MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus:         Newsletters 
Sunday, November 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
Collapse Photo Bar

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?

Brat Fest's steady decline into trashy carnivaldom.

Postby Cory Schmidt » Mon May 28, 2007 9:24 pm

Maybe since I've hit 30 I've become nostalgic and cranky but...

Am I the only one that MUCH prefered Brat Fest when it was in the Hilldale parking lot in front of Sentry? You know, back when you would get a few brats and a soda and sit at nicer tables with umbrellas and maybe hear a little live music.


Now you go, drive around forever in a huge parking lot with other drivers that think that they are the only ones there just to find a parking spot. Once you are parked you still need to walk about 1/4-1/2 a mile (dodging the oblivious asshats in their cars) to get to the entrance of Brat Fest. Once there you are assaulted with blaring music from truck mounted speakers, trashy carnival rides (and the folk that go along with them) and crappy cover bands on one of those semis that turns into a stage. Then you have to make your way through the crowd for another 200 yards or so to get in line at the brat tent.

When you order (from a "celebrity" server - usually someone on city council or other such position) you are given a large plastic bag no matter how many brats you order - 10 brats, you get a bag - 1 brat, you get a bag. Then you can shuffle through the crowd and wait in line for condiments while other people sit there slowly and painstakingly dress up their brats as if they're in their own kitchen.

I've bithced to my wife about it every year since they moved to the Alliant Energy Center area. Her advice, "Then don't go." was always good but I always broke down and went anyway. This year I relaized that the hassle and atmosphere are not worth getting a couple of semi-cheap brats - even if the money does go toward charity. BratFest 2008 will not be seeing me.
Cory Schmidt
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:52 pm

Re: Brat Fest's steady decline into trashy carnivaldom.

Postby universitylad » Mon May 28, 2007 9:44 pm

Cory Schmidt wrote:Maybe since I've hit 30 I've become nostalgic and cranky but...

Am I the only one that MUCH prefered Brat Fest when it was in the Hilldale parking lot in front of Sentry? You know, back when you would get a few brats and a soda and sit at nicer tables with umbrellas and maybe hear a little live music.


Now you go, drive around forever in a huge parking lot with other drivers that think that they are the only ones there just to find a parking spot. Once you are parked you still need to walk about 1/4-1/2 a mile (dodging the oblivious asshats in their cars) to get to the entrance of Brat Fest. Once there you are assaulted with blaring music from truck mounted speakers, trashy carnival rides (and the folk that go along with them) and crappy cover bands on one of those semis that turns into a stage. Then you have to make your way through the crowd for another 200 yards or so to get in line at the brat tent.

When you order (from a "celebrity" server - usually someone on city council or other such position) you are given a large plastic bag no matter how many brats you order - 10 brats, you get a bag - 1 brat, you get a bag. Then you can shuffle through the crowd and wait in line for condiments while other people sit there slowly and painstakingly dress up their brats as if they're in their own kitchen.

I've bithced to my wife about it every year since they moved to the Alliant Energy Center area. Her advice, "Then don't go." was always good but I always broke down and went anyway. This year I relaized that the hassle and atmosphere are not worth getting a couple of semi-cheap brats - even if the money does go toward charity. BratFest 2008 will not be seeing me.


Sentry should have smaller Brat Frys in their parking lot throught the summer. I'd walk over a good brat just about any Saturday or Sunday. In northern Wisconsin, it seems that many grocery stores have local charities running brat and hot dog stands outside their door mainly just for their customers.
universitylad
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2002 6:36 pm

Re: Brat Fest's steady decline into trashy carnivaldom.

Postby Cory Schmidt » Mon May 28, 2007 9:47 pm

universitylad wrote:Sentry should have smaller Brat Frys in their parking lot throught the summer. I'd walk over a good brat just about any Saturday or Sunday. In northern Wisconsin, it seems that many grocery stores have local charities running brat and hot dog stands outside their door mainly just for their customers.


I agree. It would probably be harder logistically (I'm not even sure the new Hilldale Mall owners would allow it) and it wouldn't get the big "once a year" coverage that it currently does but I can guarantee that they would seel more brats to me throughout the year than they do with the current arrangement.
Cory Schmidt
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:52 pm

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon May 28, 2007 10:57 pm

Waah waah waah. I want my festivals to be exactly how I want them, and I don't want them to be popular and I don't want them to get big and I don't want them to CHANGE DAMMIT.

How did you describe the people in the parking lot? Self-centered and oblivious?

I didn't get a bag with my two brats and my SO's two hot dogs and our shared Mountain Dew. I didn't wait more than a minute for condiments. I sure as hell had to wait longer when the Fest was at Hilldale. And you do realize that the "celebrity" servers are nothing new, right?

Have you ever gone to a grocery store brat fry? Probably not, because if you had, you wouldn't call $1.50 "semi-cheap" (tell me where you can get 'em cheaper), you wouldn't complain about the condiments (want something more than ketchup and pickle relish? There's a grocery store right over there pal), and you wouldn't deride getting a bag now and then (or do you like trying to wrangle one of those cardboard trays? at least you can reuse a plastic bag).

I was happier with my brats this year than I have been in the five years I've been in Madison. Yeah, it's bigger and glammier. So what? That means it's a success. It's not your backyard. It's an event. BOO FRIGGING HOO if you don't like other people being there.
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8404
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Postby Bwis53 » Mon May 28, 2007 11:36 pm

I went today, around lunch time. I was surprised at how crowded it was, for the third day. There was about a 15 minute wait for the brat, a less time for the condiments. People take forever to dress their dog, just like Starbucks, I feel like asking them what they're cooking, that they're taking so long.Johnsonville Brats are good though. The crowd and hot sun made me feel wilty, so I left as I was eating the brat, too turned off to sniff out the icecream. Here I thought my brat would put them over the mark...

there sure was a lot of porkers...
Bwis53
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6416
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:39 pm
Location: Bay Creek

Postby ShaneDog » Tue May 29, 2007 12:12 am

Wow, you sure are whiny. I biked, and the nice bike valet people helped me find a spot in 2 seconds. I bought 2 brats from a boy scout or something and was able to get them without a bag. The cover bands I heard did a pretty good job covering Bon Jovi and whatever other 80's hair metal bands they were singing and even though that's not really my scene it was nice to have music. The carnival rides were fun, and scary and well worth the $3 or whatever I paid. Maybe you need to relax a bit and just try to enjoy yourself.
ShaneDog
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4296
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2002 2:46 pm
Location: E Wash

Postby depinmad » Tue May 29, 2007 7:48 am

why is it quantity over quality? would it be some sort of heresy to offer some of the more interesting brat varieties available these days like chicken and apple brats, etc?
i mean when you go to a beerfest you don't expect 25 booths all serving nothing but bud light, do you?
depinmad
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2062
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 9:17 am

Postby JMH » Tue May 29, 2007 8:16 am

depinmad wrote:why is it quantity over quality? would it be some sort of heresy to offer some of the more interesting brat varieties available these days like chicken and apple brats, etc?
i mean when you go to a beerfest you don't expect 25 booths all serving nothing but bud light, do you?


Maybe it has something to do with them trying to break their own record every year. Has to be one kind of brat or something. I'm only used to one type anyway so I never really noticed before.

As to the topic at hand, I miss the old Bratfest as well. I went the first year they held it at Alliant and I just wasn't into it as much; haven't been back since. It once had the feeling of being a fun local/neighborhood event but I don't get that vibe from it anymore. Of course, at this rate it'll be moved to the Summerfest grounds before too long, and then we'll all be lamenting that it's gotten too big.
JMH
Senior Member
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:04 pm

Postby shelly » Tue May 29, 2007 8:52 am

I like it at the new location. At Hilldale, it seemed like people would just drive up and get their two dozen brats to freeze and drive off. Now, at Alliant, people stay and hang out. I like the carnival and the bands, even if I don't ride the rides or watch the band play. Some cotton candy would be nice.... I also like how the Madison Marathon ends at bratfest, that is a nice synergy.

We rode out bikes over Sunday, had a brat ( or in my case a veggie brat, guess I don't contribute to their total #) and a pepsi and then just hung out for a while.

Now it seems like more of a destination and less of a drive-thru.
shelly
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:10 am

Postby TAsunder » Tue May 29, 2007 9:04 am

depinmad wrote:why is it quantity over quality? would it be some sort of heresy to offer some of the more interesting brat varieties available these days like chicken and apple brats, etc?
i mean when you go to a beerfest you don't expect 25 booths all serving nothing but bud light, do you?


I asked my friends the same exact question using the same exact analogy of beerfest and it seems to fall on deaf ears. There are some good brats not made by johnsonville. The old fashioned cooks one that's made in sheboygan I believe.

I can't wait for cheesefest 2007 where all you can get are kraft single serve slices of american cheese.
TAsunder
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4783
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 1:21 pm
Location: Near East Side, Madison

Postby gargantua » Tue May 29, 2007 9:19 am

Funny thing, I've lived in Madison my entire life....in fact for much of it lived not far from Hilldale, and I have never once gone to this thing.

It's not like I've even made a point of it. Maybe next year, just to see what I've been missing.
gargantua
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4291
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:30 pm
Location: Madison

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue May 29, 2007 9:24 am

TAsunder wrote:There are some good brats not made by johnsonville. The old fashioned cooks one that's made in sheboygan I believe.

Johnsonville donated 150,000 brats to the festival. Until the makers of "good brats" can match that offer, it's going to be Johnsonville from now on.

I don't mind the Alliant Center location, as Ms Vilas and I can walk there from our abode - about a four mile round trip. Helps to burn off the fat calories from the brats. Ms Vilas had the veggie brat while I had the one for carnivores.

A couple minor corrections to some previous posts: It starts on a Friday, so Monday is the fourth day of the fest. And in the past, it was held twice a year: Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.
Last edited by Henry Vilas on Tue May 29, 2007 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
Henry Vilas
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 20150
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Name sez it all

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue May 29, 2007 9:26 am

TAsunder wrote:
depinmad wrote:why is it quantity over quality? would it be some sort of heresy to offer some of the more interesting brat varieties available these days like chicken and apple brats, etc?
i mean when you go to a beerfest you don't expect 25 booths all serving nothing but bud light, do you?


I asked my friends the same exact question using the same exact analogy of beerfest and it seems to fall on deaf ears. There are some good brats not made by johnsonville. The old fashioned cooks one that's made in sheboygan I believe.

I can't wait for cheesefest 2007 where all you can get are kraft single serve slices of american cheese.


It's not a cuisine event. It's KITSCH. It's fucking Americana. The fact that they offer Boca brats is only necessitated by being located in Madison. If you want interesting sausages, buy 'em yourself. If you want variety, go to a meat market.

I can't believe this needs to be stated explicitly....

NOT ALL FOOD/DRINK FESTS ARE THE SAME.

Good lord, people, if you don't like it the way it is now, why would you ever have liked it in the past?
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8404
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue May 29, 2007 9:28 am

zapped for revisionist history
Last edited by TheBookPolice on Tue May 29, 2007 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8404
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue May 29, 2007 9:30 am

TheBookPolice wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:it's not just once a year. The next will be over the Labor Day weekend.


It's coming back? When/where was this announced?

I've corrected my post. It used to be twice a year, but I think they dropped the Labor Day weekend brat fest.
Henry Vilas
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 20150
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Name sez it all

Next

Return to Town Vibe

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR
Created with flickr badge.

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar