On, Wisconsin: Best Foods at the Fair

On, Wisconsin: Best Foods at the Fair

Go on, gorge yourself.

There's food that's fair, and then there's fair food. Having spent my teen summers working at the Wisconsin State Fair, I'm your go-to girl when it comes to all things baked, breaded and fried. And my years away have only upped the ante when it comes to restaurants and food vendors vying for the best, craziest and just plain 'ol bizarre best foods at the fair.

That sign? It's really all you need to know—where to go for the animal barns and the cream puffs. I'll get to those in a moment. Really, your first stop should by the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, just off of Grandstand Avenue.

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Make sure you grab a Usinger's brat on a pretzel bun—yummy yummy meat for just $3. The Wisconsin Products Pavilion really is a hidden treasure among the gabillion vendors that line the streets of the fair grounds. Great food, great prices, and nothing too outlandish.

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Not quite food on a stick, but close. Roasted corn is the shizzle. And again, at about $3 a pop, it is probably the closest to nutritious you'll get all day. You could slide another veggie in there with some deep fried battered green beans. Or a pickle. And ... yeah. That's about it.

And then there's the only reason to really head up North:

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I'll admit it—the legend is probably overstated. But the Wisconsin State Fair cream puff is the bomb. You can try to make them at home, but nothing quite matches the operation in Milwaukee. And interestingly, Illinois can now lay claim to a wee bit of fame with the Puff, as the cream is now supplied by an Illinois company. Practically heresy up North, but they'll get over it.

What else did I see advertised, but was too chicken to try?

  • BBQ-pork filled bismarck donuts
  • Krispy Kreme double cheeseburgers
  • Peanut butter and bacon beer-battered nuggets
  • Beer doughnuts
  • Hot pretzel with bacon and chocolate sauce
  • The Elvis Sundae

I'd head back up for Round Two, but after all I did eat, including the best sour cream and chives fries on the planet, courtesy of Saz's, I'd have to walk the 80 miles that separate me from the state fair grounds to work off the caloric intake.

And in case you are interested, there is more to the Fair than just food. I'm kind of over the pig races, though they still draw large crowds. Instead, there's a new monkey act that's pretty cute. And speaking of animals, there are entire barns full. You know, the kind that live on farms—cows, pigs, sheep, horses ... all up close and personal. It's a fair. Go have fun.

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