This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Saturday, October 1
There is nothing like eating someone else's chili to give you ideas about how to improve your own. Make the lovely fall drive to Monroe for a Chili Cook-Off -- that's right, forego the Limburger sandwich just this once. A benefit for the Monroe Youth Hockey Association, this 20th annual competition starts early, and includes categories for traditional, non-traditional, showmanship, and people's choice chilis. You sample, then you vote in the People's Choice Awards . Plus, there are salsa and apple pie contests, as well as food vendors and live music! How can you stay at home? Seriously! Historic Courthouse Square, 1016 16th Ave., Monroe, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 608-328-4023 for more info.
Plenty of information and tastings of an increasing number of gluten-free products will be available at the Gluten-Free Food Fair hosted by Metcalfe's Market. There will be talks by nutritionists and authors, along with food samples from more than a dozen vendors. Hilldale Shopping Center, 702 N. Midvale Blvd., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free. Call 238-7612 for more info.
While Wisconsin has no shortage of bratwurst-themed festivals, this is the first World's Best Brat Competition we've noticed. It's sly Watertown that's come up with the idea for this festival, now in its second year. Northern Trails Meats, Johnsonville, Usinger's, Trig's Smokehouse, Festival Foods and others will vie for titles in three categories: traditional, non-traditional, and alternative. And as true Cheeseheads, we know that not all brats are created equal. Admission includes samples of bratwurst being cooked for the competition, with whole sausages also available for purchase. Watertown Municipal Airport, 1741 River Dr., Watertown, 1-7 p.m., $ admission. See Facebook, and call 920-262-8399 x.101 for more info.
More events this week
Tuesday, September 27
Sauk Prairie Farmers' Market, concluding its Tuesday edition for the 2011 growing season in a green space across from the Blue Spoon Cafe. 500 block of Water Street, Prairie du Sac, 4-7 p.m. Call 608-643-4168 for more info.
Wine & Choice, the eighth annual fundraiser for NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, featuring wine, beer, cheese, and chocolate tastings, along with awards presentations, hosted by Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser and Nancy Risser. 100 Wisconsin Ave., #501, 5:30-7:30 p.m., $50. Call 287-0016 for more info.
Wednesday, September 28
Thursday, September 29
Cooking it All: Menu Planning & Techniques for a High Vegetable Diet, a workshop hosted by the Madison Area CSA Coalition to provide recipes, tips, and techniques for using veggies from a sample CSA share. Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, 1501 Gilbert Rd., 6-8 p.m., $15. Call 226-0300 for more info.
Author talk, with Capital Brewery founder Ed Janus discussing his new book Creating Dairyland: How Cows Made Wisconsin, which explores 150 years of bovine agriculture in the Badger State. Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd, 7 p.m., free. Call 266-6385 for more info.
Body Basics: Digestible Nuts and Seeds class, wwith instructors Teri Klas and Brittany Sandoval covering how to prepare fermented seed yogurts and cheeses, nut milks, and crispy snacks. Willy Street Co-op East, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $8 owners and $18 all others. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Friday, September 30
Cambridge Farmers' Market, concluding for the 2011 growing season. Veterans Park, Main St. between Spring and Park, 2-7 p.m. Call 847-269-6515 for more info.
Screening of Dirt! The Movie, a 2009 documentary by by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow that "tells the story of Earth's most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility -- from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation." Ashman Library, 733 N. High Point Rd., 7 p.m., free. Call 824-1780 for more info.
Screening of Hot Coffee, a 2011 documentary by Susan Saladoff about a quarter-century long corporate campaign "to put limits on people's access to the court system," centered on the story behind the Liebeck vs. McDonald's Restaurants product liability lawsuit. Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St., 7 p.m., free. Call 257-5741 for more info.
Saturday, October 1
Center Color Fest, an annual community festival in Richland Center, featuring the third annual "Rockin' Grape Stomp" at Weggy Winery, a chili and cornbread meal at the Pine River Market & Cafe, the Doudna PTO brat stand at Oakwood Fruit Farm, a pig roast, historic tours, garage sales, a horseshoe tournament, the "Wheels of Time" antique car show, live music, and more. Richland Center, multiple locations, all day Saturday and Sunday. Call 608-647-6205 for more info.
Sauk Prairie Farmers' Market, concluding its Saturday edition for the 2011 growing season. Historical Park, 726 Water St., Sauk City, 8 a.m.-noon. Call 608-643-4168 for more info.
Co-op Connection, the inaugural community celebration highlighting member-owned and -controlled businesses, featuring free food samples, live music, children's activities, and more. Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., 9 a.m.-2 p.m., free admission. Call 243-5000 for more info.
Mount Horeb Fall Heritage Festival, an annual community celebration, featuring the eighth annual Vennelag 513 Høst Frokost, a farmers' market and food vendors, a pumpkin decorating contest, an arts and crafts show, history and heritage demonstrations, auctions and raffles, and more. Mount Horeb, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Call 608-437-5914 for more info.
Step Into the Past Rendezvous, the sixth annual historical re-enactment and encampment hosted by the Blue Mounds Historical Society, featuring black powder and fur trading era displays and demonstrations, food vendors, children's activities, and more. Brigham Park, 3160 County Rd. F, Blue Mounds, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $4 individual or $10 family donation. Call 608-561-1832 for more info.
Pagan Pride Day, the 14th annual community and religious celebration, featuring a donation drive for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, the Merchant Circle, workshops, rituals, live music, children's activities, and more. Lakeview Park, 6300 Mendota Ave., Middleton, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free. Call 467-2655 for more info.
"International" Ham Dinner, an annual fundraiser for Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church, featuring a menu of "down home" fare, along with a bazaar and bake sale. Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church, 3705 N. Sherman Ave., 4:30-7 p.m., $9. Call 244-3845 for more info.
Sunday, October 2
Dogtoberfest, an annual fundraiser for the Dane County Humane Society, featuring food and beer, hot dog eating and dog costume contests, live music, and more. Capital Brewery, 7734 Terrace Ave., Middleton, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 donation. Call 838-0413 x.118 for more info.
Monday, October 3
The Fall Harvest and Garden class, with instructors Megan Cain and Claire Strader of Madison FarmWorks at Troy Community Farm covering season-end gardening topics of harvesting, overwintered vegetables, post-harvest preservation, cover crops and mulch, and more. Willy Street Co-op East, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 owners and $25 all others. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Screening of The Meaning of Tea, a 2008 documentary by Scott Chamberlin Hoyt that "celebrates the history, rituals, spirituality and simple pure enjoyment of tea through the eyes of tea lovers from many places around the world." Willy Street Co-op West, 6825 University Ave., Middleton, 7 p.m., free. Call 284-7800 for more info.