The Wisconsin State Fair has arrived. Here's what you need to know.
Get ready for another week and a half of cream puffs, cows, classic rock and more: The Wisconsin State Fair opens Thursday and runs through Aug. 11.
If you’re a longtime fairgoer, you might have a ritual of favorite sights, sounds, rides and tastes that you hit up annually. But when you stop by this year, keep in mind some of these new attractions:
New foods and vendors to try
The finalists for the fair’s annual best-new-food competition, the Sporkies, includes a wide range of goods: a Brownie Waffle Stick from Waffle Chix, Buffalo Cheese Curd and Chicken Taco from Poncho Dog, Chicago Dog Nachos from Slim’s PBR Park, Deep-Fried Italian Stallion from Water Street Brewery, Deep-Friend Milk with Cookie Dip from Lakefront Brew Pub, Jalapeno Popper Hot Dog from Siggy’s Wild Dog Saloon, Puco Locadilla On-a-Stick from Sprecher Landing and Street Corn Nachos from Tropics.
The new and weird foods don’t end there, though. For the more adventurous eaters, there are several new dishes with a creepy-crawly aspect to them. Two are at Exotic Meat Grill: the Bug Tacos, which are made with real crickets and worms, and Snake Soup, which contains rattlesnake meat. All Things Jerky rounds things out with Grasshopper Slushie On-a-Stick, which is basically a popsicle with those jumpy critters inside.
Meanwhile, Pistol Pete’s, a Brookfield pizza joint, moved into a new permanent structure by the grandstand, while another vendor called Charlie’s Deep-Fried Pork Tenderloin On-a-Stick will also debut this year.
Sales on sales
On Aug. 7, for one day only, 60 shopping vendors will offer discounts on either select merchandise or their entire store. Participating vendors will be found in the Exposition Center, the Central Marketplace, the Mile Marketplace, Galleria and the streets in between.
RELATED:Save on 2019 Wisconsin State Fair tickets with discount deals in advance and at the gate
Lambeau Field Live
OK, technically this isn’t new since it appeared at the fair in 2018, but since this Packers exhibit was conceived to celebrate the team’s 100th season, it’s not expected to become a fair staple.
Visitors can enjoy a satellite Packers Pro Shop, a Packers Hall of Fame, a wall to simulate Lambeau leaps and a virtual reality display. Two Packers alumni will also make appearances: Vince Lombardi-era running back Donny Anderson on Aug. 7 and Hall of Fame kicker Jan Stenerud on Aug. 11.
New pick-up and drop-off spots for rideshare
Previously, rideshare traffic was directed near the park’s Gate 4 transit area just north of Greenfield Avenue on 84th Street. But this year, it will be moved to an area on the north end of the park, outside the Spin City amusement ride area and the U.S. Cellular Main Gate.
Rideshare cars will now be directed to enter at Gate 7, off Kearney Street, to scoop or drop passengers.
One of the cattle barns at the fair will now host a new interactive, educational exhibit about Wisconsin’s dairy industry that will include live animals, touchscreens and signage.
All of that will play out against the backdrop of a new 450-square foot mural celebrating the state’s signature industry.
There are four new rides in 2019: a haunted castle, a smaller Ferris wheel, tractor rides for kids and the AirMaxx.
Contact Elliot Hughes at email@example.com or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.