The Bad Bones BBQ Inc. setup at Beef-a-rama
Wisconsin has a lot of food festivals. From Brat Days in Shebygan to Fish Day in Port Washington, just about every tourist destination has a festival to celebrate the foods of Wisconsin. Like cranberries? Try Eagle River or Warrens, both of whom have a Cranberry Festival. Enjoy mustard? Check out National Mustard Day in Mount Horeb, home of the National Mustard Museum. Fungus fans would enjoy the Morel Mustard Festival in Muscoda. Little Chute celebrates our most famous product during their Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival. Like meat? There is the Burger Fest in Seymour, which is one of a few Cities in the US that claims to be the birthplace of the Hamburger. Trempealeau has an annual Catfish Festival and several places have Apple Festivals. One of the most unique festivals is the Annual Beef-A-Ramain Minocqua.
A three day festival centered around Saturday’s beef festivities starting with the cooking of the beef. After the beef is cooked, judges walk around and sample the roasts which are prepared by everyone from local businesses to community groups. The smells are amazing and while you probably wont get to taste the beef yet, many stores and vendors line the streets with booths serving everything from dried cranberries to Lake Tomahawk Meat Market sausage. Its kind of like a big “Thank You” that the City puts on for the visitors that support the City. Its festive and the stores are packed with people seeking end-of-season bargains. There is a craft fair at one end of town as well. The best place to start is the Minocqua Brewing Company, which serves their tasty brews outside. They want you to stay in their parking lot with the beer, but if you walk around town and act civilized, nobody will bother you. Another great spot is Otto’s, where people pack the place watching college football and drinking large glasses of German Beer.
More Bad Bones BBQ Inc. action
After the judging the strangeness really begins with a parade of beef where each of the teams parades their beef down Oneida Street. It truly is a site to be seen. Some have elaborate floats and costumes while others carry the beef down the street on a platter as if it were a member of the Royal Family. After the parade the roasts are carved up at Torphy Park and sold to the public as sandwiches.
To be honest, I have not ever eaten the beef served at the park. I know people who have and they said that it is a crap-shoot. You wait for a long time and you don’t know whose beef you will end up with. It could be a dry bland roast or it could be the contest winner. They estimate that there are about 60 roasts totalling 1,200 pounds of meat. The beef is also kind of cold by the time you work your way through the line. I prefer to watch the spectacle and then head out to a nice restaurant for dinner but I keep telling myself that I really need to try the meat one of these years.
It truly is a great time and is a great end-of-the-season party. The fall colors are usually perfect and the weather tends to be in the 50-60s. I would recommend it to anyone, even vegetarians.