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Yes, I grew up in Wisconsin. But no, for some reason, I had never heard of the concept of "breakfast on the farm."
Until this weekend, that is, when my family and I took the short drive to West Bend on Saturday to a not-so-intimate affair at the Homestead Acres. In my mind's eye, I expected a few dozen people to gather for pancake and eggs in a field.
In reality, we were one of hundreds (and maybe more) assembled for a breakfast operation of enormous scale.
And it was a lot of fun.
I knew this was a big deal as we parked in a giant bumpy field across the street from the farm. Several tractors circled around picking up and dropping off diners. Though we arrived at 8:45 – it started at 6:30 a.m. – we didn't actually get in line for at least an 30 minutes because the process of hopping aboard a tractor took forever. Then, we stood in a line worthy of Great America for 90 minutes, finally sitting down with our $7 pancakes, scrambled eggs and coffee about 10:45 a.m.
As impatient as I am, my concern on Saturday was our 3-year-old, whose attention span is actually shorter than mine is. But she handled the long wait like a champ. That 90 minutes in both lines allowed us to inspect adult and baby cows, full-size and toy tractors, a petting zoo, balloons and polka music.
Despite the very warm weather, there were so many diversions that it barely mattered – although my sense was that the very simple serving options could've been streamlined by using more than four people for the hundreds assembled.
Still, breakfast on the farm was an awesome family experience, and I'd happily do it again – although I'd arrive much earlier. If you get a chance to visit one of these this summers, I suggest you jump at the chance.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.