Wisconsin State Fair

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Catch a FREE mid-summer family vacation at America’s largest waterpark resort – The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort! The Stay in Wisconsin blog, with WisconsINN Getaways is giving away a FREE two-night stay at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells, complete with four waterpark passes for each day of your stay – a $600 value! We’ll pick a winner from all entries dropped in the WisconsINN Getaways box at the TravelWisconsin.com booth at the Wisconsin State Fair.

To enter for your chance to win, visit the Wisconsin Products Pavilion at the Wisconsin State Fair on Friday, August 3 or Saturday, August 4, and find the TravelWisconsin.com booth. Entry forms will automatically enter you into a monthly drawing for a free night of lodging through the WisconsINN Getaways monthly e-newsletter! To win, participants must include a valid email address. One entry per person.

See you at the Fair!

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Every year we start to get really excited as we countdown to the Wisconsin State Fair and this year is no exception!

Check out our list of the Top 5 Things to Do/ See/ Eat at Wisconsin’s State Fair this year:

  1. Cream Puffs - Always makes our list for two reasons – Nothing compares to a REAL WI State Fair Cream Puff (in fact we even devoted an entire blog post to it last year) PLUS they are made by the WI Bakers Association to promote Wisconsin’s dairy products
  2. Giant Slide – That big green & yellow slide (& their burlap sacks) beckons us every year from smack dab in the middle of the Fair
  3. FREE samples – Be sure to pick up your Information Booklets when you enter the Fair to find out where you can get FREE samples of Coke Zero (full run of Fair), Mello Yello (9th-15th) or Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (12th-15th) + free cups of water from the Salvation Army (east side of Expo Center)
  4. The Animals – No trip to the Fair is complete without checking out the cute babies in the Birthing Barn and catching a Pig Race (or two!) New “animals” at the Fair for 2010- check out the Days of the Dinosaur exhibit in the Big Backyard ($1 admission)
  5. Deep Fried Food-on-a-Stick – It’s become almost a cult-like phenomenon!  With dozens of foods-on-a-stick (most, but not all, deep fried) we asked our resident expert, a girl who saves up her dollars and calories for the Fair, for some of her recommendations:
  • Deep Fried Oreos, Snickers, Pickles & Veggies are all located along the strip of food vendors parallel to the racetrack along the eastern border of the Fair grounds
  • Check for a ‘buy one-get one’ coupon in the info booklets for the Milk Barn, located at the northeast end of the park (just south of the Midway area). The line is always long, but it moves pretty fast.
  • Then, grab some Cookie Dough-On-A-Stick — best enjoyed shared (and with a cup or two from the Milk Barn!)

Bonus #6 - Don’t forget the Wisconsin Products Pavilion:
Home to the Maple Syrup producers (Maple Cotton Candy- yum!), plus Grilled Cheese sandwiches, Palermo’s pizza, the FFA ice cream sundae folks and US! Be sure to stop by the Dept of Tourism booth in the center of the pavilion and pick up your 2010 Wisconsin Lodging Directory.

What did we miss? Click the comments link at the top of the post & tell us about your top 5!

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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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