From cream puffs to tractor pulls, celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps explores the history of county and state fairs in Wisconsin, from their earliest incarnations as livestock exhibitions to today’s multitude of exhibits and demonstrations, grandstand entertainment, games and rides, and competitions of all sorts.
Drawing on his extensive research, interviews, and personal experience as a 4-H leader, county extension agent, fair judge, and lifelong fair-goer, Apps takes readers back through 178 years of Wisconsin fair history, covering everything from horse pulling and calf-showing contests to exhibit judging to the roar of gasoline engines powering the midway rides. Regardless of age, readers will love this reflection on their favorite fair experiences while learning about the unique traditions in different Wisconsin counties.
Apps evokes the sights and sounds of fairs through the ages while digging in to the political and social forces that shaped the fair into an icon of both our rural and urban heritage. Illustrated with vintage and modern photos and featuring the voices of exhibitors, judges, volunteers, and visitors, Meet Me on the Midway vividly captures the thrills and cherished memories of these beloved annual gatherings.
About the author
Jerry Apps is a rural life storyteller and author of more than 50 nonfiction and fiction books. His work is also the subject of five public television documentaries airing around the U.S. He is a former county extension agent and professor emeritus for the UW-Madison’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He exhibited cattle and other projects at county fairs as a 4-H member and later served as a county fair judge.