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Before leaving for the Southeast WI Festival of Books last Saturday I loaded the Toyota to overflowing with old TVs, a radio, printer, computer and a couple monitors. (I wish people would quit leaving things here.) The free electronics recycling event at UWW coinciding with the book festival was very popular and at times there were lines of cars. Thank you to everyone helping and volunteering on this. Apologies and thanks to Barbara Reinhart who was there helping out, but who's photo in today's printed version of WaukeshaNOW was miscaptioned.
Last year's Book Festival was maybe a little too optimistic? Free festivals like this are dependent on a lot of things; volunteers, people willing to organize, attendees... The second annual event saw a lot of changes. It moved indoors, so no beer or food vendors this year. Sorry, but I don't attend festivals to dine on cafeteria food, though I did eat a "loaded" baked potato in the commons.
I enjoyed the live music last year at the fest, but the only music this year was provided by UW staff and students. Nice though it was, the brass and sax quartets just doesn't do it for me like the old time bluegrass heard last year.
No art or jewelry vendors this year? Even the one author I came to hear, Jean Feraca, was a no-show.
Jean may have got lost, but Jeanette found her way. One unexpected surprise encountered in the commons was artisan cheeses author Jeanette Hurt. Maybe what attracted me was the free samples of many delicious varieties. What kept me there was her intimate knowledge of one of my favorite food groups. I loved hearing about and tasting specialty cheeses usually beyond my price range and having all my questions answered.
Raw milk can be used for cheese as long as it's properly aged. The only way you can sell raw milk cheese younger than 60 days is by marketing it as "fish bait". Wisconsin is the only state producing Limburger cheese. The best cheese makers specify different farms for different cheeses; not all milk tastes the same. Grass-fed cows make the best milk for cheese. Sheep make good milk for cheese; high fat content. Some artisan cheeses use blended milk from sheep, goats and cows.
The festival was a success, but I feel would've attracted a bigger crowd with more vendor, food and music options. I again hope to see it return next year.