The coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, September 29
Madison finds itself at the center of the Milky Way every autumn at the World Dairy Expo, a colossal confab dedicated to cows. Some 70,000 dairy industry reps from around the world congregate in town for the convention. Its programming includes equipment and technology exhibits, dairy cattle competitions, auctions, and more. Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Energy Center Way, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday, $8 per day or $25 for the week. Call 244-6455 for more info.
Wednesday, September 30
Michael Pollan is the focus of another book discussion in Monona this evening. This particular dialogue focuses on the entirety of the author's oeuvre, as opposed to the single-book focus of the recent UW community reading program. Monona Library, 1000 Nichols Rd., 6:30 p.m., free.
Thursday, October 1
Go Big Read continues at UW-Madison with Wisconsin Farmers: What To Eat, a panel discussion on Michael Pollan's writings hosted by the university's agroecology program and featuring industry perspectives on food and farming. Speakers include reps of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Organic Valley Co-op, and the state Board of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; more details are provided in a , which focuses on sustainable research programs. UW Chamberlin Hall, 1150 University Ave., 4 p.m.
Big Beer Paired with Big Cheese tasting this evening. The menu includes Roquefort paired with a bourbon barrel aged stout to a high-alpine Gruyere paired with a Belgian Brown. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 6:30-8 p.m., $40 (advance payment required). Call 255-2430 for reservations.
Friday, October 2
Metcalfe's at Hilldale is holding a Gluten-Free Food Fair today. Free samples of gluten-free products will be offered, including Arico Cookies & Chips, Boar's Head Deli Meats & Cheeses, Bob's Red Mill Products, Conte's Pizza, Silly Yak Bakery, and Wild Garden Hummus. Metcalfe's Sentry, 726 N. Midvale Blvd., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free.
Evansville gets in on the seasonal fun with the Harvest Windmill Festival, its weekend-long toast to autumn. The celebration features a bike tour of community windmills, live music, a craft show, and kids' activities, as well as a farmers' market, Wisconsin wine and cheese tastings, and other noshing opportunities with the obligatory focus on local sourcing. Evansville, corner of Union and Main streets, 6 p.m.-midnight on Friday, 8 a.m.-midnight on Saturday, noon-6 p.m. on Sunday, free. Call 608-882-0598 for more info.
Saturday, October 3
This may be the off-year for Cheese Days, but there is still the Chili Cook-Off in Monroe this autumn. This 18th annual festival is centered on hot bowls of competition, but also includes live music, a craft sale, a scarecrow contest, motorcycle and tractor displays, and a brand new apple pie baking contest. Courthouse Square, Monroe, 7 a.m.-8 p.m., $2 bowl (and $20 to enter chili). Call 328-4023 for more info.
The AppleFest. This event is a fundraiser for the organization and its mission of providing services to seniors living on the north and east sides of the city, and includes a craft fair, a used books sale, kids' activities, a bake sale, and an apple sale with free fresh-pressed cider. Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Dr., 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., $2 and kids under 12 free. Call 243-5252 for more info.
Venture outside the inner ring of the Capitol Square and stop by the Fromagination Oktoberfest. This special farmers' market day tasting will feature European-style cheeses and other artisinal treats hosted by Stephen McKeon of Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free.
Celebrate Oktoberfest by the liter at the city's iconic German restaurant. German food, märzen-style beer, live music, and dancing are each essential components of the party. Essen Haus, 514 E. Wilson St., noon, no cover.
More than 75 beers made by 35 breweries from around the world will be on tap at the Quivey's Grove Beer Fest this afternoon. This 16th annual tasting party also features eats from an outdoor smoke roaster and live music; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Madison Metro Jaycees. Quivey's Grove, 6261 Nesbitt Rd., noon-5 p.m. $32.50. Call 273-4900 for more info.
Save some stomach room today for the Monona Pie Party, a fundraiser for the Monona Library's Early Literacy Program. Bakers are encouraged to submit a pair of their best, with one pie sliced for tasting and judging, and the other offered up for a silent auction. See Monona Library, 1000 Nichols Rd., 1-5 p.m., $10 donation. Call 222-6127 for more info.
The Madison Mallards celebrate the bittersweet final month of baseball today with Ducktoberfest, a day-long on-field Bavarian-style celebration of beer and brats at the Duck Pond. Activities include bingo, carnival games, a horseshoe tournament, roving accordion players, polka, and get this, dachshund races. The menu is heavy and decidedly German, with Spanferkel (a pig roast), Spaetzle, assorted German sausages, including Stoddard's bratwurst, and, of course, beer, with the tapping of the keg at the start of the party. Warner Park Duck Pond, 2920 N. Sherman Ave., 2-8 p.m., $5.
Sunday, October 4
Indulge in some Sunday morning coffee for a good cause at Java Jive, a tasting that is the signature annual fundraiser for the Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave., 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., $25. Call 251-5126 for more info.
The Old World German Dinner in recognition of Oktoberfest. The menu includes spatzle, sauerbraten, knackwurst with sauerkraut, roast pork loin with beer sauce, Black Forest cake, apple strudel, and more, all accompanied by German music. Club Tavern, 1915 Branch St., 3 p.m., $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Call 836-8235 for more tickets and more info.
The food preservation workshop this afternoon. Its purpose: to "extend the local food season" of fruits and veggies via freezing, a particularly appropriate storage technique for the long winter. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 4:30 p.m., $5. Call 226-0300 for more info.
The Madison Area Vegetarian Meetup Group is throwing a Vegan Pizza Party, complete with vegan garlic bread, salad from the Willy Street Co-op, vegan treats from Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 6 p.m., $14.