Friday, August 8, 2014

August Staycation: The Wisconsin State Fair

Hello!  I've been on another Staycation (or shall I say partial Staycation since I did go into work twice) this week because all my adult children are home visiting.  We've mostly just been hanging around the house, but we did go to my husband's and my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin this past weekend to attend the Wisconsin State Fair, visit some old friends and the church where we met and fell in love, and my old stomping ground:  Lake Michigan South Shore Beach.  Today's post is all about the Wisconsin State Fair…and if my staycations have been boring you, don't worry I will have more exciting vacation stories to share this fall.  I spent most of my week at home planning our October vacation to Santa Fe and Albuquerque New Mexico and Colorado Springs, Colorado.  After just looking at all the beautiful mountain pictures of these two states, I will never want to come home!  

The Wisconsin State Fair is a Milwaukee tradition.  Everyone, and I mean everyone goes to the fair every year and has wonderful memories.  For my husband and I,  after we moved away from Milwaukee, we hadn't been back to the fair for over thirty years.  My children had never been to a fair of this size before.  Their only experience with fairs were small country ones;  so they were quite amazed.  My husband of course had shared all his memories of the Wisconsin State Fair with the kids prior to going.  He acted like a little boy telling them everything he had planned to do and most importantly EAT while he was there.  I cautiously reminded him that it has been over thirty years and prices probably went way up and he may not want to get all of those items, not to mention that times have changed and they may no longer have those items or events anymore.  But my warnings ended up all for nothing, for we found that with the exception of some new buildings, everything was pretty much the same.  The admission prices were high:  we paid $60.00 for the five of us to just walk through the gate, but the food and rides were fairly reasonable. 

We got there very early in the morning because we knew how crowded the fair could get on a Saturday.  Our very first stop was the famous Original Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puff building.  Our state fair is known for their cream puffs.  No one goes to the State Fair and doesn't eat a cream puff.  I had already had a big breakfast back at our hotel, so I really wasn't hungry for a cream puff this early in the morning, but my husband insisted we get our cream puffs immediately before the line got too long.  He was right.  By the time we left the fair in the late afternoon the line was out the back door!

The cream puffs are made right inside the building, and there are windows where you can watch the workers make the puffs while you are waiting.
 And this is what they look like.  They are delicious, and, I've never had anything like this anywhere else in the world.  The pastry is extremely light and fresh.  And if you can't tell by the picture, they are very generous with the whipped cream.  I did manage to eat an entire cream puff, because it actually is a very light dessert…but I will admit, I did feel a bit sick to my stomach at the end of it.  I've never been much of a dessert eater, so I think my tummy is just not use to it.   The cost of one cream puff is $4.00 or 3 for $10.00.  If your wondering how many calories are in one of these yummy goodies:  only 300!
 The best way to eat a cream puff is to split it in half.  It's way too huge to eat like a sandwich:  although people try!  If you like to people watch, something fun to do at the fair is watch people eat their cream puffs:  everyone has their own technique just like we all eat oreo cookies differently.  You will also see whipped cream covering people's fingers and faces too!
 They had so many fun photo boards to take your picture in, my husband really loved this one:
 After we had our cream puffs, we wobbled over to the DNR center.  This is a lovely nature park inside the fair grounds where they have live animals to pet, fish aquariums which show all the fish in Wisconsin State Lakes, and many, many, displays to learn about the trees and plants in our state.  There are DNR workers everywhere talking to adults and giving live demonstrations.  One of the interactive displays we stopped at was the archery one.  Here is my daughter receiving instructions on how to shoot a bow and arrow.  Ashley was surprisingly very good and got her arrow in the center of the target multiple times!
 Ashley and her husband Jason loved this photo board outside the kid's art building.
 After viewing some great artwork of Wisconsin kids (it always amazes me seeing a  great painting someone under eighteen created),  we walked over to the Milwaukee Buck Milk house.  Oh, I should mention to my overseas readers or anyone living under a rock in the United States, that Wisconsin is known as 'The Dairy State':  hence, the tradition of cheese, cream puffs, and milk.  Here you get a full glass of flavored milk for only 25 cents.  I chose chocolate, but my husband and kids got two glasses each at that price.
 Ashley with her glass of chocolate and strawberry milk.

 Our next stop was my favorite memory of the fair:  the flower exhibition building.  The first thing I spotted when we walked through the door was this sweet wagon filled with white floral arrangements.  A perfect spot to take some Fashion Over Fifty photos!  Because it was a hot day, I wore an embroidered gauze dress  from Francescas.  The purse is also from Francescas. Do you like my new hat?  I bought it at the Expo center at the fair!  I've been wanting one for awhile, but I was kinda leery of it because I'm not use to wearing a hat and I felt a little silly.  Even my husband was surprised I bought it and said 'That it wasn't my usual style'.  But, I'm at the fair, it's hot, it's cheap, so why not?  My husband ended up really liking my hat and you know what?  So did I!  It's never too late to break out of a style rut and try something new!
 Here are some close ups of some of the beautiful floral arrangements on this cart.  Just like I love clean and simple cards, I really love clean and simple floral arrangements.  I've always loved taking a mass of one flower or color and plopping it in a neat container.

 I thought the black and white checkered tile on the base of this cart was really neat too.
 I wore bohemian sandals on my feet that matched my dress perfectly and kept my feet nice and cool all day.  I was worried my feet would hurt after walking all day, but they didn't hurt anymore than to be expected.
 Here are some of my favorite arrangements of the fair:  I love sunflowers!  What a brilliant idea to pair sunflowers with these huge hosta leaves.
 A gorgeous lily paired with shrub or tree branches.  Again, simple, simple, simple!  Love it!

 I love the color combo of this gorgeous creation:

 After we left the flower exhibit, we headed towards the animal barns.  It started to get crazy busy, the crowds were so thick that I couldn't really take pictures anymore because we were literally rubbing shoulders with everyone.  I did manage this to take this picture of Ashley and my hubby walking ahead of me when I had a bit of breathing room.  See the sea of people ahead of them?  Unbelievable.  We took the sky ride you see in the upper left corner.  It takes you from one end of the park to another and you get quite the view of the entire fair.  However, I am terrified of heights, so although I enjoyed sitting down for awhile, I couldn't relax enough to enjoy the ride.
 One of the things on my husbands 'to do' list at the fair was to go down the giant slide.  Because of my fear of heights, I didn't go, but I snapped pictures of the family enjoying the ride on their burlap sacks.
 Here's Ashley having a great time.
We spent about eight hours at the fair and because of the thickness of the crowds, and the sheer size of the grounds, we never got to see or do everything my husband had hoped to.  Our feet were killing us, and we were all hot and sweaty, so we called it a day.  Plus, we had to meet some old friends for dinner, so we couldn't stay longer even if we wanted to.  But despite the crowds, it was a fun, memorable day.  But you know what was the funniest?  My husband had planned to eat a Cream Puff, a Corn Dog, all three flavors of milk, and a ice cream bar with nuts and honey and he only actually had the cream puff and milk because he was too full.  Yup, you just can't eat like you use to when you were a kid!

Have a great day!  Amy


  1. Wouah ! so fun shots ! and yummy !!!
    Superb !

  2. Looks like everyone had a fun time! The cream puffs look delicious. I went on a sky ride a couple times before at a theme park. I too was terrified of the height and couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. Not to mention I had to hold on tight to one of my kids and my birkenstocks...makes me smile now that I think about it :-)

  3. Fab post, love al lthe sights of the fair and quite adore your hat!!


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