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UW State Fair Day brought 5,000 visitors and 55 bags of school supplies

The UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair on August 10 turned out an estimated 5,000 additional fairgoers for the day and generated a substantial collection of 55 bags of school supplies for Milwaukee area public school children. While the event involved the entire UW-Madison community, participation by CALS was a major contributor to that success.

A recently released final report by Tricia Dickinson, UW Communications, concludes that based on the results of surveys and information gathered by the department, the UW-Madison Day at the Wisconsin State Fair should continue. Not only was the university able to reach large numbers of people, the event also brought together the UW community including many alumni.

“UW-Madison Day transplanted the spirit of life at the university 75 miles east of campus, transforming the fair’s Central Park into a place for discovery, fun and celebration of the university’s history of service and outreach to the state,” the report says.

For CALS part in the day there were cheesemaking demonstrations, Babcock Hall ice cream samples, a 20 x 30 farm-to-fork produce and food exhibit illustrating research and outreach, a CaseIH tractor connecting the college to Milwaukee-area industry, and several hands-on science activities for families and children. Impromptu interviews with CALS scientists helped fill out programing on the main stage.

Two hundred volunteers from campus and an additional 200 volunteers from the Milwaukee area worked together to present the show. The final report notes: “Too often, it’s suggested that UW-Madison is elitist, increasingly inaccessible to “regular” Wisconsin students, and irrelevant to the majority of state residents.  Although there are many efforts in place to combat this misperception, one relatively underutilized strategy is large-scale outreach events.”