|Our State Fair - 2017 (dwm photo)|
Perhaps our most enduring tradition is the Wisconsin State Fair.
The first thing we always do is visit the Horticultural Building. Not anymore. It's the same structure in the same place, but it is now called the Grand Champions Hall.
|Prize winning tomatoes. (dwm)|
I appreciate the flowers and vegetables, but I can't tell what the difference is between one winning a Blue Ribbon instead of Red. The judges can, I'm sure.
|The family Fair touchstone. (dwm)|
In 2011, for my folks' anniversary, we bought them a brick.
This year, we joined them a few feet away.
A State Fair and family tradition is eating a Cream Puff. It's our mid-morning fair snack.
Made fresh from scratch daily in the Cream Puff building, they sell an average of 350,000 Puffs each year during the 11 days of State Fair. Frankly, the number seems low, considering nearly 1,000,000 people attend each year.
|A very Fair breakfast.|
On the way to order, you look through windows at the workers. Its cold because of the cream and even on the hottest days, the workers bundle up like Nanook of the North.
|Nephew & niece dive into the|
family tradition. (dwm)
Visiting the animal barns isn't one of our traditions, I think the boys were pretty young the last time we did. So this year, I checked out an aisle or two in several barns.
|Is this bunny#1? (dwm)|
In the fair's early days, competitions to see who had the best cow, best crop, and who made the best pie were fun and advanced the craft. That on-going quest is one of our country's oldest traditions.
Our family group always takes in the Kids From Wisconsin show. They perform every day. They hail from every corner of the state after winning auditions for a place on stage. This year's show includes a music travelogue with hit songs from Chicago, Cleveland, Nashville, New Orleans, and Las Vegas. I'd say it's one of their best.
|Alex Clark working the crowd. (dwm)|
New to me was a young comedian/juggler. He was setting up a microphone and speakers while individually asking passers-by to stop and stay for the show. I did.
I thought I slipped behind some members of the crowd, but when I got out my camera - he saw me and quickly got on the ground for my camera for a "beach pose." Its Alex Clark. He is funny and an entertaining juggler. Fast with a quip as fiery torches whizzed around his head.
|A fair-ly new tradition|
the Sky Glider (dwm)
The Sky Glider is "new," which in my universe means it's probably been around a good 20 years now.
I remember when it first appeared at State Fair Park and the idea of gliding over the big crowds near the Grandstand instead of fighting through them to get from one place to another seemed cool and magical.
It is still a good way to get off your feet for five or ten minutes and enjoy a bird's eye view of the places you want to visit before the day at the fair ends all too soon.
|The Giant Slide is 50! (dwm)|
It took a few years before I tried it. It cost a quarter then. A worker gave you a burlap sack which you carried to the top, moved it into place as directed, then sat before getting pushed off and down. There were four microphones hanging over the slide to capture screams and giggles.
The mikes are gone and this year, so were the burlap bags - replaced with a multi-fiber mat which seemed a lot faster than those old ones. It was as much fun as you can have in 5 seconds at the Fair.
|The WonderWheel! (dwm)|
It's 15 stories tall, casting a big shadow across the grounds. It deserves its own blog, so come back tomorrow for that.
On the other end of the spectrum is another fair event which has caught our family's attention through the years - the draft horse hitch class.
|Clydesdale horses at work. (dwm)|
All this and I didn't leave space to write about the Milk House, Smoky Bear, Baked Potato, or Elephant Ear.
Just like those Cream Puffs - there are more than I can handle. You might start our own Fair tradition - it runs through August 13.