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?
TAsunder
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Postby TAsunder » Tue May 29, 2007 9:47 am

TheBookPolice wrote:If you want interesting sausages, buy 'em yourself. If you want variety, go to a meat market.


And if you want the same plain old brat, go to state street brats. I guess that leaves zero reasons to go to brat fest. I'm glad we are in agreement.

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Postby TheBookPolice » Tue May 29, 2007 9:52 am

TAsunder wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:If you want interesting sausages, buy 'em yourself. If you want variety, go to a meat market.


And if you want the same plain old brat, go to state street brats. I guess that leaves zero reasons to go to brat fest. I'm glad we are in agreement.


--NO FUN. repeat THERE WILL BE NO FUN. repeat THERE WILL BE NO FUN.

FUN HAS BEEN CANCELLED. WINKING TOWN FESTIVAL CHEESE-O-RAMAS WILL NO LONGER BE WINKED AT.

THERE WILL BE NO FUN. EVER. THANK YOU.

TAsunder
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Postby TAsunder » Tue May 29, 2007 10:11 am

Which part of the brat fest is fun exactly? I suppose all the wacky mascots. I heard that there was an ipod guy.

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Postby boston_jeff » Tue May 29, 2007 10:37 am

As a newbie, I thought it was fine. 100% donated brats = less variety, but the four I ate were great and the condiments were good too. We got a ride into the fest on a golfcart so you can avoid the walk. For a charity event of this type it was par for the course. Not sure about the old location, but the carnies and the corny bands are typical of this kind of thing. Its for charity, and you can contribute on a small scale, nothing wrong with that...if it was a true food/beer fest I could see why people might be disappointed.

Spent about an hour, aside from the brats, the highlight was listening to Marty Balin (a vegetarian) riffing between songs about "eating lots of broccoli and farting all night." I shit you not.

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Postby christopher_robin » Tue May 29, 2007 10:42 am

Whoa. Marty Balin played Bratfest?

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Postby boston_jeff » Tue May 29, 2007 10:47 am

Yeah very 70's AM gold. Felt like I was driving down the street in my old man's V8 Nova or something. The broccoli fart joke was pretty funny too.

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Postby fisticuffs » Tue May 29, 2007 10:53 am

The Hilldale Brat Fests Blew. and Having them twice a year was plain retarded. I made it out this year twice.I never had to stand in line for more than like 5 minutes. Hilldale was closer to 45. The food is cheap the condiments more than acceptable. Granted they've gone up every year but c'mon. And how many varieties do you want. It's the way it is to make it easy for everyone involved. Lets put 50 different sausages on the menu and see how it takes to get served. I think they made nothing but improvements and the event has gotten 20 times better every year.

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Postby mrak » Tue May 29, 2007 10:55 am

I find it hard begrudging Brat Fest being what it is - a charity event that raises a lot of money.

As for the "selection" of food items: It's pretty much what it's always been (with the addition of Boca Brats). If it had once been a tasting event for fine artisinal sausages, accompanied by obscure condiments from the Mustard Museum, there might be more room for legitimate criticism of it being limited to Johnsonville and Kraft at this point.

And the setting: I used to dread the parking situation at Hilldale. You can't fault them for moving from a location that (1) they were rapidly outgrowing; and (2) was undergoing renovation that would have displaced them anyway.

Circumstances (sometimes just my mood) have kept me from getting to Brat Fest since it moved to AEC, but I still think it's a fine thing for the community. Reminds me that I should pick a few of the charities listed on their Web site and send a check their way.

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Postby hecky » Tue May 29, 2007 11:23 am

It was pretty hectic back at Hilldale with long and confusing lines. And the parking lot at Hilldale is gone. they had to do something.

I think they had Klements one year way back...

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Postby Jeb » Tue May 29, 2007 12:06 pm

This was my first time at Willow Island for BratFest, and I too like it better than Hilldale location. Better than I thought I would. The access is great (bikeable or free parking/short walk) with lots of sitting room. Logistically set-up very well. I like the brat tally on the way in, but they should have a counter in the serving tent as well. We were there Friday for dinner (arguably the best weather) and waited no longer than five minutes for perfectly fried brats. Music, not the greatest, but thought I heard that the bands donated their performance fees...(?). The plastic baggies were smart. I don't know if it was their intention, but you have a trash bag when you're done. I bet it's a helluva lot cleaner than having loose paper wraps, napkins, and trays blowing in the wind. The carny rides, meh...the worst thing about that is the kids begging to go on rides. BTW, my 13-month old had her first brat...she loved it and had I not had to deal with the diaper aftermath, we would have gone back. Overall BratFest grade: B.

Two improvements my party talked about... 1) Condiments... perhaps an exotic condiment tent, too. Offer up stuff like varieties of mustard, pineapple salsa, BBQ sauce, chocolate sauce (hey now, that last came from a 4 year old, and besides Brats are in the sweet meat catagory). 2) For the drive-thru crowd--and there are plenty of them who order a cupla' dozen for freezing then leave-- why not offer a drive through tent? How hard would that be? They have the golf carts to truck 'em over.

BTW, the longest-ass [insert food]Fest line, hands-down, is bi-anually in Monroe for cheese curds. They gotta do something about that.

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Postby TAsunder » Tue May 29, 2007 1:25 pm

OK, I totally overlooked the charity aspect in my assessment. They should rename it annual brat charity drive and then we wouldn't have to be thinking about other festivals.

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Postby rezin » Tue May 29, 2007 1:54 pm

TAsunder wrote:OK, I totally overlooked the charity aspect in my assessment. They should rename it annual brat charity drive and then we wouldn't have to be thinking about other festivals.


and what an assesment it was! :roll:

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Postby jjoyce » Tue May 29, 2007 3:13 pm

Here's what I love about Brat Fest: The organizations can earn a lot of money for themselves in an entirely opt-in setting, which means they don't bother me by ringing my doorbell on a Saturday afternoon. I love it!

After having done brat fest at Hilldale a number of times, from when they would pour you a Dixie cup full of flat soda out of a milk jug while bees circled, to the record-breaking attempt, it was always annoying. My biggest problem was with senior citizens who don't say excuse me, but instead employ the forearm shove to get past you. Also, too many people brought their dogs and stuff.

In the new spot, they're set up to handle the thousands who show up and that's what a festival is, thousands of people who don't do what you want them to do. I was there as a lot of the marathoners were finishing up and thought it was pretty funny to see these people limping around enjoying their beers and brats right along with us dough-bellies. I hate carnival rides, so I avoid those. The lines were efficient and the condiments were surprisingly well-maintained and neat. All get high grades from me.

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.

Finally, when it comes to attractions, I was pleasantly thrilled that Rutabaga was letting kids take a spin in their little kayaks in the pond for a buck. I escaped the crowd and lounged in the grass taking pictures of my kid as he paddled around, slamming into other kids in kind of an east-side Madison version of bumper boats.

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Postby wolfsbane » Tue May 29, 2007 4:33 pm

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.

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Postby fisticuffs » Tue May 29, 2007 4:52 pm

Well I didn't expect misery. also I had a good time. I got fed good food for cheap. Saw some music. Didn't have to wait in line. Got some sun, fresh air. sounds to me like a bunch of "smug-like-the-smell-of-their-own-farts too-good-for-some-"fest"-hater" talk to me. Hate on Hater.


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