Rides! Animals! Food! Beer! Pig races! More food! Concerts! Slides! Impossible amounts of food! It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the commotion, excitement – and have we adequately mentioned the amount of food at the Wisconsin State Fair? And that's even before the crowds of people of all ages from all counties begin piling onto the fairgrounds.
After a while, you just need to sit, relax and soak in the sun, the sights and the suds, just out of the way of the craziness. We know the feeling – and to help out, we asked our writers about their favorite State Fair places in the shade.
I love, love, love the Tropics at the State Fair. With thatch roofs, a fruity cocktail, palm trees and King Solomon or someone similar playing that happy music in the background, it doesn't get much more relaxing. The Tropics is out of the bustle of the walkways with brightly lit signs and cattle calls. After a brief respite there, I'm ready to get back out into the crowd – but I will always come back to the Tropics as well.
Senior writer, food & dining
When it comes to chilling out at the State Fair, there are a ton of nifty spots to sit back and relax. But one of my favorite places to let go and relax is on the Sky Glider. I tend to save my ride for the end of the day, when my feet are sore and I'm exhausted from a day spent in the fresh air. There's nothing quite like letting my feet dangle in the wind, allowing both my body and mind to relax while reflecting on the day's memories and taking in all the sights from above the Fair.
Hello, my name is Matt Mueller, and I'm basic: My favorite chill spot at the State Fair is the Sky Glider. Yes, it's the obvious, easy choice – but it's also the best one, hanging freely above the colorful chaos of the festival below without a care in the world, like some kind of omnipresent deity with a taste for Summer Shandy. It's one of the few places on the entire grounds – or really any festival at all – where you can people-watch, taking in the craziness under your feet or truly have some private, quiet relaxation time. I mean, where else can you close your eyes for a minute and take a good deep breathe of the Fair air (which, considering the indulgent Sconnie food creations below, probably contains your recommended caloric intake for a day).
Senior writer/editorial manager
I love hanging out at Slim McGinn's East, on the rooftop patio, because it is perfect for people watching. Located on the corner of two busy fair streets, there are people strolling in all directions and from all walks of life. One year, I sat in that spot for hours and made notes about the people who walked by and complied them into this blog of observations from the deck. I think my favorite is, "Man eating corn-on-the-cob finishes the corn and starts to eat the end of the cob." Good times.
My favorite place to chill at State Fair is, alas, anything but secret. Located right next to the giant slide, Cracovia is often packed full of folks who, like me, enjoy the polka and other live music, the sausage and, most of all, some of the best potato pancakes in town. However, if you get there at the right time (and I'm never exactly sure how to predict when that will be), there's plenty of seating at the long, family-style tables that encourage chatting with strangers. But warning: On a hot day, the covered dining area is not unlike the sauna at your local gym.