Since 1851, the Wisconsin State Fair has annually showcased the state's finest resources, stuffed fairgoers with an aromatic selection of world-class foods, and entertained guests with live bands and terrifying tractor flyovers. In between hot-stepping to the Steve Meisner Polka Band on August 9 and singing along to "Cracklin' Rosie" with Eric Ebert's Tribute to Neil Diamond on August 11, fair browsers will get their choice of day to frolic manfully among a ton of food stalls, games, thrill rides, outdoor events, interactive activities, and competitions. If your trio of the fair's famous cream puffs—whose airy creaminess is just as legendary in this reality as it is in alternate realities where Wisconsin won the Civil War—doesn't fill you up completely, test your gut's maximum occupancy with August 9's brat-eating contest (4 p.m.), which is best washed down beforehand with the root-beer-float-drinking contest (3 p.m.). Kids, meanwhile, can plummet down the fair's 200-foot giant slide, take splatter-art to messy new places at the Kohl's Color Wheel, or watch the state's fastest pigs race for the coveted frosted oatmeal cookie.
The friendly clothing cleansers at Martinizing Dry Cleaning have been scrubbing the enrobements of southeastern Wisconsinians for more than 40 years. The noble employees will confront any stain with strong words and all the dirt-scattering ammo in their arsenal, ensuring your garments return to you soft, clean, and smelling like pastoral Latvian pancake houses. Sweat-soaked blouses ($8.03), mud-caked slacks ($8.04), butter-drenched bedspreads (starting at $24.31), and your beloved sea-water-doused prom jumpsuit ($21.30) will be cleaned, freshly dried, and folded into neat origami ostriches. The Department of Natural Resources–partnered environmental dry cleaner will bestow upon you the freshly cleaned garments on recycled hangers, enclosed in recycled bags.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Most of K Komfort's technicians and engineers draw on more than a quarter-century of experience in improving indoor air quality and lowering energy bills. Having witnessed the evolution of heating and cooling technology, the crew deftly repairs old furnaces and installs efficient, new air-conditioner systems with techniques learned in NARI continuing-education programs. HEPA-approved equipment clears ductwork of pesky particles that cause asthma, allergies, and dinnertime interruptions by nuclear physicists, and filtration systems help maintain fresh air once technicians are out of the picture. Their preferred brand is Carrier, but the service truck is stocked with a library of parts from other manufacturers so maintenance often can be completed in one visit.
When a baby room takes the place of a man cave, once-cherished leather couches and entertainment centers often wind up curbside, waiting for their ride to the landfill. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore saves furniture from an untimely demise and stocks new and used building materials, using the proceeds to help to create affordable homes for the city's low-income families. Manufacturers, businesses, contractors, and individuals regularly stop in to donate a variety of items ranging from caulk to file cabinets to paintbrushes. The mostly volunteer staff at ReStore spent 2010 keeping more than 730,000 pounds of usable supplies out of landfills and trash mountains.