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Come June, when the strawberries ripen and the cream flows thick and rich, it's time for PDEs in Wisconsin. You must attend at least one of the massive Public Displays of Eating most every town and village in the state likes to host, or else you'll miss out on one of summer's true delights. After all, when the state's agricultural bounty is at its best, a celebration is surely in order. So loosen the belt buckle, pack up the Pepto-Bismol and the Alka Seltzer, and have a chow down Main Street and environs.
Make your first stop Park Falls; there, on June 16, you're invited to Pig Out & Polka. The menu has yet to be confirmed – TRAVELER suspects hearty sausages and BBQ may star – but the polka bands have been booked and Main Street will be cleared for dancing.
Don't know how to polka? Where are you from? Mars? That's OK...even if you have five legs, three arms and one eye, someone in Park Falls can show you the steps. Holding down your dinner while twirling your partner, you'll just have to learn on your own. See Price County or call 1-800-762-2709.
The Wisconsin tradition of the dairy breakfast begins in June and carries on throughout the summer. Held on farms across the state, dairy breakfasts showcase the quality milk, cheeses, eggs, meats and baked goods produced nearby. Warning: Portions hearken back to a time when a body could actually consume that much food and burn it off doing farm chores before noon. The Burnett County Dairy Breakfast, on June 17 in the Grantsburg area, features Uncle Jack's wild rice pancakes, savory ham, fresh fruit syrups, juice and loads of fresh milk. This year it's hosted a mile north of Webster. Follow State Road 35 to County A to Krause Road, then follow the Dairy Breakfast Cow Signs. Kids will enjoy the petting zoo. (715) 327-8861. At the Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast in Wheatland, also on June 17, feasters will enjoy country omelets made fresh in six-foot fry pans and delicious Danish pastries. (262) 878-5271. For details on other dairy breakfasts, visit Wisconsin Cheese – and while you're there, be sure to peruse the Cheesecyclopedia.
When plump, sun-ripened strawberries are in season, the folks in Waupaca take note. The town's Strawberry Fest, June 16-21, is one berry big blow-out. Consume strawberry shortcake to your heart's content, and when you're done, have a slice of strawberry pie. See Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce or call 1-888-417-4040 for a schedule of events. Cedarburg celebrates its 21st Annual Strawberry Festival on June 24-25. Indulge in strawberry crepes, strawberry slush, strawberry schaum torte, chocolate-covered strawberries, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Go to Festivals of Cedarburg or call 1-800-237-2874.
If strawberries don't satisfy your sweet tooth, there's always Two Rivers, where Ice Cream Sundae Thursday, June 22, honors the birthplace of the famous soda fountain treat. The dishing begins at 5:30 p.m. (920) 793-5590. don't care to dine alone? Feast with the Beasts on June 17 at Madison's Henry Vilas Zoo. While the monkeys, lemurs, giraffes and ostriches look on, restaurateurs from around the city prepare specialties including Thai, Jamaican, Italian and Greek foods for human delectation. See Henry Vilas Zoo or call (608) 266-4732.
Savor Wisconsin's many flavors at the 17th Annual Chequamegon Chef's Exhibition, June 15 in La Pointe, Madeline Island. The tasting extravaganza features Chequamegon Bay's best restaurants, recipes and chefs. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door; tickets purchased in advance include complimentary passenger ferry fare. Visit Madeline Island or call 1-888-475-3386 for details.