Anti-Walker Protests Propel Alternate Wis. Brat Fests

Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:59 AM

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Protests against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget-cutting measures are aiming at still another target, and it’s something identified as iconically with the Badger State as, well, cheese. No, it’s not beer, but something that is a popular companion to the hops: the brats.

World's Largest Brat Fest, Wisconsin, Scott WalkerSome longtime backers of the World’s Largest Brat Fest still are so riled about Walker’s efforts to yank public employees’ collective-bargaining rights that they are organizing their own fests to compete with the four-day Memorial Day weekend event in the state capital, Madison.

Why the boycott of an event that sold a record 209,376 brats last year? Because executives of fest sponsor Johnsonville Sausage contributed to Republican Walker’s election campaign, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

However, some folks, even those on the opposite side of the aisle, draw the line when it comes to messing with Wisconsin tradition.

Among 5,000 volunteers pitching in at the charitable event will be State Rep. Brett Hulsey, a prominent Democratic figure during the protests who also acted as a peacemaker when a group of protesters surrounded a Republican legislator during the peak of the protests at the Capitol in February and March

Hulsey, who will work in a booth benefiting the middle school his daughters attend, is following his mantra, “Leave no brats behind,” the State Journal reported.

"I'm pro brat," said Hulsey, who pointed out that Johnsonville is donating the brats for the World's Largest Brat Fest, so it isn’t profiting from the event.

Rodney Knoke begs to differ. An organizer of the Wurst Times anti-event Saturday, Knoke told the State Journal that Johnsonville still benefits from advertising at the big fest, which draws thousands of people who chow down hundreds of thousands of brats. He anticipates a crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 at Wurst Times

Another anti-Walker event will be the People's Bratfest Saturday on the Capitol Square. Sunday will see Carrie Dainty’s Alt Brat Fest.

Proceeds from the alternate fests will go to local charities, the sponsors say.

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