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Brat Fest's steady decline into trashy carnivaldom.

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Postby fisticuffs » Tue May 29, 2007 4:55 pm

Seriously. Did you leave the house this weekend or did you sit at home reading "Consider the Lobster".
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Postby universitylad » Tue May 29, 2007 5:39 pm

jjoyce wrote:
On the subject of Johnsonville brats: I consult regularly with a good friend who lives in lower Manhattan. He would unquestionably fight someone right now for a freshly grilled Johnsonville brat on a white bun with yellow mustard. Yes, the gourmet brats they make on-premise at Jacobson's are good and so is the wasabi-tinged mustard you can only get at Barriques, etc., etc. Nothing is more reliable when you're having people over than Johnsonville. Perfect.


My favorite brats are Miesfeld brats from Sheboygan. I believe they may now be available at Woodmans. My mom and I once drove several hours to Sheboygan to pick up brats for a family reunion. There were a hit.

I think they were even mentioned in the NY Times a few years ago.


http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=940DE3DF173CF930A25750C0A96E948260
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Postby square » Tue May 29, 2007 6:16 pm

i really like bratfest. i never made it over to hilldale's, so i dont know if i'm qualified to speak on this, since the original intention was to bash the new location versus the old, but i went with some friends and one of my friend's 10 year old, and we all had a great time. i got a boca, the 10 year old had a hot dog, the rest of us enjoyed brats and sodas. i don't mind the price increase, since it all goes to charity anyway. i was surprised at the carny rides, and at first i was annoyed, but when my friend's child wanted to do the rides, i was pretty happy they were there. they made the day of one kid, so why not keep them there? and i might have liked to have seen the view from the top of the ferris wheel. so, why not, right?
i live on campus, and go to school here, so i relish the opportunity to see what madison really is. if you stick to state street, the square, and campus, life sure looks pretty homogeneous. but go to the mall or a festival like this and it really reminds me that there is the real world lurking around the corner. i like that. it keeps me humble and in tune with what really happens in madison. i think this is a good experience for everyone, as annoying as the crowds can be.
so if you really wanna rag on a charity event, go ahead. start your own quality sausage festival. i hear labor day is open. you could hold it on top of the hilldale parking structures, wouldn't that be fun?
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Postby white_rabbit » Tue May 29, 2007 7:03 pm

square wrote:I really like bratfest. I never made it over to Hilldale's, so I dont know if I'm qualified to speak on this, since the original intention was to bash the new location versus the old, but I went with some friends and one of my friend's 10 year old, and we all had a great time. I got a Boca, the 10 year old had a hot dog, the rest enjoyed brats and sodas. I don't mind the price increase, since it all goes to charity anyway. I was surprised at the carny rides, and at first I was annoyed, but when my friend's child wanted to do the rides, I was pretty happy they were there. They made the day of one kid, so why not keep them there? I might have liked to have seen the view from the top of the ferris wheel. So, why not, right?

I live on campus, and go to school here, so I relish the opportunity to see what madison really is. If you stick to state street, the square, and campus, life sure looks pretty homogeneous. But go to the mall or a festival like this and it really reminds me that there is the real world lurking around the corner. I like that. It keeps me humble and in tune with what really happens in madison. I think this is a good experience for everyone, as annoying as the crowds can be.

So if you really wanna rag on a charity event, go ahead. Start your own quality sausage festival. I hear labor day is open. You could hold it on top of the Hilldale parking structures, wouldn't that be fun?


I helped with your problem with proper use of capital letters and paragraph spacing. It makes your post so much easier to read. By the way, what school do you go to?
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Postby lysander » Tue May 29, 2007 7:52 pm

Having been to both the 'old' bratfest and the 'new and improved' bratfest, I'll cast my vote for the new one.

Hilldale was too crowded. The setup at Willow Island is much more efficient. I didn't really check out the bands or go on any rides, but I can see how they help attract people and make it more than a brat distribution system. It was cool that the Mustard Museum had a booth, and the try-a-kayak thing was a good idea too.

Of course, it was a holiday weekend event with the word 'fest' in the name, held outside. So of course there will be lots of overweight middle-aged white folks waddling around, kids on sugar highs running and screaming, and people coming to a dead stop right in front of you on the walkway. Basically, a festival. I'm sure that later in the day, Shirtless Drunks appeared as well. None of this really bothers me, though, because I wasn't expecting an upscale gourmet sausage-tasting event. (I was expecting brat buns instead of those shitty little hotdog buns, but whatever...)

It does a good job being what it is: a cheap good time that raises money for a bunch of charities and gives the local news outlets a "fun for the whole family" story.
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Postby Paco » Tue May 29, 2007 8:00 pm

There's something unpalatable about standing around in a parking lot eating cheap brats and drinking coke/beer. Unless it's Miller Park, there are better places to be. I prefer Alliant though I've only been there last year. I did wish they had more picnic tables though, it would be nice to sit down--not sure if it was fixed this year.

It's a good place to take a family, how many places in this city can you take out and feed the whole family for $10-$15. Now I just need a family.
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Postby buckyor » Tue May 29, 2007 9:32 pm

wolfsbane wrote:I don't know how anyone could expect anything but misery when attending any "fest" such as this. I avoid them completely. For a good short read on the subject, try "Consider the Lobster" by David Foster Wallace.


I may have missed the bratfest, but I was able to stay at home and consider my own lobster this weekend.

:shock:

I mean the kind you steam in a pot, and serve with a side of potatoes and corn. Memorial Day weekend in Maine.
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Postby square » Wed May 30, 2007 5:35 am

white_rabbit wrote:By the way, what school do you go to?


lapham elementary. they told me the quality of my posts on the daily page was more important than the capitalization. clearly, i was wrong.
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Postby Stomach » Wed May 30, 2007 7:44 am

square wrote:start your own quality sausage festival.


Like Ozzfest or a Joe Satriani/Government Mule concert?
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Postby jjoyce » Wed May 30, 2007 9:10 am

Stomach wrote:Joe Satriani


Dude, Satch?

Quick story: My soph. year roommate was a HUGE fan of KISS, and I'm not talking about the good KISS, either. He particularly enjoyed the albums made without makeup, sans Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Whatever. I mocked him for it and he countered with his appreciation for Satriani, as though nobody could possibly impeach the viruosity of "Satch."

He thought my Van Morrison CDs sounded like "church music." He was from Stevens Point.
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Postby Meph » Wed May 30, 2007 9:55 am

I have been to both locations and I must agree with the original post that the Hilldale location was better. I used to be a big fan of Bratfest, but driving to Alliant for a brat is just a hassle. The Alliant location is quite unfriendly to foot traffic and has little to no close residental areas. This means that everyone has to drive there. I am not saying it has to go back to Hilldale, but the Alliant location is quite bad.

The numbers are down too. This year was 31,767 brats short of the record of 189,432 set back in 2004 at the Hilldale location.
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Postby lukpac » Wed May 30, 2007 9:57 am

Meph wrote:The Alliant location is quite unfriendly to foot traffic and has little to no close residental areas.


The Bay Creek neighborhood would beg to differ.
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Postby fisticuffs » Wed May 30, 2007 10:26 am

How does that help the people who can't walk to Hilldale which I would think would be a very large majority. The parking at Alliant was ample so for those of us who can't walk there, which again is almost everybody no matter where you hold it, Alliant has to be a better location. I could personally do without Hilldale all together. Nothing but snobby shops I have no interest in in a part of town I never visit.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Wed May 30, 2007 10:41 am

Meph wrote:The Alliant location is quite unfriendly to foot traffic and has little to no close residental areas. This means that everyone has to drive there.

Not everyone. I live in the Vilas area and I walked there, and I'm pushing 60. Dude, I think you need some exercise.
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Postby fisticuffs » Wed May 30, 2007 10:45 am

Besides that there's lots of grass and some water to chill by quite a bit nicer on a nice day than sitting in a parking lot.
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