COVID-19 is forcing the Wisconsin State Fair to cancel its annual rite of summer for the first time since 1945.
But it is not stopping organizers from creating something special this summer, as they’ve created the largest drive-in restaurant in the state – or more accurately, a drive-in food hall.
“We shifted our focus. We had to move to innovative thinking. What can we do? How can we still bring joy back, something back to people who are going to go without their favorites all summer long?” State Fair CEO Kathleen O’Leary told WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi Thursday.
“A little slice, maybe a little puff of happiness, a way to get people excited, give them a bit of the fair experience.”
Each of the next four weekends will give Fair fans the chance to drive onto the Milwaukee Mile through Gate 9 on 76th Street and make pit stops at six of 11 Fair vendors. Each will take your order and deliver your food back to your car.
This week, the menu includes everything from cheese curds and corn dogs – traditional staples of the fair – to deep-fried Snickers and pickle pizza.
“This is 16 days of uncharted waters. I have the most incredible staff that are innovative thinkers, but this is different,” said O’Leary.
“We want the fair-goers to be happy. We want our vendors to be happy.”
For those asking about cream puffs, they will be part of the event – in week three, two weeks from today.
The schedule for week one:
– Thursday, July 23, 4pm – 8pm
– Friday, July 24, 11am – 8pm
– Saturday, July 25, 11am – 8pm
– Sunday, July 26, 11am – 6pm