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Top 10 things to see and do at the Wisconsin State Fair

Bea Leach (left) and Michaela Lonski of Wauwatosa split a Cream Puff in the Dairy Building at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2013.

Bea Leach (left) and Michaela Lonski of Wauwatosa split a Cream Puff in the Dairy Building at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2013.

July 29, 2014

This year's Wisconsin State Fair is the can't miss summer event of the season. With more than 30 free stages of entertainment, 100 different foods on a stick, and a cornucopia of cream puffs, what more could a Wisconsinite want?

The fair runs Tursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 10, at 640 S. 84th Street, West Allis. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the final Sunday of the fair.

Check out the top 10 things to see and do before you plan your trip to the fair and follow my blog Fair E-tales for the latest and greatest in fair happenings. On Wisconsin!

1. The Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit

For all the history buffs out there, the Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit at the south end of the Exposition Center is the place to be. The exhibit includes pieces from iconic fair favorites, such as the original cream puff, Mille's Sausages, the Giant Slide and more. Test your knowledge after checking out the retro displays and take a fair quiz for a chance to win some fairy cool prizes.

2. The Sporkies

The State Fair's Second Annual Food Competition, The Sporkies, were started as an initiative to encourage fair vendors to use creativity and ingenuity in their food concoctions. New this year, the final judging and presentation of The Golden Spork Award for the "Best Tasting", "Most Creative" and "Grand Champion" categories will be open to the public. Judging will begin at noon on July 29 at the Bank Mutual Amphitheater. Be sure to taste all eight Sporkies finalists' creations available for purchase at this year's State Fair.

3. Kids From Wisconsin Performances

The Kids From Wisconsin never fail to put on an award-winning musical spectacular. Thirty-three performers from around the state of Wisconsin unite to perform 65 to 70 shows during the months of June, July and August. Performances have included county fairs, festivals, and conventions throughout the continent. What better way to celebrate the great state than to cheer on Wisconsin's young and talented?

4. The Wisconsin Products Pavilion

All of Wisconsin's best features gather under one roof at the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. Vendors include Wisconsin Bison Producers, Wisconsin Honey Producers and Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary, just to name a few. Taste, purchase and enjoy.

5. Milking Parlor

Located in the heart of Agricultural Village, the milking parlor gives an inside look into Wisconsin's dairy industry. Be sure to attend a milking demonstration, which takes place daily at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. all eleven days of the fair. After learning how to milk a cow, don't forget to pick up a glass of milk for 25 cents in a variety of flavors from the Milwaukee Bucks Milkhouse.

6. Food on-a-stick

This year's Wisconsin State Fair will offer about 100 different foods on a sticks. From salads to spaghetti, you can eat an eight-course meal all on-a-stick.

7. The Daily Parade

See the state's Fairest of the Fairs, favorite street entertainers, mascots, tractors, marching bands and much more! This fair tradition begins at 3 p.m. daily and 2 p.m. on Aug. 10.

8. Natural Resources Park and Green & Growing Garden Walk

Wisconsin is known for its abundant resources and beautiful terrains. The one-acre Natural Resources Park is an escape from the busy fair lifestyle. Explore Wisconsin's enchanting outdoors and get down and dirty in the nature scavenger hunt, fish casting clinic or archery shooting. For another relaxing outdoors experience, take a stroll through the Green & Growing Garden Walk to see horticulture at its finest.

9. Wisconsin 4-H Day

Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development and the University of Wisconsin-Extension are celebrating 100 years of growing leaders on Aug. 5. This day is a great opportunity to take a closer look at 4-H and all of the different ways it improves communities all over Wisconsin. Visit over 10 different activities stations in Central Park, or head to the annual Governor's Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction at 7 p.m. in the Case IH Coliseum.

10. Jalapeno Eating Contest

The annual Jalapeno Eating Contest is a Wisconsin State Fair hidden gem and a true test of bravery. Watch in pain or applaud with pride as competitors from around the greater Milwaukee area devour the piquant peppers to be crowned the Jalapeno Eating Champion. Finals will be at the World Stage Café at 2 p.m. on Aug. 3.

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