Milwaukee is known as the festival destination, and while slightly unexpected, the Wisconsin State Fair is at the top of my favorites.
Holy cow (see what I did there?), the State Fair is INCREDIBLE.
Chad and I went on a rainy Sunday afternoon and had the time of our lives. Between the food, animals, rides, shows, exhibits, and vendors, there was so much to do, see, and eat. We walked about 13,000 steps each, exploring the permanent fairgrounds located in Milwaukee’s West Allis suburb.
The Fair is a major highlight of my entire summer and I can’t wait to return next year. Here are a few of my favorite parts.
Both Chad and I felt as though we’ve never had a true “fair” foodie experience, so we made that one of our few goals of our Fair outing. However, we quickly realized that our minds were a bit bigger than our stomachs; it was a little tough to sample a bunch of foods when one serving was pretty filling alone. Despite this, we did a pretty good job!
To our absolute delight, the Wisconsin State Fair has a competition for its food vendors; winners get ranked as a top 10 “Sporkies” finalist. We sought out a couple places and dishes with that designation, along with a few other staples.
- Black Bean Burrito Balls, from Lakefront Brewery
- Peño Pretzel Popper Brat, from Gertrude’s Pretzels
- Fresh squeezed lemonades
- A cream puff (an absolute must at the Fair)
- A foot-long corndog
- A malibu rum / blueberry slush
- A fried twinkie
The biggest part of the Wisconsin State Fair is arguably the animals—it’s centered on agriculture shows. This was really my first true fairgrounds experience (other than Cattlemen’s Days in Gunnison or various events growing up, but I never participated in the 4-H side of things) and it was so cool to see these beautiful animals up close. Pigs are my long-time favorite animal, and I was in HEAVEN.
- Pig races! Yes…pig races! There was a show that involved three different heats, with three different types of pigs. They came out the gates, were incredibly smart and fast and so cute, and ran around the track, motivated by animal cracker treats at the end. I loved every single second of it! This was my favorite part of the entire Fair.
- Livestock. We got to walk through different rows of animals in their pens, sleeping or awaiting their showcase. There were so many different types of goats, sheep, cows, and pigs! I got to pet a pig in its pen and I almost died of happiness. (Note: she loved a belly rub.)
- Poultry/rabbits. There were also areas dedicated to birds and rabbits in their respective contests. We saw a few baby ducks hatching out of their eggs, some chicks, and a few of the cutest varieties of fluffy bunnies.
- Exhibits. There were a few buildings dedicated to educational exhibits and displays. I loved reading all of the agriculture facts, but I especially loved the tiny pen of piglets waddling about, paired with all of the incredible facts about their intelligence.
Other Fair stuff
- Live music. There were several stages playing music all day. It was a refreshing mix of summery fun music, pairing perfectly with a fresh beer and a snack.
- Spin World. There was also a whole other section of the State Fair dedicated to a carnival, which was called Spin World. We didn’t go on any rides, but it was fun to walk through and rank them, and imagine winning a stuffed animal next time.
- Trade show. There was also a huge trade show with just about every type of commerce imaginable: hot tubs, hats, window companies, trinkets, hammocks, games, inventions, beef jerky, Shamwow, you name it…there was a booth selling it.
Who’s ready to join us next year?!