By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Aug 09, 2021 at 10:01 AM

The arrival of the Wisconsin State Fair always seems to coincide with some of the hottest weather of the summer, and this year is no exception.

Fortunately, there’s a new way to cool down this year at the Fair: Refreshing chocolate milkshakes made with Wisconsin milk.

The milkshakes are available inside the Wisconsin Products Pavilion right across from the popular grilled cheese stand. And they will only set you back by $4.

“The Dairy promotion board runs the grilled cheese stand in the Pavilion,” says Joan Oberhaus, a dairy farmer who also serves as vice president for the State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. “And that’s always been a success. But we are always thinking of new ideas to promote the delicious dairy we have in Wisconsin.”

Oberhaus, who operates Cozy Nook Farm, located just outside of Waukesha in the Town of Delafield, says the idea for shakes has been brewing for a number of years now.

“Our goal has always been that every State Fair-goer enjoys Wisconsin Dairy during their time at the fair, says Oberhaus, “We noted that other fairs serve shakes, and we thought: ‘We should have those at the Wisconsin State Fair.’”

The shakes are the result of years of planning on behalf of the State Fair Foundation and the State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. The planning was made possible with the help of numerous entities including Prairie Farms, a farmer-owned dairy processing plant which bottles milk and makes cheese and ice cream from local dairy, including fresh cream procured from Wisconsin dairy farms. Sponsorship in the form of milkshake cups was also secured from Rural Mutual.

And thanks to the current sponsors, who have locked in their support for three years, Oberhaus says the milkshakes are likely to remain as an offering at the fair for years to come.

Oberhaus says that the milkshakes are among the many efforts spearheaded by the Dairy Promotion Board, which is also behind Dairy Lane, an interactive exhibit introduced in 2019 which offers kids of all ages the opportunity to interact with furry animals, learn more about Wisconsin’s award winning cheeses and test their Wisconsin Dairy knowledge.

Fair-goers can find the exhibit in the heart of the Ag Village on the Northeast side of the Fair, along with other fun, educational activities like daily milking demonstrations for cows and goats.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.