Sister Vendors Prep for Wisconsin Valley Fair

With a fair comes food, and the visitors aren't the only ones who have favorites.

"Other than the cheese curds," Leroy Matzdorf, of the Everest Area Optimist Club cheese curd stand, said, "I look forward to a cream puff an elephant ear and of course a beer."

And where there's food, comes family.

"Oh, my sister, she's a lovely woman," Kristi Polzin, owner of The Almond Tree stand, said. "I'm blessed."

She has two sisters, and one of them was just across the way from her at the Wisconsin Valley Fair, serving Monkey Tails as friendly competition.

"Oh, well. For and against," Stacey Thon, owner of the Monkey Tail stand, said. "You know there is enough for everybody."

Even though Thon sells monkey tails, which are a frozen banana on a stick coated in chocolate, and Polzin sells German roasted almonds right across the way, the profit doesn't stand between the sisters, and it hasn't for more than 20 years that they've been in business.

"When I was a little girl, when my parents first started this business," Thon said, "we did the whole fair carnival thing. In recent years, we've narrowed it down to the three that are the most profitable for us and closest to home."

Whether or not people will pay $3.50 for a Monkey Tail. or for some nuts, there are new products that give the fair staples some healthy, well maybe more unhealthy competition.

"We have a ton of (foods) returning," Maria Budnik, Wisconsin Valley Fair Administrator, said. "And a few new ones (food vendors) that have really stepped in with some original foods like chocolate-covered bacon and stuffed cookies with bacon."

Budnik said the fair expects about 150,000 people to attend the fair this year, and they have around 40 different vendors crowding the grounds.
Other attractions for the week include: concerts from Randy Houser, Hunter Hayes, Bret Michaels and others, Polka Band performances, hula hoop contests, livestock, 4H and FFA contests and more.

Budnik said some of the other new things include new animals.
"We'll have reptile adventures on the West end," Budnik said. "They're bringing crocodiles and snakes."

The local sisters said visitors can count on good eats.

"We sell the cinnamon roasted nuts and the chocolate chip fresh-baked cookies," Polzin said. "They (the cookies) are phenomenal, and they are served with ice-cold milk. They are amazing."

No matter what they sell, or who they sell against, one thing matters, and that's what's put them at the fair in the first place: family.

"At the end of the day we're always family," Polzin said. "We don't sell the same product, but if i'm a little slow here, and she's knockin' it out the park over there, I'll bring in someone to work my stand here, and I'll help her. That's just what family does, and we take care of each other."

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