Wisconsin State Fair opens at 8 a.m. tomorrow and with it comes one giant slide, hundreds of musical acts, thousands of animals, a couple hundred thousand cream puffs, and almost a million human visitors all packed into the almost 100-acre fairground.
The Wisconsin State Fair has been held at the current fairgrounds, in West Allis (just west of Milwaukee), for the past 117 years. The original Fair, an agricultural event, was held in Janesville, WI in 1851 on the banks of the Rock River. At this time, the Fair was sponsored by the State Agriculture Society and was held for two days in October with approximately 8,000 to 12,000 people in attendance, which, at the time, was the largest reported gathering in the history of Wisconsin.
There are many side stages, one amphitheater and a main stage all on the fairgrounds. The roster of more than 100 musical acts includes classic rockers Foreigner (August 6) and Blue Öyster Cult (August 13), as well as Pick Floyd and Abba cover bands, and the return of acts like Davy Jones (August 13) and Rick Springfield (August 14).
Concerts held on any of the side stages or at the Cousins Subs Amphitheater are free with admission – $9 adults, $6 seniors, $4 youth – while those held at the outdoor Time Warner Cable Main Stage require a separate ticket purchase, which you can buy and print instantly at wistatefair.com or purchase at the Fair Box Office at the U.S. Cellular Main Gate.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the State Fair without the scores of animals. Check out the cute bunnies, chickens, goats and other farm animals in the exhibition buildings, which are open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the exception of August 16 when they close an hour early.
Also, the Midway offers rides that will spin, throw, jerk, and whirl kids (and kids at heart) all day long from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. And don’t forget the air-conditioned Expo Center where Fair-shoppers can find everything from strange household gizmos, gaudy jewelry, kitschy collectibles, an obscene amount of Packers and Badgers paraphernalia, pet supplies, books, toys, and even the kitchen sink!
Outside the Expo Center is the Cream Puff Parlor where the Wisconsin Bakers Association began selling the famous Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs in 1924, making these light and airy desserts the longest selling and most highly anticipated item at the Fair. Cream Puffs, considered a Wisconsin State Fair “must,” are the heartthrob of the gluttonous masses attending the Fair, which is why hundreds of thousand of these sinfully delicious Puffs are sold each year, causing far too many Wisconsin pants splitting episodes to even mention. For more fun facts about Cream Puffs and the Wisconsin State Fair, take a look at my list of useless facts.
What are you looking forward to this year? Those tantalizing Cream Puffs? Milking a cow? Main Stage entertainment? Maybe a ride down the giant slide or another Midway ride?
As you can tell, there’s so much to see, do and eat! So much, in fact, that I encourage you to check out my list of Things to Do at Wisconsin State Fair – it’s from last year, but I’ll update it.
The State Fair runs from August 6 to the 16, so you’ll have plenty of time to experience all it has to offer once, twice or even 11 times!