June is Dairy Month in Wisconsin – 30 days of events, festivals, farm breakfasts and lots of cheese, ice cream, milk and more.
The dairy industry contributes more than $43.4 billion to the state's economy, so it makes sense that Wisconsin should milk it for all its worth!
Celebrate Wisconsin's dairy industry as a family and check out one of these 12 events or destinations throughout America's Dairyland.
1. Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
Doyle Park, 100 Van Buren St., Little Chute
A whole weekend dedicated to cheese! From June 3-5, enjoy live music, food, amusement rides, a petting zoo, parade, cheese tasting, cheese carving demonstrations, a cheese curd eating contest, a cheese breakfast and a cheesecake contest. Admission is $5/adult and $3/child. Hours are 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10:30 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.
2. Cows on the Concourse
Madison's Capitol Square
Kids can meet cows and baby calves from local dairy farms at this free, family-friendly event on June 4 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The event also includes live music, food and games.
3. Sassy Cow
W4192 Bristol Road, Columbus
Take a creamery tour and sample free dairy products during Sassy Cow Creamery's June Dairy Month Celebration on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can view the bottling and the cheesemaking process seven days a week at the creamery, too!
4. National Dairy Shrine Museum
401 Whitewater Ave., Fort Atkinson
Take a tour of the museum's multimedia exhibit that explore the sights and sounds of Wisconsin's farming past, present and future. The museum also will host its second annual 'Dairy Day at the Moo-seum' event on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with free activities and barn games for families.
5. Clock Shadow Creamery
128 W. Bruce St., Milwaukee
Cheesemakers will answer all of your questions about cheese, including why cheese curds are squeaky and why cheddar cheese is yellow, during 30-minute factory tours. And yes, there are free samples! Tours are $3/adult and $1.50/child and available between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
6. Milwaukee County Zoo
10001 W. Bluemound Road, Milwaukee
The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to a working dairy farm where kids can learn about a cow's anatomy and the process of milking. The Family Farm also has a new playground, featuring state-of-the-art equipment, a walk-through butterfly garden and Kohl's Wild Theater. In September, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sponsors Family Farm Weekend, with cooking demonstrations, a milk-chugging contest and several fun farm activities. The zoo is open during the summer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
7. Cheesemaking Center and Museum
2108 6th Ave., Monroe
Veteran cheesemakers and docents give tours of the restored Imobersteg Cheese Factory, where on the second Saturday each June, a 90 pound wheel of Swiss cheese is made. It's been done every year for more than 100 years! Admission is $5/person ages 16 and older. Open from May 1 to Oct. 31, the center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m on Sunday.
8. Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast
Crane Dairy, 29320 31st St., Burlington
Nothing says June Dairy Month like a farm breakfast! The Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast is June 18 from 6:30-10:30 a.m. and includes breakfast, milking demonstrations, a Wisconsin products tent, kids' games, farm equipment and more. The breakfast includes eggs with ham and cheese, pancakes, bread and butter, yogurt, milk and ice cream. Cost is $6/adult and free for children 6 and younger. Racine County will host a similar event on June 25 at Schaal Dairy Farm, 1800 McKee Road, Burlington.
9. Hinchley Dairy Farm Tours
2844 State Road 73, Cambridge
Open for tours from April 1 through Oct. 31, this working dairy farm has nearly 300 dairy cows. Kids can pet calves in the nursery and learn about the life of dairy cows. They also can experience farm life by hand-milking a cow and feeding other farm animals. Reservations are required for all farm visits by calling (608) 764-5090 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Sparta Butterfest
Memorial Park, corner of Montgomery Street and Rusk Avenue, Sparta
There is something for everyone at this festival June 9-12, including – and most importantly – butter! Sparta's Butterfest is one of the biggest butter festivals, with live music, a milking contest, a kids' bike decorating contest, firemen's water fights, carnival rides and a parade led by the Butterfest Royalty. Admission to the festival is free. Hours vary throughout the four days. The parade is 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
11. Birthplace of the ice cream sundae
Although there are several rival claims, Two Rivers is the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. In 1881, a customer to Ed Berner's soda fountain asked him to put the chocolate sauce used to make ice cream sodas over his dish of ice cream. The 5-cent concoction became a hit. The name came later, when a Manitowoc ice cream parlor began selling sundaes only on Sunday. So, treat yourself to a sundae at the ice cream parlor in the historic Washington House at 17th and Jefferson streets, with its pictures and relics from the original Berner's store. Or visit the city on June 23 for the annual Sundae Thursday, featuring 25-cent sundaes at Central Park.
12. Widmer's Cheese Cellars
214 W. Henni St., Theresa
Take a step back in time at Widmer's Cheese Cellars and get a close-up look at how some of Wisconsin's best brick cheese is made. Tours are available at 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday by appointment. The factory store and viewing area is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.