The Wisconsin State Fair is still many months away, but itâ€™s not quite too early to start the anticipation.
It was in that spirit that the fair held its 100 Days to the Fair Preview at the State Fair Exposition Center Monday night. Many of the fairâ€™s vendors and foundation members were in attendance, as well as cream puffs (or at least cream puff boxes, with one six-pack adorning every table at the event).
The celebration mainly served as a pep rally, with attendants asked to sign in on a large white sign with not their name, but why they love the State Fair. The results ranged from the expected (cream puffs) to the somewhat less expected (people watching) to the amusingly vague (fun!). Most importantly, however, the event was an elaborate thank you to the various vendors scattered around the event, meeting, greeting, sharing tales from the past year and enjoying the free grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos, fried pickles and cookie pops making the rounds on the floor.
After about an hour of munching, casual conversation and live cover songs being played in the background, State Fair Park CEO Rick Frenette took the blue-lit stage to address the crowd, say some thanks and give a shout out to the 2014 Main Stage lineup, including Aretha Franklin, Phil Vassar, 311, Alabama and the main headliner Lady Antebellum.
That was the general vibe of the evening, less a news event than a pleasantly festive calendar reminder, albeit one that served grilled cheese and cookie pops. However, there were a few notable parts to the evening.
For one, the winner of the inaugural Fairtastic Poster Art Competition, Larry Schultz of Milton, was in attendance with his winning design on display, shaking hands and talking about the inspirations for the poster.
"Iâ€™m a horse man, so the draft horse show just sticks out to me as something big about the State Fair," Schultz said. "Then, of course, the dairy and the pigs and the animals period. And then thereâ€™s all of the food thatâ€™s here and all of the elements with the shows and the rides. I just wanted it to say fun."
Keith Kalberer, the executive director of the State Fair Park Foundation, gave Schultz and the poster contest some spotlight during his brief mid-evening speech. He also noted some of the fairâ€™s new packages and programs, including personalized, adoptable benches to provide more casual seating â€“ and allow fair fans to put their name on the event (for a price, of course).
Kalberer also plugged two special packages available for the Lady Antebellum show on Aug. 9: a Dinner and Show package featuring a ticket, parking and catered dinner at Sazâ€™s Hospitality Village, as well as a VIP Backstage Meet and Greet package which is just what it sounds like (spoiler: you get to meet and greet the band). More details and information about these packages is available on the State Fair's website.Â
Hidden in the corner of the event were some signs for the acts at the free Bank Mutual Amphitheater stage, including Vanilla Ice, Kelsey K, Home Free, Red Hot Chili Pipers, Hermanâ€™s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Here Come The Mummies and the usual Kids From Wisconsin and Mr. and Mrs. State Fair Physique Championships.
In all, it was an effective teaser for an event still 100 days away. Well, 99 days now â€¦Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Sept. 30, 2016
On Aug. 28, 2013, two Iraq War veterans took the first steps of an incredible walk of physical endurance and emotional healing. On Saturday night, their journey returns to where it started with "Almost Sunrise," the Milwaukee Film Festival's centerpiece selection.
Published Sept. 30, 2016
It's scary movie season, with a sequel to "Ouija" and the most frightening horror of them all - Madea - all making their way to the big screen this October. Here's what to keep your eyes out for this month at the movie theater.
Published Sept. 29, 2016
Taye Diggs is the honorary chair for Saturday's 2016 AIDS Walk Wisconsin at the Summerfest Grounds - not an unfamiliar role for the TV, film and Broadway performer who starred in "Rent," the hit musical that helped push HIV and AIDS awareness into the public eye.
Published Sept. 29, 2016
Weddings. Cars. Giving to food drives. Sex. Purebred dogs. Yes, if it's a thing you like, Adam Conover has likely ruined it. And he's bringing that raucously entertaining (and informative) ruin to Milwaukee's Turner Hall Ballroom on Sunday night.
Published Sept. 28, 2016
Before its final Milwaukee Film Festival showing on Wednesday, Oct. 5, we chatted with director Irene Taylor Brodsky about her harrowing doc "Beware the Slenderman" - and why true crime has become such a pop culture sensation.
Published Sept. 26, 2016
You would think Netflix would spend October stocking up some horror flicks in time for the Halloween season. And oddly, you would be thinking wrong. But at least Netflix has a strong supply of originals and classics coming your way in October.
Published Sept. 25, 2016
John Darnielle turned to a surprising place for The Mountain Goats' latest record: professional wrestling. Before the band's show Tuesday night, we chatted with the storytelling frontman about his wrestling inspiration and digging through nostalgia.
Published Sept. 23, 2016
The 2016 Milwaukee Film Festival opened Thursday evening much the way the last rendition closed: with a documentary tribute to finding meaning at the movies, this time via "Life, Animated," a sweet and lovely moving picture - in all meanings of the phrase.
Published Sept. 19, 2016
With almost 300 movies set to screen during the Milwaukee Film Festival, it can be almost impossible to figure out what to see. OnMilwaukee film critic Matt Mueller is here to help, breaking down each day with what you must see.
Published Sept. 16, 2016
Looking around Reed Street Yards, it's hard not to think it would be a perfect place for a nature-conscious music festival. Apparently Rock the Green thought the same thing, as the area will play host to its return on Saturday, Sept. 17.