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State Fair: It's More Than Concerts Cream Puffs and Other Foods on a Stick

by Mike Austin

Certainly there are many things to motivate people to come out to the fair grounds in West Allis for the Wisconsin State Fair. For some it is the Grandstand and numerous free entertainment stages, for others its the rides and games on the Midway, yet for others its the traditional fair food and the variety of food types now available on a stick. But if you look at the surveys and talk to those who work for the fair or sit on the board, the animals and the numerous livestock exhibits are still one of the biggest draws to the fair.

Located right in the heart of Milwaukee County the fairgrounds provides a convenient setting for many non farm residents to get an up close look at Wisconsin's livestock industry. Not only the barns, and exhibit halls, but the Discovery Barn and House of Moo provide a great opportunity for dialogue between fair goers and junior fair exhibitors on what type of care is given to the animals and what they mean in not only producing our food and fiber, but the care that is given to those animals as well. In a conversation I had with our State Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel he stressed what a great environment the fair is for agricultural education and how the fair experience really helps these junior exhibitors prepare to be our future leaders in not only the agricultural community, but in their communities as well.

The fair is also a great time to highlight some of our best traditions and to celebrate an important part of our heritage. It is a social gathering, that build a sense of community and pride. And it is also an educational venue that hopefully can foster a better understanding of rural and urban communities and what is behind one of the strongest economic engines in our state, Agriculture.

So come for the entertainment, enjoy the rides and the food, visit the trade show and activities at the central mall. but make sure you stop on by the exhibit halls, barns and show ring to see what reall is the  heart of your state fair.