Milwaukee’s only women’s tackle-football team, the Wisconsin Dragons supply hard-hitting action for sports fans of all ages. The team faces a quartet of worthy opponents in four home games this season, bringing precise passes, forceful tackles, and footwork fancier than that of Fred Astaire's pet peacock. The included Dragons bandana keeps ardent fans stylishly supportive and doubles as a convenient wipe for excitement-generated sweat droplets.
Since 1960, the nonprofit Sunset Playhouse has grown and flourished alongside the community who helped build it, paying them dividends in lively musicals and family-friendly classics. In Craig Lucas’s Prelude to a Kiss, Rita and Peter’s seemingly perfect wedding takes a turn as unexpected as the end of Titanic, when a mysterious old man interrupts the celebration to request a kiss from the bride. The gesture causes their souls to trade places, leaving Peter to unknowingly take a total stranger on a honeymoon. As the groom realizes his error, he seeks out his beloved, who is now trapped in an aged body, forcing the couple to navigate through unexpected challenges involving commitment, physical appearance, and arguments over how much to tip at Denny's.
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.
More than 20,000 pounds of cod, perch, walleye, and more from several local restaurants will be hungrily consumed at Milwaukee's Largest Fish Fry. Fish will be sold in 3 oz. portions (starting at $3 each), so festival goers should have plenty of stomach space to sample the sea-fare from 15+ restaurants, including Serb Hall, Trysting Place Pub, Major Goolsby's, and Weissgerber Gasthaus. In addition to admission, each ticket gives fish fanatics a host of complimentary sides to nosh on in between building cod-consisting Jenga towers. Snack on french fries from McCain and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Association, cleanse palates with S. Rosen's rye bread, and garnish your immaculate fish with McCormick's tartar sauce.
A tractor rumbles along the rolling hills of Green Meadows Petting Farm's back 40 as it pulls hayride passengers toward the farm’s animals' barns and pens. There, hands of all ages can snuggle on the fuzzy fleece of a baby goat or sheep, brush against the bristly hide of the 700-pound Patty the Pig, or comb fingers into the soft mane of Lad the Pony. Farmers on the staff also share insights and anecdotes on the farm and its four-legged friends as guests roam the farm at their leisure. For Charlie and Mavis Keyes, of all the sights and sounds on a farm that's been in the family since 1964, the ones they enjoy most watching and hearing are from the children and parents who come to visit. It's a thrill, Charlie says, to hear the kids say that they had "the best day ever," providing a happy counterpoint to childhood days that include trips to the doctor's and punishments to file and catalogue a sister's dolls' dresses.
During the day, the concrete heights of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts tower over the waters of the Milwaukee River like an imposing, postmodern fortress. As night falls, however, and patrons meander toward their evening's entertainment, the building’s façade glows with colorful, scintillating lights that hint at the eclectic performances inside. The elegant Uihlein Hall regularly hosts such august organizations as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Florentine Opera Company, whereas smaller, more intimate venues such as the Todd Wehr Theater situate audiences close to the stage so they can immerse themselves in dramas or hear the wail of a set builder who smashed his thumb with a hammer.
Going to the movie theater should be more enjoyable than watching a movie at home––a concept that Rosebud Theater has down pat. Cinephiles regain the sparkle in their eyes as they enter the historic venue, which originally opened as The Tosa Theatre in 1931 and was recently modernized to have great views and stellar sound. Unlike cramped multiplex theaters, Rosebud houses one solitary, comfortably spaced theater, where visitors won’t have to worry about hearing explosions from the monster-truck movie next door or accidently walking into the wrong monster-truck movie.
In addition to typical movie snacks such as popcorn, candy, and soda, the Rosebud sports a full menu of appetizers, sandwiches, quesadillas, and pizza, as well as a full bar stocked with wine, cocktails, and microbrews––all of which are delivered to patrons during featured presentations. Rather than standard chairs, the theater is furnished with cushy loveseats with room for 180 movie lovers to savor first-run Hollywood hits without wrestling strangers over armrests.