What’s a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair without indulging in a cream puff?
That’s the question I found myself asking this past weekend as the fair opened up and I, once again, found myself at the Cream Puff Pavilion engulfed in a line of hundreds waiting to buy their beautiful cream-filled pastry.
But what’s the deal with the cream puff, anyways? I mean, they’re delicious, but so are cookies and donuts and apple turnovers… so how did the cream puff manage to swoop in and steal our hearts?
I sat down with Dave Schmidt, CEO of the Wisconsin Bakers Association (and affectionately referred to by his coworkers as ‘puff daddy’) to learn more about this cream puff hype.
“Well, we opened up at 8 am this morning, and [in 6 hours] have already sold 18,000 cream puffs. So we’re right on schedule.”
Yeah, you read that correctly.
EIGHTEEN THOUSAND cream puffs sold in six hours.
That’s three thousand puffs being sold an hour.
In fact, once this year’s fair is all said and done, Dave says they’ll have sold around 400,000 in the 11 days.
The cream puff operation has been going strong at the Wisconsin State Fair since 1924, but they really weren’t expected to takeoff as much as they did.
The fair initially teamed up with the Wisconsin Bakers Association (who makes the puffs) in 1924 to promote the use of Wisconsin dairy produces at the fair. The puffs were introduced alongside 34 other products.
But why did the puff do so well?
Each person may have their own way to justify it, but it probably had to do with World War II.
With different shortages going on around the nation, whipping cream was relatively rare to find. And a pastry OVER FLOWING with whipped cream? That was unheard of.
Today the cream puff legacy still lives on in the cream puff pavilion, there’s now a cream puff drive-thru, a brand-new “Cream Puff 5K,” and, not to mention, the beloved mascot, Cravin D. Creampuff.
…So if you end up making it to the fair and get intimidated by the long cream puff line or the calorie count?
Well, for something that’s been a part of our state’s history for 92 years and really only comes around once a year, what have you got to lose?
Go ahead. Order that extra cream puff.
We won’t tell anyone.
Want more on the State Fair? We’ve got 10 Weird Facts About the Wisconsin State Fair along with another community story here, and you can check out my full story on Dave and the Cream Puff by clicking the audio player above.