The Wisconsin State Fair is still many months away, but it’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 fair’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.
"I’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 there’s all of the food that’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 fair’s new packages and programs, including personalized, adoptable benches to provide more casual seating – 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 Saz’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.
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, Herman’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 …
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 Oct. 1, 2014
The Milwaukee Rep's latest production, the drama "after all the terrible things that I do," deals with some of today's most difficult and challenging modern conversations, ones as a society people are still parsing through - or maybe trying to avoid. Yet that's not what scares the show's lead actors, Mark Junek and Sophia Skiles, going into the show's opening.
Published Sept. 30, 2014
Almost all of the animals in the animal kingdom have the people's care, appreciation and respect ... except bugs. They are annoyances, they are pests and we have no problem brutally murdering them for trespassing on our territory. We have vegetarians and vegans, but very few coming to defend the rights and dignity of little multi-legged critters. Consider writer-director Eric Gerber, the writer-director behind "Pester," one of those very few.
Published Sept. 29, 2014
No matter how much you try to dodge or avoid or fend it off, age comes for us all. But what if it ... didn't? That's the obvious yet unanswerable essential question driving Bill Andrews and Aubrey de Gray, the two scientists at the center of "The Immortalists," the thoroughly compelling new doc currently showing at the Milwaukee Film Festival.
Published Sept. 29, 2014
After working in cheap reality TV for years - including an MTV show called "That '70s House," essentially "Big Brother" or "The Real World" clad in hippie garb - Marquez decided he needed a break from reality TV and wanted to dip his toes into something completely different: actual reality. A decade later, the result is "Psychopath."
Published Sept. 27, 2014
Before his keynote state of cinema lecture at the Colectivo on Prospect today at noon, OnMilwaukee.com got a chance to chat with Wesley Morris - Pulitzer Prize winning film critic and 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival tribute - and pick his brain about his movie memories and - what else - the state of cinema.
Published Sept. 26, 2014
There's something charmingly retro about the tools of the thieving trade on display in "1971," Johanna Hamilton's new documentary that opened the Milwaukee Film Festival last night. However, those tools, plus maybe a few pairs of oversized glasses and some playful period protest cheekiness, are the only things that feel dated about the thrilling, all too timely story "1971" comes to tell.
Published Sept. 26, 2014
Before "Winter's Bone," Jennifer Lawrence was an aspiring actress with a couple of little-seen indie credits and a running TV gig on "The Bill Engvall Show." After "Winter's Bone," she was one of the hottest names in the business. Of course, much of that is because Lawrence is a talented actress, but on some level, she has writer-director Debra Granik to thank.
Published Sept. 24, 2014
A story about concerned citizens stealing FBI info gathered in ethically dubious ways sounds ripped from today's headlines. This particular story, however, doesn't take place now but over 40 years ago, and instead of Edward Snowden's name in middle of the debate, it was a small group of activists called the Citizens' Commission. This all too relevant moment takes center stage in "1971," the Milwaukee Film Festival's opening night selection.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
"The Maze Runner" is a fairly impressive feat: It feels fresh, edgy and exciting - despite the fact that, as the 47th YA adaptation in the last month (a rough estimate), it absolutely shouldn't.
Published Sept. 22, 2014
Cory Chisel currently calls Nashville home, but the folk country Americana rock band leader certainly hasn't cut ties with Wisconsin, the state that he called home for many years before hitting the road and making it big.