I’m from Milwaukee, born and raised (sans four years in Florida as a teen).
As a kid, my parents would take my sister and me to the Wisconsin State Fair as part of the annual pilgrimage for cream puffs and multiple packs of trading cards sold at the exhibition halls that fueled my passion for sports as a kid.
Heck, I remember standing in line to get legendary Green Bay Packers linebacker Ray Nitschke’s autograph (yes, it was on a poster for his Wisconsin Lottery game, if some of our older and more mature readers remember that).
Between moving to and from Florida, my college years at UW-Madison, then settling down here in the state capital, I have only been to the fair once in, say, 18 years.
It’s pathetic, I know.
My wife, my better half, was born in Chicago but has lived in southeastern Wisconsin for most of her life, yet she’s never been there.
Upon hearing this, I was appalled.
Our three boys, the oldest being 5.5 years old with his 2.5 year-old twin brothers, need to have this tradition infused in their livelihoods every August, with the sights and smells of the state heightening their senses in the late summer.
That’s right, sometime in the next week after covering a Badgers practice, I’m bringing the family to the Wisconsin State Fair.
[cue dramatic action movie soundtrack]
And I’m going to eat the whole d—- place down.
OK, I’m not actually going to do the latter, but besides the large amounts of goods available for purchase, the food dominates the talk at the fair that runs from Aug. 3–13 this year.
And with my long absence from this yearly extravaganza, there’s a lot of catching up to do in terms of getting food...[insert Maui from Moana gif here]...“in my belly.”
I will take pictures and video for B5Q on my quest for gluttonous glory, but here’s what I’m eyeing up to taste... soon.
The Original Cream Puff
I like the Original Cream Puff. It’s been sold at the State Fair since 1924, with about 350,000 eaten each year. It’s tradition, but honestly, it’s not what I’m coming back to the fair for.
The kids need to experience the process of getting one, however, with the winding lines and the large windows where you can watch the light and carby treats being made by the dozens.
Plus, I mean, kids eating desserts is totally a cute photo opportunity. #DadLife
Saz’s Sour Cream and Chive Fries
This one is more sentimental for me, as I was a picky eater as a kid, and this was my favorite food at the fair. Hope these are still around, because they are goooooooood.
Flavored milk on the cheap
This is more for the kids, but whatever. You can hop over to the Milwaukee Bucks Milk House and for 50 cents each, get to sip some in-state milk with different flavors. Those flavors, you ask: Chocolate, Strawberry, Root Beer, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Caramel.
God help my stomach (and budget this month). These will be highly considered to be devoured:
- Beer Battered Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Sausage On-a-Stick
- Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders
- Caramel Macchiato Gelato: the sweetness will help complement all the bacon consuming
- Chocomela Nachos: Same as above.
- Deep-Fried Nutella: Because why not?!?
- Russian Imperial Stout Maple Bacon Cupcake
- Three Little Pigs Ravioli: Seriously, it’s bacon ravioli, with more pork inside.
FOODS ON A STICK
Look at this list. Goodness gracious. THERE ARE 94 FOODS ON A STICK. Ninety-four, and the first five on the list lead off with the word “bacon.”
Among some of the ones that “stick” out (I’m so sorry for that one):
- Cajun Battered Shark On-a-Stick: Living on the Gulf Coast for a few years, I had the opportunity to eat some cajun-marinated shark. Tasty.
- Chocolate Covered Cheesecake On-a-Stick
- Cookie Dough On-a-Stick
- Deep-Fried Fat Elvis On-a-Stick
There’s also the standard roasted corn on the cob that you must have, but that’ll be only if I’m not hating myself for eating so much.
Everyone should make it out to the State Fair at least once to experience it. The crowds could be busy, but it’s well worth it. Plus, I mean, Vanilla Ice, Kid ‘n Play, and Tone Loc are coming on Aug. 9 as part of the “I Love the 90’s” tour.
Be honest with yourself—we could all go for a little Funky Cold Medina.