsinite. Way to go 4-H!
Have you headed to the State Fair yet? Make a stop today before 4p.m. and receive $4 off adult admission with your donation of selected school supplies or with a cash donation at any admission entrance in honnor of UW-Madison Day. Proceeds benefit students at Milwaukee Public Schools. What a great way to have fun and contribute to the community! For a list of needed school supplies, visit statefair.wisc.edu.
The 23rd Annual Governor's Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction raised a record breaking high at yesterday’s auction. Bidders and bystanders alike gathered in the shaded Case IH Coliseum and raised more than $150,000 for the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation.
The program’s Master of Ceremonies, Bob Meyer of Brownfield Ag News set a goal for bidders to help raise $100,000 in honor of the 100 year 4-H anniversary. Meyer said, “Tonight you play a big roll in supporting 4-H and supporting these kids.”
The generous contributors beat that goal with flying colors.
The highest bid went to Maplewood Meats, the meat processor from Green Bay and the 2014 Best in Show. Maplewood Meats, who earned the honor for their Summer Sausage, competed against over 100 entries for the coveted title. The Best in Show summer sausage sold for $16,000 to a consortium formed by Egg Innovations, Country Fresh Meats, Wisconsin Souvenir Milkcaps, and Bob and Jill Nieskes.
Auctioneers Bob Johnson and Gary Finley, emcee Bob Meyer and Governor Scott Walker worked to sell not only each Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Entries from the Wisconsin State Fair Meat Products Contest, but also several Wisconsin-themed packages including a Badger Football Package. On Wisconsin!
Established in 1955, 4-H began as a small club of seven kids in Walworth County to create connections in the agriculture industry. Today, over 350,000 youth are supported by some sort of 4-H program. The money raised at last night’s Meat Products Auction will contribute to statewide programs, youth programs, and scholarships supporting the leaders of tomorrow. Head to the fair tonight to participate in the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction starting at 6:30 p.m. to help contribute to Wisconsin’s youth and agricultural community. Join the revolution of responsibility and visit http://wis4hfoundation.org/
Have you taken a trip to SpinCity yet? Head to the north end of the fair grounds for all your favorite rides and games. There are over 50 rides and attractions and 35 games with fair-tastic prizes. New rides this year include:
▪ Crazy Dance Upside-down, round-and-round, this ride is sure to provide plenty of thrills and spills.
▪ Hang 10 Spin, twist and turn on this classic music ride
▪ Hog Rally Not just for kids, the Hog Rally features motorcycles to enjoy a ride on the wild side
▪ Hurricane Riders bob and weave, spin and twirl during this journey on the Hurricane
▪ Jungle Twist A short track spinning coaster that children, teenagers and adults can all ride
▪ Remix 2 The Remix 2 combines all rides into one with spins, twists and flips galore
▪ Rock it! Making its Wisconsin debut, Rock It! is a 360 degree, 90-foot-tall, spinning thrill-ride
▪ Scooter Rock-n-Cars is a new bumper car ride with brighter lights, faster cars and more thrilling action
▪ Tornado A twister of a ride where passengers spin cars themselves creating their own ride experience
Wave Swinger The Wave Swinger adds a swinging twist on the classic chain-swing ride
Don't let today's chance of scattered thunderstorms rain on your parade! Here are a few things you can do this evening and still stay dry at the Wisconsin State Fair.
- Milking Demonstrations at 3 and 5 p.m. in the dairy parlor on the southeast corner of the Horse Barn
- Cactus and Succulents Demonstration at 5 p.m. in the Horticulture, Craft & Culinary Pavilion
- The Youth Expo Hall showcasing Wisconsin’s youth through music and drama performances, demonstrations, style revues, activity stations, project exhibits and organization displays. Open all day and located on the north end of Grandstand Avenue
- Wisconsin Drinking Water Taste Test Competition from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Activities Stage in the Expo Center
- Golden Idol at 6 p.m. at the Activities Stage in the Expo Center
- Bonkerz Comedy Club show at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. at the Activities Stage in the Expo Center
- House of moo open all day and located in the center aisle of the Cattle Barn in Ag Village
Wisconsin, America’s dairy land, is home to 1,271,000 dairy cows. Most cheese state natives grew up seeing farmlands outside every city. We see the pastures on the way to work, or smell the manure while walking the dog. Cows are a major part of living in Wisconsin, but how well do we know the cow? Though they are our neighbors, I have found that we barely know them at all. Let’s take a closer look at Wisconsin’s honorary state domestic animal.
It’s important to define some terms to know the basic differences between the many different types of cattle.
- Bovine: general term relating to cows or cattle
- Cattle: general term referring to more than one bovine
- Cow: a female bovine that has given birth to at least one calf and produces milk. Cow is the colloquial term for cattle
- Bull: a male bovine used for breeding purposes
- Steer: a male bovine that has been castrated after or upon reaching sexual maturity and is used primarily for beef
- Heifer: a female bovine that is below three years of age and that has not had a calf yet. She can be pregnant with the calf and still be considered a heifer, but after birth of the calf, she becomes a cow
- Ox: a bovine that is trained for work. An ox can be both male and female
- Calf: immature bovine that can be male or female
Despite common misconception, horns do not represent the gender or type of animal. Both females and males can be horned and polled. Polled cattle are cattle without horns and generally tend to be less aggressive. The best way to determine gender is to look between the legs and see if an udder to generate milk is present. If there is an udder, it is a cow.
Think you got it? Test your cattle knowledge and then some with the Ultimate Cattle Quiz. If you just want to marvel and moo at the cow and all its wonder, check out this BuzzFeed post, “21 Reasons Why Cows are Actually Awesome”
Did you know that The Wisconsin Bakers Association sold over took over down the enormous slide on the traditional burlap sacks. Giant cream puffs and giant slides seem to go hand in hand!
The Racing Animals Arena is filled everyday of the fair with pig and duck races starting every hour from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. In the photo above, Dewey takes the lead, with Huey, Louie, and Donald not far behind! These Indian runner ducks are from Pleasure Valley Farms in Adell, WI and do not fly, but run like the wind.
Today's the day, the sun is shining, and the cream puffs are ready to be eaten! The 163rd Wisconsin State Fair kicked off today for it’s annual eleven day run. The photo on the left was taken the day before the fair, July 30, as the nearly 200-acre park is prepared for today’s festivities. In the photo to the right, hundreds of people shuffle past the 200 food vendors, maybe on their way to visit some of the 8,000 animals on site, or perhaps to enjoy a ride down the iconic giant slide. Are you ready to get your fair on? Hope to see you there at the Wisconsin State Fair!
Fourteen year old Brittany Renn, daughter of Waukesha County Fair Board President Jim Renn, received the Reserve Champion Steer award at this year’s Waukesha County Fair with her 1,410 pound beef steer, Spud. Brittany and Spud will go on to compete at the Wisconsin State Fair July 31 through Aug. 10.
After the championship win, Brittany sold Spud to Rapco Fleet Support in Hartland for $4.25 per pound, costing a grand total of about $5, 993. Rapco plans to process the meat and give it to their employees to make sure the local community benefits from Brittany’s dedication to her animal.
“I like doing the work and seeing it all pay off,” says Brittany.
To win Reserve Champion Steer, the animal must have a balance between muscle, fat, and eye appeal, as well as have the ability to produce high quantities of good quality meat. Spud’s size, stature, and calm personality earned him this year’s champion award.
“Spud is dopey. He just goes with the flow!” says Brittany.
Brittany originally purchased the beef steer in October of 2013 for $1,300. A portion of her hard earned money will contribute to college savings and some will be used to purchase another animal to show at next year’s fair.
Brittany is thrilled that her beef steer and commitment with the Waukesha County Fair is able to impact the community. It is her goal that fair goers not involved in the agriculture world are able to experience her passion for what she does.
“I hope that when people come to the fair they can see how well we treat the animals,” says Brittany.
Participating in the Waukesah County Fair has been a Renn family tradition. Brittany’s father, Jim, has been Waukesha County Fair Board President since 2007. With his wife, Kari, and father-in-law, Dave Morris, the family owns a 1,200 acre dairy farm called Renn‘s Nest in Hartland off of Highway 83.
“These kids are future leaders. Their well-roundedness and dedication to the fair goes a long way in life,” says Jim.
Brittany’s siblings Jordan, 11, and Joel, 9, also participate in the Waukesha County Fair and are active members in the local 4-H. The Renn family brought a total of 15 animals to this year’s fair, including goats, sheep, pigs, and beef and dairy cattle.
“Its rewarding when you have the chance to win. There’s years I go home with nothing, but I still come back every year. It’s all about being with friends and learning important lessons,” says Brittany.
Visit Spud and Brittany at the Wisconsin State Fair Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 10, at 640 S. 84th Street, West Allis. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the final Sunday of the fair.
Time to take my fair-going adventures to the next level at the Wisconsin State Fair! With over 30 free stages of entertainment, 100 different foods on a stick, and a cornucopia of cream puffs, what more could a Wisconsinite want?
The fair runs July 31 through Aug. 10 at 640 S. 84th Street, West Allis. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the final Sunday of the fair.
Check out the top 10 things to see and do before you plan your trip to the fair and follow my blog Fair E-tales for the latest and greatest in fair happenings. On Wisconsin!
1. The Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit
For all the history buffs out there, the Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit at the south end of the Exposition Center is the place to be. The exhibit includes pieces from iconic fair favorites, such as the Original Cream Puff, Mille’s Sausages, the Giant Slide, and more! Test your knowledge after checking out the retro displays and take a fair quiz for a chance to win some fairy cool prizes.
2. The Sporkies
The State Fair’s Second Annual Food Competition, The Sporkies, were started as an initiative to encourage fair vendors to use creativity and ingenuity in their food concoctions. New this year, the final judging and presentation of The Golden Spork Award for the “Best Tasting”, “Most Creative” and “Grand Champion” categories will be open to the public. Judging will begin at noon on July 29 at the Bank Mutual Amphitheater. Be sure to taste all eight Sporkies finalists’ creations available for purchase at this year’s State Fair.
3. Kids From Wisconsin Performances
The Kids From Wisconsin never fail to put on an award winning musical spectacular. Thirty-three performers from around the state of Wisconsin unite to perform 65 to 70 shows during the months of June, July and August. Performances have included county fairs, festivals, and conventions throughout the continent. What better way to celebrate the great state than to cheer on Wisconsin’s young and talented?
4. The Wisconsin Products Pavilion
All of Wisconsin’s best features gather under one roof at the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. Vendors include Wisconsin Bison Producers, Wisconsin Honey Producers, and Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary, just to name a few. Taste, purchase, and enjoy!
5. The Daily Parade
See the state’s Fairest of the Fairs, favorite street entertainers, mascots, tractors, marching bands and much more! This fair tradition begins at 3 p.m. daily and 2 p.m. on Aug. 10.
6. Milking Parlor
Located in the heart of Agricultural Village, the Milking Parlor gives an inside look into Wisconsin’s dairy industry. Be sure to attend a Milking Demonstration, which takes place daily at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. all eleven days of the fair. After learning how to milk a cow, don’t forget to pick up a glass of 25 cent milk in a variety of flavors from the Milwaukee Bucks Milkhouse.
7. Natural Resources Park and Green & Growing Garden Walk
Wisconsin is known for its abundant resources and beautiful terrains. The one-acre Natural Resources Park is an escape from the busy fair lifestyle. Explore Wisconsin’s enchanting outdoors and get down and dirty in the nature scavenger hunt, fish casting clinic or archery shooting. For another relaxing outdoors experience, take a stroll through the Green & Growing Garden Walk to see horticulture at its finest.
8. Food on-a-stick
This year’s Wisconsin State Fair will offer about 100 different foods on a sticks! From salads to spaghetti, you can eat an eight course meal all on-a-stick.
9. Wisconsin 4-H Day
Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development and the University of Wisconsin-Extension are celebrating 100 years of growing leaders on Aug. 5. This day is a great opportunity to take a closer look at 4-H and all of the different ways it improves communities all over Wisconsin. Visit over 10 different activities stations in Central Park, or head to the annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction at 7 p.m. in the Case IH Coliseum.
10. Jalapeno Eating Contest
The annual Jalapeno Eating Contest is a Wisconsin State Fair hidden gem and a true test of bravery. Watch in pain or applaud with pride as competitors from around the greater Milwaukee area devour the piquant peppers to be crowned the Jalapeno Eating Champion. Finals will be at the World Stage Café at 2 p.m. on Aug. 3.
Before I bid adieu to the 2014 Waukesha County Fair, I made sure to stop by the Children’s Tent to watch the annual “celebrity” cream puff eating contest. Hosted by Van McNeil of WMYX-FM 99.1, this was definitely the event of the fair season. Pictured above are well known fair lovers (from left) the 2014 Equine Ambassador Anna Acuri, Fair Board President Jim Renn, 1997 Fairest of the Fair and Executive Director Shair Black, 2014 Fairest of the Fair Robyn Wittkopf, new Assistant Coach of the Milwaukee Wave Nick Vorberg, 2014 Fair Marshal Bob Weise, 2013 Fairest of the Fair Cecilia Heberling, and fair board member Kevin Meyer. The preliminary round ended in an exciting tie between Meyer and Vorberg, followed by Black earning her spot in the final “cream puff off” for being the winning female. Ultimately, the win went to Meyer as he finished his cream puff in only 28 seconds.
To cap off the last day of the fair, I decided to make some friends in the horse barn. Meet Jordan Holtz, 14, of Mukwonago and her American Quarter Horse, Kalli. After riding for four years, this is Jordan’s first year showing Kalli at the Waukesha County Fair. Kalli is five years old and loves to play with kids, and it’s no surprise that Jordan’s favorite animal at the fair is the horse. “I love that everyone is really friendly and supportive here,” says Jordan.
Did you know that the short ears of the lamancha goat are due to a mutation that occurred when scientist did an experiment to make them produce a higher quality of milk? James Knuth, 17, of Waukesha has been showing goats for eight years at the Waukesha County Fair and loves to share this fact with fairgoers. James’ favorite part about the fair is showing his favorite animal, the goat, and educating people about it's unique quallities. “When you show a goat, it’s all about being elegant,” says James.