August 2009

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September 1 may signal the end of summer vacation for most school kids, but don’t fret!  There’s still plenty of summer fun to be had for weeks to come!  If you’re a fan of live music, fabulous food, or amazing arts & crafts, check out the opportunities to explore Wisconsin below:
GRFF.image34th Annual Great River Folk Fest, La Crosse, August 28-30
Where else can you find workshops for folk singer-songwriters, learn basket weaving then catch a Hmong Dance presentation and Oktoberfest Polka?  Why the Great River Folk Fest of course!

BalloonRally.imageBalloon Rally & Music Festival, Wisconsin Rapids, August 28-30
*  Opening night Balloon set-up & glow?  Check
*  Live music? Yep
*  Dunk tank & face painting for the kids? Of course
Benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network, this free rally also features a petting zoo for kids, beer tent for the thirsty and craft vendors for the shoppers.

Artstreet.imageARTSTREET, Green Bay, August 28-30
Enjoy three days of fun featuring “an eclectic mix of visual, performing, culinary and literary arts.”  Two stages of live music and dance complement street performers and 200 artist exhibits from paintings to jewelry to photography.

FestivalFlavors.imageFestival of Flavors, Eagle River, August 29-30
“Celebrate the Taste” of Wisconsin products in bite-sized portions in the tasting tent, hear live music & shop the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday.  Stop back Sunday for the “Nutrition Health & Fitness Expo” including Healthful Chef’s Demos and the Tomato Throw!

FestivalPines.logo27th Annual Festival in the Pines, Eau Claire, August 29-30
Shop hundreds of arts & crafts vendors, catch live music or a karate demonstration & send the kids to check out the free petting zoo.  Find lots of family fun in Carson Park this weekend.

And of course, before you hit the road, click on over to WisconsinLodging.info to find your perfect Place to Stay in Wisconsin!

BalloonRally photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dept of Tourism

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There’s still plenty of summer fun left to be had and here’s four more places to wander this weekend in Wisconsin:
Lake Geneva’s Venetian Festival: August 19-23VenetianFestival
Five days of fun “featuring a carnival, craft fair, water ski show, musical entertainment, fireman’s water fight, local cuisine, and the festival’s traditional lighted boat parade followed by a fireworks display high above Geneva Lake.”  All in the beautiful resort community of Lake Geneva.

DragonBoatFestivalLake Superior Dragon Boat Festival: August 21-22
One of the largest dragon boat race events in north America, these traditonal races are held in Superior Bay off Barker’s Island.   While the traditional dragon boat races are the main feature of the fest, you’ll also find live music, pancake breakfast + kids activities.

Milwaukee Wine Festival: August 21-22WineFestival
Place: Milwaukee Art Museum.  Focus: Over 150 wines from around the world.  Eat: Sample food “from some of the Milwaukee area’s finest restaurants and caterers.” Learn: “Wine seminars and cooking demonstrations conducted by event sponsors, exhibiting wineries, area chefs and restaurateurs.” Plus Live Music each day…

BluesFestParamount Blues Festival, Grafton: August 21-22
Celebrating Grafton’s ties to Blues music, don’t miss “Local and national blues artists, historians and lecturers [as they] celebrate the history of Paramount Records”.  Check out the festival for two days of family fun.

As always, click on over to WisconsinLodging.info to find great places to stay in Wisconsin!

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WI Cherry GrowersWhat if there was a food grown here in Wisconsin, that could reduce belly-fat, was a natural anti-inflammatory,  helped alleviate jet lag and tasted REALLY good?

There is and it’s called tart cherries! Plus, you’re in luck because 2009 looks to be another bumper crop of these tart cherries in Door County.  Whether you’d like to try your hand and pick-your-own or just grab some fresh berries, juice, pies, and more from local merchants, now is the time to head to the Door…

Cherry SmoothieLearn more about America’s Super Fruit:
ChooseCherries.com
Wisconsin Cherry Growers

Explore fabulous Cherry Recipes:
Wisconsin Cherry Recipes
Cherry Recipes & Usage Ideas

Find an Orchard:
Door County Visitors Bureau

Things to do this weekend in Door County:
Peninsula Music Festival, Fish Creek
Candlelight Beach Walk, Jacksonport
Washington Island Fair, Washington Island

Finally, click on over to WisconsinLodging.info for Places to Stay in Door County.

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WI_State_FairWell, we spent the first four days of the Fair volunteering at the Tourism Booth inside the Wisconsin Products Pavilion sharing Wisconsin travel information.  Thousands of folks stopped by to ask questions on what to do and where to stay on their Wisconsin travels.  Hundreds also signed up to receive the monthly WisconsINN Getaways monthly e-newsletter and their chance to win a free night of lodging each month.

If you missed us at the Fair & you’d like to get entered to win a free night of lodging each month, simply click over to the WisconsINN Getaways page for more information.

Heading to the Fair?  Check out our staff tips for their food & beverage recommendations below:

Don’t Miss:
Grilled cheese sandwiches: Available inside the WI Products Pavilion, choose either Cheddar or Swiss varieties for only $2 each (get a coupon book from any information booth at the fair & save with their 3 for $5 deal)

From Michelle, our resident vegetarian/ tree-hugger: “Deep fried cheddar cheese on a stick (it’s like a vegetarian cheddar dog – cornbread batter without the meat)

Great pizza slices (nice thick crust) from Milwaukee’s own Palermo’s in the Wisconsin Products Building. Coupon in the booklet at Fair Info Booths for 2 slices (that’s a half a pizza!) for $4, otherwise each slice is $3.

Cheapest beer at the fair, three years in a row – first pizza vendor west of the Expo Center. $4.75 for the largest cup offered at the fair.

Fool yourself into thinking you’re sort of eating healthy at the state fair: Veggie Doctor’s deep fried vegetable combo dish. Mushrooms, zucchini, onions, cauliflower, broccoli. Right across from the Coliseum. They also have deep fried pickles and mozzarella sticks.

Share it: Cookie dough fondue – choice of cookie dough flavors (choc chip, white choc macadamia nut or peanut butter) dipped in chocolate or butterscotch and coated in sprinkles or nuts (if you want). At $3.75 it’s not a bad deal, it’s just WAY TOO MUCH for one person. On the far west side of the fair, south of the International Marketplace.

FREE ICE WATER PROVIDED BY THE SALVATION ARMY around the southeast corner of the Expo Center.  Really comes in handy after polishing off most of the food on this list. You don’t really feel like you need it if you come in that entrance, but you’ll need it later. I promise.

State Fair Suggestion Box: Don’t you just kind of want a good, solid cup of local, fair-trade coffee with your cream puff? Alterra? Can we get a cart in the Cream Puff Pavilion next year?

Suggestion Box #2: How about a second flavored milk barn like the good old days? I’ve had to pass on the once-a-year cup of root beer milk because of excessively long lines. I do think they’ve increased the cup size this year, though.

Suggestion Box #3: of course I have to throw in my plug for some creative meatless options to counter the deep fried choco-bacon. I would certainly be a loyal patron of a deep fried tofu vendor. Deep fried seitan (wheat meat)? Yes please!”

Don’t Bother:
Chocolate covered bacon: According to Bill, self-proclaimed carnivore & ‘fry-daddy’, this one “wasn’t worth the hype, I wouldn’t [eat] it again.”

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WI_State_FairThe Wisconsin State Fair opens this Thursday, August 6th and runs through Sunday, August 16th.   Which means there is less than 48 hours left until Cream Puff sales commence!  With their moist interiors, crisp outer shells and golden brown tops these delicious (& VERY LARGE) puffs are generously filled with real whipped cream goodness.

Cream Puff Craze:

Wisconsinites love their State Fair Cream Puffs and 2008 was a record-breaking year with more than 381,000 cream puffs leaving the Dairy Bakery.  Considering attendance at the Fair last year was just over 872,000, that’s roughly 1 cream puff for every 2.3 people at the Fair…  Of course you needn’t actually be at the Fair to enjoy a cream puff.  For those of us who must work to support our cravings, there is drive through pick-up available each morning from 6-8 am and if your group orders 10 dozen or more, Bell Ambulance delivers.  Yippee!

Photo courtesy of WI Dept of Tourism

Photo courtesy of WI Dept of Tourism

What’s it all about?
Brief history lesson:  The Wisconsin State Fair began way back in 1851 with the cream puff making it’s first appearance in 1924.
Yep, 85 years of cream puff goodness & it’s popularity just keeps growing! The State Fair Cream Puff now has the building named after it: Original Cream Puff Pavilion, it’s own web site: OriginalCreamPuffs.com and it’s own hotline number: (414)266-7111.

Of course, there are plenty of other foods (chocolate-covered bacon anyone?) to try at the Fair and I highly recommend heading over to the Wisconsin Products Pavilion for the grilled cheese sandwiches, buffalo burritos and fabulous baked potatoes.  Be sure to also stop by the Department of Tourism booth inside the Pavilion to sign up for the WisconsINN Getaways e-newsletter and pick up your 2009 Wisconsin Lodging Directory filled with nearly 1,000 great Places to Stay In Wisconsin!

Learn more about the Cream Puff & the Fair:
OriginalCreamPuffs.com
Wisconsin Bakers Association
Wisconsin State Fair
Wisconsin Dept of Tourism

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HolidayAcresResortCongratulations to Sandra H. from Stoughton, WI!  Sandra is the winner of the August WisconsINN Getaways free night give-away at the Holiday Acres Resort in Rhinelander.

If you’re interested in being entered to win a different free night each month, simply sign up for the WisconsINN Getaways monthly e-newsletter. Every month, you’ll receive an email with up to 10 special deals or packages for amazing places to stay in Wisconsin AND each month you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free stay.

Upcoming giveaways include:
* The Kress Inn, Green Bay

Click over to the WisconsINN Getaways newsletter to sign up today and again, Congratulations to Sandra!

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