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If there are two things that cause any true Wisconsinite to positively (and justifiably) puff up with pride, they must be our state parks and dairy products. Wildlife and whey, so to speak. Wisconsin has an abundance of both, each of such sterling caliber that the state is recognized worldwide by our conifers and curds, muskies and milk, chickadees and Cheddar, ice and ice cream...and so on and so forth.
June, the traditional month for celebrating the state's dairy heritage, will also witness a variety of events to honor Wisconsin's State Parks Centennial. (Some parks – High Cliff, Interstate and Kohler-Andrae, to mention three – have cleverly combined the two by hosting special ice cream socials for their centennial celebrations.) You'll want to set aside June 4th for the annual State Parks Open House, with free admission to all Wisconsin State Parks, and free birthday cake, too! June 3-4 is Free Fishing Weekend – when no license is required to fish Wisconsin's waters.
For additional park events in June, see Coming Events at Wisconsin State Parks, Forests and Trails. You'll find more dairy-dos – including the scrumptious "Breakfasts on the Farm" – at TravelWisconsin.com.
DAIRYFEST, Marshfield: Tuck into a dairy breakfast, see the work of 200 art and craft vendors, watch a gigantic parade, and when breakfast wears off, there's a pie and ice cream social. June 2-4. 1-800-422-4541.
GREAT WISCONSIN CHEESE FESTIVAL, Little Chute: Calling all cheeseheads! Cheese curd eating contest, cheese carving, cheese tasting, cheesecake contest, and more. June 2-4, Doyle Park. (920) 788-7390.
POETRY IN THE PARK, Newport State Park: Every Friday evening at 6 p.m. the voices of local bards reading nature-inspired poems and essays will echo off Newport's rocky shores. Bring a blanket and a picnic. June 2 – August 25. (920) 854-2500.
OUTDOOR SKILLS DAY, Governor Dodge State Park: Learn about camping, rock climbing, wildlife rehabilitation, muzzleloading, archery and boating safety. Fishing clinics for adults and kids. June 3. (608) 935-2315.
CENTENNIAL ICE CREAM SOCIAL AND OPEN HOUSE, Kohler-Andrae State Park: Enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social with birthday cake. Special programs, hikes, and movies. Free admission! June 4. (920) 451-4080.
FISH COUNT, Wildcat Mountain State Park: Ready for a "shocking" experience? From 11 a.m. to noon, a DNR fisheries technician will shock Billings Creek to show how fish counts are done and how species are identified. Ice Cave parking lot. June 4. (608) 337-4775.
SETH PETERSON COTTAGE OPEN HOUSE, Mirror Lake State Park: Free tours from 1-4 p.m. of the delightful cottage designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. June 4. (608) 254-2333.
BUTTERFEST, Sparta: Three days of family fun dedicated to America's favorite fat. Large parade on Sunday. June 9-11, Memorial Park. 1-800-354-BIKE.
MOONLIGHT RIDE, Glacial Drumlin State Trail: Starts at 7 p.m. Ride from Deerfield to Cottage Grove, enjoy the Cottage Grove Fireman's Festival, then bike back to Deerfield in the moonlight. June 17, (920) 648-8774.
ICE CREAM FESTIVAL, Menomonee Falls: Utter indulgence – dig into sundaes, splits, floats, and flavors galore. June 24-25, Old Falls Village. 800/801-6565.