Dairy Day is one of the biggest days at the Wisconsin State Fair. Milk, cheese and cream puffs are saluted and honored with contests, parlor tours, and cups and cups of milk.
The perfect Dairy Day starts with a Cream Puff Eating Contest. Fans fill the Central Mall, standing elbow-to-elbow as local celebrities sit on the stage, large cream puffs in front of them. The leader of Team Cream Puff, Dave Schmidt, oversees the highly anticipated competition. He builds up the crowd, pokes fun at the contestants, and proudly talks about Wisconsin’s favorite Fair treat.
With the shrill sound of a whistle, the contestants put their hands behind their backs and dive, head first, into the puffs. The cream smears across their faces as they hungurly attack the light and airy pastry. Some use strategy, eating the pastry before the cream, while others try to take small, deliberate bites, like a bird pecking at stale bread. At the 20-second mark the piercing sound of a whistle blows again, signaling a victor.
The crowd goes wild as the Dairy Day Cream Puff Champion stands, cream covering his entire face. Dave Schmidt proudly hands the coveted cream puff trophy to the victor.
Across the park, a Jersey cow named Plum and a Holstein named Tina are lead into the Milking Parlor. Dairy lovers perch on metal bleachers, peering through the floor to ceiling windows as the milking team attaches the milking unit to the cows. Two to three times a day, Plum and Tina are milked, pumping out roughly 80 pounds of milk a day. The milk is then filtered and transferred to a milk tank where it’s kept icy cold.
The Milking Parlor is a peek into the life of a working family farm. It takes a lot of love and a lot of work, but from dawn to dusk families work hard to birth calves, milk cows, and ship milk off to distributors for us to enjoy frothy milk and creamy cheese.
After a stop of the Milking Parlor, it’s off to the Herb Kohl Milk Stand, where milk lovers wait in line to purchase a refreshing glass of milk for a mere 25-cents. Strawberry, chocolate, banana, root beer, milk attendants pour glasses of the creamy beverage, putting chocolaty smiles on kids faces.
What’s your favorite dairy product? How fast do you think you could eat a cream puff?
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