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Looking east on Wisconsin Avenue.
Looking east on Wisconsin Avenue.

Night Market shines bright

An unseasonably cool and windy August night didn’t stop NEWaukee’s Night Market from heating up Wednesday evening.

Rather, the crowd bundled up and took in the local vendors, food trucks, dancers and marshmallow making.

Now in its second year, the Night Market returns one more time this season on Sept. 16.

Is the chamois salesman trying to hide something?
Is the chamois salesman trying to hide something?

5 weird things you can buy at State Fair

The OnMilwaukee.com Summer Festivals Guide is presented by Pick 'n Save, Where Wisconsin Saves on Groceries. Pick'n Save is Wisconsin proud, and excited to help promote and feed the great Milwaukee summer that includes festivals and fun nearly every day. Click to save here!

The Wisconsin State Fair is great on so many levels, but as an infomercial enthusiast (read: sucker), I have a particular fondness for the zillions of oddball products sold in the exposition center. I could spend all day browsing and watching the pitchmen do their thing.

Some make a lot of sense. Many do not – and I try to buy something weird each year to show my support. This year, I shelled out $19.95 for a slushy maker (it was two-for-one!), and over the years, I’ve been lured into purchasing a $200 steamer, a Mr. Sticky lint roller and some Shamwows. Spoiler alert: none of these worked very well once I brought them home.

Presented with minimal snark, here are five other unusual things you can buy at this year’s State Fair:

1. Botox

You’d like an injection of botulism, one of the most lethal bacterias known to man, administered in an unsterilized environment by an exhausted person who isn’t a doctor? You’ve come to the right place!

2. A hot tub

Because who doesn’t impulsively drop $10,000 on a whirlpool they can’t even get into to test out? Maybe it's the 0% financing.

3. Religion

If you’re conflicted about seeing all those cows, then eating a burger minutes later in front of them, this guy is here to show you the light. His booth looked lonely.

4. German glue

Apparently, Teutonic glue is especially strong.

5. Psychoanalysis

All this a little too much for you? Don’t shell out for expensive therapy. Have a carny diagnose your mental illness instead!

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You'll find all sorts of stuff at State Fair, but nothing with a Confederate flag on it.
You'll find all sorts of stuff at State Fair, but nothing with a Confederate flag on it.

Confederate flag won't be sold at State Fair

The OnMilwaukee.com Summer Festivals Guide is presented by Pick 'n Save, Where Wisconsin Saves on Groceries. Pick 'n Save is Wisconsin proud, and excited to help promote and feed the great Milwaukee summer that includes festivals and fun nearly every day. Click to save here!

Back in June, I asked Summerfest if any of its vendors were selling Confederate flag themed merchandise. Hot on the heels of a backlash toward the flag that resulted in national retailers yanking the symbol, Summerfest said its vendors would not sell anything with the "Stars and Bars."

At the time, I was afraid that it would be a different story with the Wisconsin State Fair, but my concerns have been put to rest: according to Kristi Chuckel, Communications and Marketing Manager, you won’t find any Confederate flag merch at the fair, either.

"We asked our vendors not to sell Confederate flag items at the fair this year, so there should not be any," she told me in an email.

"And indeed, our staff has been on the lookout for any Confederate flag stuff, and we haven’t found a thing. That’s good news."

While the State Fair can’t really control what its patrons wear – and we’ve all seen someone whistling Dixie, mullet a flowin’ – at least officials won’t condone that outmoded, racist symbol on its grounds.

Score one for progress.

Andy Larson stands outside the new Float Milwaukee, opening mid-August.
Andy Larson stands outside the new Float Milwaukee, opening mid-August.

First look: Float Milwaukee

If you’ve never heard of floating and sensory deprivation tanks, let us answer this question for you: it’s not a form of torture. Rather, some consider it the ultimate form of relaxation, injury recovery and meditation, and it’s coming to Milwaukee in mere weeks.

Andy Larson, who discovered the art of floating first on Kickstarter then in a now-defunct one-off float center in Waukesha, has floated all over the country. It didn’t take much convincing for him to get into the business himself and he will open Float Milwaukee in mid-August in Walker’s Point.

According to Larson, spending in hour in a super-salinated, silent, pitch-black tank, just might change your life. And no, you’re not locked inside. You can even set the lights low while you get used to the sensation.

"I'm trying to do clean, upscale and spa-like," says Larson, who is a CPA by day. "I want it to be comfortable for everyone."

The location at 211 W. Freshwater Way has room for five float tanks, but Larson will start with three. He says it’s not a claustrophobic experience at all, and the water is filtered and cleaned completely to achieve a very sterile float.

To answer another question, floating is nothing like those aqua tubes in the mall – enthusiasts, athletes and people who like to meditate, report a sensation of total relaxation (and even out-of-body-experiences) when they find themselves weightless, devoid of all physical sensations.

Each tank holds approximately 10 inches of water with 900 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts, which enable a person to float effortlessly. The water is heated to an average skin temperature (93.5 degrees) which reduces the sensation between body and water. The tanks are fully ventilated and water is sterilized using hydrogen peroxide. The entire volume of the water/salt solution is circulated and filtered three times between each float using ozone and UV.

Each room is totally private with a shower. Inside, the vibe is very much like a high-e…

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