All Over the Place: Deep-Fried Fun
Issue 17: Wisconsin State Fair
My corner of Wisconsin is known for having a lot of festivals and fairs in the summer, but there are two that stand out above the rest: Summerfest, which I attended last month, and the Wisconsin State Fair.
Like Summerfest, the State Fair has an eclectic range of musical acts, but where Summerfest’s clear focus is on music, the fair’s focus is on...well, that’s hard to say. Historically, state and county fairs have been places where farmers from the area take their livestock to see who raises them the best and then sell the animals to markets, grocery stores and restaurants, but from there they have snowballed to include stands selling food, drinks and goods, carnival games and rides, and small musical stages. The Wisconsin State Fair is now the eighth largest state fair in the United States, and attendance over the 11 day fair is usually over one million.
Visitors can still see plenty of livestock at the fair, with the traditional showing of swine, poultry and cattle as well as quirkier events like the Rabbit Hopping Competition.
The fair also has a strange range of commercial vendors, selling DVDs, home siding, Christmas ornaments, sports memorabilia, and all sorts of tchotchkes. Some booths selling informercial-type products even place chairs in front of their booths for those who want to sit and watch product demonstrations like an in-person infomercial.
Stereotypical fair food is fried, on a stick, or both, and some stereotypes are true. The Wisconsin State Fair is famous for its cream puffs, but you can also get deep-fried green beans, deep-fried oreos, deep-fried twinkies, corn dogs, and more than 70 different foods on a stick (see here for a full list).
If you’re near Milwaukee in August, I’d certainly recommend the state fair, and so would your taste buds. Other organs may have different opinions.
All Over the Place with Adam Larson: It’s fun. It’s free.
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