West Allis — It wasn't just the farm animals, cream puffs and midway rides that marked the return of the Wisconsin State Fair last week.
It was also the heavy traffic, local entrepreneurs selling parking and concessions and residents gearing up for an onslaught of out-of-towners.
For West Allis, the fair means different things for different people.
Some residents living in the area around State Fair Park, near 84th and Greenfield, dread the annual event and plan vacations around it.
Some business owners, too, report few positive experiences. Contrary to what an outsider might think, businesses don't see a huge uptick in sales - most fairgoers do all of their "shopping" in the fairgrounds and leave.
But many others stick around during the fair, and they took advantage of gorgeous weather at the beginning of the fair's 10-day run Aug. 5.
Dawn Buss recently moved to a home on Orchard Street, just south of the fairgrounds, and this year was her first opportunity to sell parking spaces on her property.
Prior to moving there, she lived near 76th Street and Greenfield Avenue, where the fair meant parking headaches.
"My son had street parking with permit and there were no-parking signs up everywhere," she said. "That's a problem they need to figure out."
This year she expected a few problems but was not overly concerned.
"I'm not looking forward to garbage being thrown and loudness late and stuff like that," she said. "But it's just 10 days."
In the selling spirit
Adrian Kriplean has sold birdhouses and other wood creations during for the past 40 years outside his home, near 79th Street and Greenfield Avenue.
He usually makes a few hundred dollars each year, he said, and except for nights that are a little on the noisy side, he had few complaints about anything the fair might bring.
West Allis police Capt. Chuck Unger said as of Tuesday morning, no major problems had been reported around the fairgrounds. Through grant money, extra officers were on patrol over the weekend on foot and bicycle.
Paulie's Pub owner Paul Budiac had two full parking lots by 11 a.m. Thursday, charging drivers $10 each. Budiac lives just down the block from his business and parks cars at a small lot there, in addition to the bar's lot.
More Summerfest income
Despite its location directly across the street, it's another major festival actually produces more revenue for Paulie's than State Fair - Summerfest, because of a shuttle the bar runs to Maier Festival Park.
There are "good things and bad things" about having the fair across the street, Budiac said.
Budiac said the bar and restaurant gets busier than usual late at night, but like most Greenfield Avenue businesses, sales stay roughly the same.
The lack of a major race at the Milwaukee Mile this year has impacted his business, as has the smoking ban, Budiac said. Business at Paulie's was down 4 percent compared to this time last year, though Budiac said other bars were much worse off.
"There are more people that aren't 'regulars,' so you got a few things destroyed, garbage all over the place," Budiac said of fair week. "But at least there are people coming in. There's a lot of places that are hurting."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- West Allis reaches for an aesthetic Summit with home loan program
- News and Notes
- Greenfield and West Allis plan Memorials for the Day
- Cheap I-94 route expensive for West Allis, officials say
- Groundbreaking set for Greenfield Farmers Market
- New Greenfield Farmers Market seeks helping hands
- News & Notes: May 14
- West Allis boy's heroism doesn't erase his sadness
- Police Report: May 13
- West Allis school uses gardens to teach students multiple subjects