2019 Wisconsin State Fair - Milwaukee WI
Mural painted on the wall in the Diary Barn at the Wisconsin State Fair. Appx 10 feet tall and 40 feet long.
The last week of July, Beth and I headed to Wisconsin to visit family and to see the Wisconsin State Fair in nearby Milwaukee. I've never been to the Wisconsin State Fair, and it had been many years since Beth was there. A few of our nephews and nieces were showing calves, so we wanted to stop by and see them.
The first Wisconsin State Fair was held in 1851. Abraham Lincoln (an Illinois Senator at the time - just a year before becoming President) spoke at the 1859 fair. The fair was held in different towns throughout Wisconsin until 1892, when a permanent site was established at its present location. Obviously, there is a large focus on dairy cows and the dairy industry. However, there are also lots of other livestock represented - horses, poultry, pigs, sheep, and many more. And, of course, crafts and food play a large part in the festivities. Last, but not least, there are the rides and rows and rows of food vendors.
Over 1,000,000 people attended in 2018.
Hi from the Wisconsin State Fair!
We arrived early, before the crowds. Later, the overhead SkyGlider tram was full of people.
The most visible ride is the large Ferris wheel.
One of our first stops was the dairy barn. Hey, it's Wisconsin!
You can tell we're in the Dairy State.
Many counties have their own row. All of the animals and stalls are kept very clean.
Lots of different types of cows represented from throughout the state.
Yeah - we found Racine County (where Beth's family farm is located).
Part of the Racine County and Kenosha County fair participants.
Cleaning and grooming to prepare for showing.
These calves were part of the dairy education exhibit at the fair.
Next, we headed over to where the cows were being judged.
The person showing the cow is also judged on their leading and showmanship abilities.
Two teenager showmen leading their cows while the judge watches and gives directions.
Hopefully you have a cooperative cow and you have practiced leading them for several months.
How do the showmen keep their white pants clean!
Our next stop is the horse barn. This guy was leading 3 large horses (Clydesdales?) into the barn.
The horseshoes were quite loud (clippity-clop!) and I would not have wanted them to step on my toes! Ouch!
These young ladies were also leading horses into the barn.
Lots of equipment involved with horses.
Horses of all sizes and colors.
In addition to showing the horses, it's also a great opportunity to teach others about them.
After looking through some other displays, it was time to go in search of lunch.
Every fair has plenty of food. This one is no exception. Something for everyone!
This looks good.
Oooooo...... Cookie Dough on a Stick! Or, Deep-Fried Cookie Dough. Hello, cholesterol. Keep walking.
Just a moment later, Beth was tugging on my arm. "This is what we're looking for."
Welcome to the Cream Puff Pavilion - This is like Mecca for all Wisconsin Cheese-Heads.
Inside the pavilion, there are many choices for lunch. Beth has one in mind, though.
Oh, my, that looks good. But, it's not what we came here for.
I'll take one of each, please.
You can even have pickles for lunch. And many people were. Not us, though. Keep walking.
And, of course, the Dairy State has to have a milk stand.
Then, suddenly, Beth grabbed my arm. "We're here!"
The Wisconsin Cream Puff stand. We're early, so the line is short. Later in the day, there will be a hundred people in line.
Next, you get to watch your Cream Puff being made.
First part of the assembly line. The shells are baked evenly in the rotisserie ovens in the background.
Baked to perfection! The few "rejects" get set aside.
This youngster is fascinated with watching the cream puffs coming to life.
No such thing as too much cream filling.
Beth holds up our healthy snack for approval. Yes!
We're going to need a bigger napkin.
Beth's brother John is also enjoying his cream puff.
It was DELICIOUS! And, it held us over until we grabbed a burger later for our "real" lunch.
Next, we stopped at the DNR cabin to learn about Wisconsin's natural resources and wildlife.
Nice displays of fish - living and stuffed.
Interesting display of art for stamps. Maybe you will see one in your Post Office soon.
Our next stop was the building with crafts, cooking, vegetables, and flowers.
Nice display of Japanese floral arranging.
Creative display of herbs and vegetables.
Lots of pies, cakes, and other cooking. I'd like to be a judge for that!
The judges have tough decisions with so many good entries.
A lot of people like to sew in Wisconsin.
Jelly, jam and honey.
3-D "Living" Pictures/Art were popular.
Lots of interesting photos on display, too.
WE Energy had many beautiful displays for energy information and gardening.
Beth has this idea on my to-do list already.
Soon, it was time to head home. We had a good time, but the heat and walking were wearing us out.
We leave you with this thought.
After a good night's rest, it was time to get to work. One of Beth's 6 brothers, Mark, has run the family dairy farm for the past 30 years. Other family members stop by almost daily to help, so it's still a family affair. Today, they are baling straw to use as bedding for the cows. They must be loaded up into the mow (pronounced like the sound you make when you hurt yourself - "Oww", with an "m" at the beginning). It is short for haymow, which is the part of the barn where hay is stored.
First the straw needs to be cut, then raked into rows to dry. Then the tractor comes by with the baler, which shoots about 150 bales (30-40 pounds each) into wagons which are brought up to the barn. Then, they are unloaded onto an elevator (conveyor belt) which dumps them into the mow, where rough-tough guys (that's where I fit in) and gals neatly stack them layer upon layer until they nearly reach the roof.
One of many fields where the straw has been cut and raked, ready to be baled.
The final destination for the straw bales - the barn.
The 3 large sliding doors on the upper-right are where the bales are loaded into the haymow. There are also 3 doors on the back side.
Beth's brother John (remember him with the cream puff at the fair?) is raking the straw to make sure it is dry before baling.
The circular wheels on the rake make nice even rows of straw for the baler.
Beth's brother Mark is driving the tractor with the baler and wagon.
Every 10-15 seconds, a new bales shoots out into the wagon.
Another straw bale finds its way to the wagon.
Finished with one row. Dozens more to go. Then on to the next field.
Farming is long days of hard work - rain or shine.
Beth's brother Tom is driving now, so we'll be done in no time!
From this angle, you can see how high the baler throws the bale.
You do not want to be looking down the chute when one comes out!
Beth's brother Scott pulls up to the barn with a load of straw to be unloaded.
Beth's brother Mark unloads straw bales onto the elevator and they head up to the mow.
One by one, several hundred bales are unloaded each hour.
This is the haymow in the barn. I'm standing on about 6 layers of bales. The opposite end of the mow has 3 layers so far.
The pile in the middle is cottonseed.
In the foreground is some hay. In the background is the straw we have been unloading - up to 6 layers deep now.
The elevator can be seen poking through the far doorway. When it's hot and sunny, it can be VERY hot up here! Today, we had a nice breeze.
The bales are carefully set on one end to have steps up to the top.
Can you find the path?
Here I am trying to keep up with the real farmers, who seem to not even break a sweat.
Wait a minute, I picked up the last one.
After unloading about 6 wagons, it was time to stop for milking. All the straw is off the fields and baled.
After cleaning up, I took the camera around and snapped some photos.
I saw these old milk cans out by the fuel tank. I think I like it better in Black & White.
Close-Up of the fuel pump. Again, I think Black & White is my favorite.
Some of the cows grazing and enjoying the nice day.
More cows grazing with the barn in the background.
Taken earlier in the day - trees on the horizon over the straw field and past the cow parsnip(?).
One of several John Deere tractors on the farm. Attached is a round baler, usually used for hay.
Scott has a nice variety of flowers growing by the house.
This little guy was enjoying the flower bed, too. Small - less than 2 inches long.
View of the barn from one of the fields. I came back later for a sunset shot - see next photo.
A cow is silhouetted against the sunset next to the barn.
Silhouetted by the sunset sky.
Time to head inside. The end of a long day, and Mark and his family will be out here at 4:30am to start milking again.
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Hope you enjoyed visiting Wisconsin with us.