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The Great American BBQ Tour
Presented by the Kansas City Barbeque Society

2012 Tour Stop #14 - Wisconsin State Fair

August 2, 2012

Wisconsin State Fair

West Allis, Wis.

We spent a couple of years at the Summerfest Music Festival tour stop in Milwaukee before we found the Wisconsin State Fair, just down the road. While the fair does involve really long days, it brings many people to the party to sample the Castle Wood Reserve® meats and cheeses, Weber’s® seasoning packets, Smithfield loins and ribs and Reser's® Hidden Valley® Ranch potato salad.

At a normal KCBS event, Christine and I load-in on Thursday, do all our supply shopping and receive the Smithfield® and Reser's® UPS shipments. On Friday, we get to the event early to set-up and start sampling by the afternoon. On Saturday morning, we come back to do it all again. At the fair, we loaded-in on Monday afternoon,  giving us two days to get our supplies and first shipments of Smithfield® and Reser's® squared away. Christine spent Wednesday afternoon cutting up the Smithfield® pork loins and marinating them in Weber’s® Caribbean Jerk Just Add Juice™ while I packed away the 1500 sample size Reser's® cups in coolers and ice.

The fair opened daily at 8 a.m. and required us to be set up and ready by 9 a.m. Due to this being a State Fair, we were required to be set up until 10 p.m. Lucky for us, we had a few friends who helped the past few years come back to help once again -- Marjorie, Christine, Tim and Don. These folks are KCBS members or family of KCBS members so they know hard work and always do a great job promoting KCBS and our sponsors.

Since UPS doesn't deliver on Saturdays, I had 17 big boxes of Smithfield® and Reser's® delivered to the fair on Friday morning. Of course, if I can stack everything high and make just two trips instead of three, I am going to do it. You would think that I would get wiser in my old age (the hotel gave me a senior citizen discount to make me more aware that number) but of course I haven’t…  After about 10 stops to catch my breath and seemingly a quarter of a mile walk, I finally made it back to our trailer.

Friday was another great day for handing out samples and visiting with the public. Friday was also Christine's birthday and after I messed up last year and had to find a "last minute" cake, I planned ahead and pre-ordered a white cake with butter cream icing…which was perfect!

Saturday brought quite a bit of excitement. At about 3:30 p.m. or so, the local police came around and warned of an incoming storm with anticipated 70 mph winds so Christine and I, along with our helpers, started to “batten down the hatches.” At 4 p.m., the rain started falling and Christine had all six of our helpers in the trailer cutting up meat and cheese samples. Thank goodness for all the counter space! Luckily, the storm let up and we were still able to do our 6:30 p.m. demonstration to a packed house anxious to try the Smithfield® St. Louis spare ribs that I had rolled into perfect little crown ribs.

The crowds kept coming Sunday, so thank goodness we were ahead of things from Saturday. The lines started early and stretched almost into the Creampuff Pavillion, a good 50 yards away from our spot!

While the crowds were plentiful and we were able to distribute all our samples, the fair was a lot of work, as most of our food-vending friends know. We finally learned this year to schedule a day off after our midnight Sunday night load-out. Monday was spent sleeping in, doing laundry, catching up on emails and paperwork, napping and re-energizing. I even talked Christine into going back out to the fair late in the day to see some of the things we missed while working and even saw The Band Perry play on the main stage! 

Wisconsin is always a little bittersweet because it normally means that we are halfway through with the current year’s tour. It is always hard to believe how quickly the time has flown and before we know it, we will be winterizing the trailer for the winter break and missing all our BBQ buddies!



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