I have a confession to make. I have never been to a State Fair. Not in New Jersey where I was born, or Southern or Northern California where I lived for more years than I care to admit (I will start dating myself if I do that), or even in Arizona where I am living now. I mostly considered it a place where they have a lot of food that is really bad for you, lots of rides for kids, and lots of animals that would rather be somewhere else. So I was a little on the skeptical side when Jan and Marian suggested it. But then, what the heck? The weather is holding out, it’s a week day, why not? Denny was easy to persuade, so we all piled into the car and headed out to the fair, nice and early.
It was quite impressive. First thing we hauled on out to the animals. Such gorgeous horses! All manes and tails braided and ribboned. They looked good and they knew it. Such cute goats! I just love goats, and they are so social it’s hard not to have a conversation with them. Pigs with so much personality! They really are grunters. And the poor small group of sheep who KNEW that they were going to get sheared….. Yes, you have it – I actually got to see a real live Australian sheerer shear a sheep! It took only a few minutes, but for the sheep I am sure it felt like it took forever. And that sheep shearers was really strong – he just flipped that triple digit pounder like it was a bag of flour. With respect, of course. No one was harmed in the process and the sheep could enjoy the summer weather, too. That fleece stayed in one place, too – just like I have seen when I have purchased fleeces for my spinning habit. Amazing animals.
But now it’s time to talk about the FOOD. There is no end to all the kinds of food that there are there for a small dent in your wallet. Never mind how much room in your stomach. Jan and Marian tuned us into the Original Cream puffs. Cream Puffs are one of my favorite things in life. Due to adopting a healthier life style, I haven’t been so heavy on the recreational eats. But can’t argue with 90 years of Fair Cream Puffs. Definitely worth the eats – they are good. The shells are baked right in front of you, and the cream tastes so fresh and light that I would be shocked it if had any additives.
That said, there was also a Wisconsin Products Pavilion, which had the gammet from ice cream to yarn. Door County cherry products were in abundance, but since we were going to be visiting Door County the following week, we waited till we would get to the source.
Honey bees, honey tasting, cheese curds, chocolates – you could easily fill up on the samples alone. It was lunch time, so we queued up for brats and I went for the chicken sausage which was not too spicy, but with a good crunch on that natural casing. I slathered three types of mustard on the bun. Yum.
Our own poor dogs were tired after a bit – touring through the vendor pavilion was like going through the Great Mall of America. I managed to tour through the Textile, Craft & Culinary Exhibit and was really impressed with the level of professionalism in the entries. Of course I had to buy two skeins of the alpaca grown and processed in Wisconsin. Not sure what I am going to make with it, although I do have a shawl pattern in mind.
Since we still had some time in the day, we headed out to Marquette University campus. Not too many students were milling about since the semester hadn’t started yet. The area of town was well maintained and we enjoyed a short walk – buildings weren’t open so there wasn’t much to explore.
After putting up our feet at the hotel, we stopped at the Gingerbread House Restaurant, not far from the hotel, where they advertised a Friday Fish Fry, which we couldn’t resist. We were not disappointed! The fish was fresh, the batter seasoned really well. The owner was gracious and made sure everyone was seated and happy. Did I mention that they had live chickens and ducks on the property? It was a real farmhouse atmosphere through and through – patio seating was packed and so was the interior within minutes of our 7:30PM arrival. Talk about the nick of time!
One thing for sure – if you go to bed hungry in Wisconsin, it’s your own fault.