State Fair neighbors help ease parking pinch
Pig races, cream puffs, farm animals and an assortment of foods on a stick epitomize the Wisconsin State Fair for many residents and visitors.
For those living in the neighborhoods surrounding the grounds in West Allis, State Fair brings to mind another side of the fair experience: parking.
Making some extra cash and lending a helping hand top the list of reasons State Fair's neighbors allow visitors to park in their driveways and on their lawns.
"Since we were little, every year it was up to us to help park people," one neighbor said. "It's a way for us make some extra cash."
Most of the yard parking costs between $5 and $15 and the practice is legal during the fair because of a zoning variance enacted by the City of West Allis.
Another neighbor said that he allows people to park on his lawn to make going to the fair a little easier. He explained that if people in the neighborhood didn't let fairgoers park on their lawns and in their driveways, they would have a pretty long walk to and from the grounds.
In the area from 76th Street to 84th Street, whole families are involved with tasks from helping fairgoers park their cars and collecting money, to sitting outside watching and waving flags or parking signs to attract the attention of those looking for a space. For most, the ability to make a little money offsets the inconvenience created by increased traffic and noise in the neighborhood during the run of the fair.
Organization is they key to fitting as many cars as possible in a yard, while still leaving room for everyone to get in and out. Many neighbors said that after parking cars on their lawns for so many years, they have it down to a science.
The weekends are the most popular days and spots fill up right away. But parking cars is still an all-day affair on those days. With people coming and going, someone must always be on hand to fill up newly vacated spaces.
"We keep ourselves entertained by playing music and talking to people," said one resident.
Another added that conversation helps pass the time, too.
"Out-of-towners are always talking to us, telling us about where they are from. Illinois driving skills is also a popular subject." (A common joke in the neighborhood is that prices go up for cars with Illinois plates).
While locals said for the most part they do not have any issues with the parkers, many admitted that on the weekends there is a lot of garbage on their property; beer bottles, dirty diapers and other trash makes a quick morning clean up necessary each day.
So for those of you planning on parking on someone's lawn or in their driveway in the last few days of the fair, the residents ask that you dispose of your garbage elsewhere.
Many years ago....I went to the State Fair with a few of my buddies....we didn't have much money to spend, so I suggested we park some cars on someone's front lawn....we rang doorbells til we found a house that was unoccupied. We quickly parked 5 paying customer's cars on the front lawn, took their cash and left before the neighbors could come over and confront us.....I hope I don't have to pay taxes on that....
murphy | Aug. 8, 2008 at 9:04 a.m. (report)
An extra $1000 in unreported income per household!? They should be tried and hanged for their crimes.
I hope these people are paying taxes on the extra income they are making during the fair. Even at just $5 a car and with some turnover throughout the day you'd have to think these people are parking about 20 cars a day. They are probably making over $1000 during the fair.
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