Meet Me on the Midway: A History of Wisconsin Fairs (Paperback)
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 fairgoer, Apps takes readers back through 178 years of Wisconsin fair history, covering everything from horsepulling and calf-showing contests to exhibit judging to the roar of gasoline engines powering the midway rides. He 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 our rural 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.
Jerry Apps is a former county extension agent and professor emeritus for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He exhibited cattle and other projects at county fairs as a 4-H member and later served as a county fair judge. Today he works as a rural historian, full-time writer, and creative writing instructor.