Off the Beaten Path #9: Chips and Cheese

Note: For previous segments of Off the Beaten Path, I highlighted places that I have visited and recommend. With this post and for future travel stops, I am going to discuss places that seem interesting to me, but are spots that I either stopped at only as a young child or venues that I have never visited yet heard good things about.

In continuing with the contrarian theme of today’s travel post, I am not going to recommend a warm ocean stop, not a challenging corn maze, or even the world’s largest cave system. No, this travel destination is best visited September 4th and 5th of 2009 so that you can soak in all of the events taking place at Marion Park in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

What would attract me to the great state of Wisconsin in the fall—-well, manure of course!

Yes I said poop. In September, Prairie du Sac hosts the 34th annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw (not to be confused with the World Cow Chip Throw held in Beaver, OK).

Having competed in this type of athletic event (did I really just admit that?), all I can say is get your pitching arm stretched out, keep a close pin handy for your nose, and you may be able to bring home the gold trophy and bragging rights.

My one tip for interested competitors is to verify that your brown projectile is well-dried before gripping; trying to throw one that is fresh and/or soft is simply a huge mistake that you will regret.

The Wisconsin festival organizers left no one out when it comes to planned activities—you can let the kids compete in the “Children’s Chip Chuckin” contest as well that begins at 0900 on Saturday.

In addition to the fun with bovine dung, the festival includes their own Marti-Gras-style celebration named “Moo De Grass” where you can see Dennis DeYoung perform some classic 1970s and 80s Styx tunes. The festivities also feature a running race and an art fair.

Promoting crap in Wisconsin has a long history, but did you know that their state government is also serious about cow feces? In 1989 the Wisconsin State Legislature proclaimed the cow chip the Unofficial State Muffin. I wonder if that is printed on all state tourism brochures.

If you have any time and energy left after the festival, there are plenty of outdoor hiking and boating activities in the area, as well as places to watch for bald eagles. One more stop on your trip should be included include as a visit to Wisconsin would certainly not be complete without sampling some of the locally made cheese and touring a cheese manufacturing facility.

The Cedar Grove Cheese Factory in Plain, WI has an excellent reputation and a conveniently placed gift shop—so at least you’ll bring home something pleasant smelling to counteract the aroma of those souvenir cow patties that you purchased at the contest.

So, pack some extra anti-bacterial soap and Lysol, and I’ll see you in Wisconsin for some, well, dirty and smelly fun.

Note: pictures displayed were used from the fesitval's site and the area chamber's URL.


Erin said...

"Yes I said poop" and "Promoting crap in Wisconsin has a long history..." are competing for the two best sentences of this post.

Deer Passion said...

I've heard this event is a blast! But, working at a feedlot five days a week gives me my weekly fill of poop! I'm glad that you chose to highlight someplace off the beaten path tho - I'm tired of hearing that the beach is the only place to properly vacay...

angelcel said...

Flinging cow dung there's something new!! :D

Expat From Hell said...

Just keep it away from the fan, OK? Good post, as always.


mappchik said...

Oh, dear. Resorting to elementary school and completely agreeing with Erin - while giggling - on the two best sentences remark.

I remember being taken to a variety of festivals in the midwest as a kid. This was not one of them though. It's the kind of thing my mom would have known about, so I can only assume she was trying to avoid a day in the van with three children flexing their scatalogical vocabulary. (Has to be, because I can't recall her ever passing up a chance to sample cheese.)

mrs. fuzz said...

Wow. That's all I can really say, but I think it would be so much fun to go. I frequent a website called to check on events such as these that take place around the world. So far, I really want to go to the redneck games in Georgia, and the Air guitar World championships in Finland. I LOVE this kind of stuff.

Also, I wanted to include a highlighted link in the comments, but I can't figure it out. I've seen you do that before. Would you mind telling me how to do that?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments--I have been told I am full of crap a few times as well--so I know how Wisconsin officials feel.

Mrs. Fuzz: I've read about the air guitar event--that looks very funny.

Unfortunately, the blogger comments field won't allow me to list the code without it turning into a link. If you send me an email (listed on the homepage), I can respond to you with the code to do it or they decribe it here.