First English Lutheran Church serves up traditions at the Wisconsin Valley Fair

NC7's Brittany Dobbins speaks with Kathy Rohde of the First English Lutheran Church about serving homemade meals at the Wisconsin Valley Fair.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:25 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Cheese curds and french fries are usually the most popular food items at fairs. But for fair-goers ordering from First English Lutheran Church, meatloaf is the most popular.

The First English Lutheran Church food stand has been at the Wisconsin Valley Fair since 1919. It’s known for serving up homemade meals like mashed potatoes, meatloaf and vegetables. It also opens early for breakfast.

This year was the first year the church returned to its food stand at the fair since the pandemic hit. The stand’s main cook, Kathy Rohde said she couldn’t be happier to be back this year.

“Just to see the smiles on people who are anxious to come back or who come through the door and said, ‘yeah, we’re back again today,’ that they enjoyed the food, that they’re happy we’re back. Yeah, and of course, being with all my friends,” Rohde said. “It’s the togetherness. If you’re a new person in our congregation, this is what you need to do. To know everybody in the congregation. I mean, we’ve got young people here now doing dishes.”

Rohde said she gets to the stand to start preparing every day around 5:45 a.m.

“It takes a lot of work. A lot of patience, and a lot of love, lots and lots and lots of love. I mean, there’s all kinds of love in everything we do. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t love to do this,” she said.

People can find the food stand beside the North Wing of the Exhibition Building. Breakfast is served from 7:30-10:30 a.m. with lunch starting at 11 a.m.

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