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State Fair highlights Wauwatosa businesses, crafts

July 30, 2014

As hundreds of thousands of fairgoers descend on the State Fair grounds just a mile south of Wauwatosa, many of them will get a taste of the city on their trips. Hotels will swell with visitors, and within the park, 30 Wauwatosa residents will have their homemade goods on display.

"Hotels are great partners, and we put heads in beds," said State Fair Marketing and Communications Manager Kathleen O'Leary. "The 11 days certainly help generate a lot of revenue in the area."

Last year, O'Leary said the fair brought 1,012,552 people to the grounds.

Rose Murack, general manager at the Radisson Hotel in Wauwatosa, said all of the hotel's 150 rooms are booked for both weekends of the fair. It has sold 63 State Fair packages so far to guests, which include fair tickets and shuttle rides. Those packages are the No. 2 seller behind those for Brewers games.

In addition to bringing business to the Radisson, Murack said guests are frequently asking staff about places to go around Wauwatosa.

"The State Fair greatly impacts this entire area and many guests come in, go to the State Fair, but then also shop, dine in our restaurants, drink in our bars and stay in our hotels," she said.

Wauwatosans are also featured within the fair through their entries in judged contests in textiles, crafts and culinary categories. One exhibitor is Sue Urbaniak, who has been entering her culinary goods for more than 25 years. Eighteen of her products have placed in the top four for their categories so far, including first for her peach jam and second for bacon biscuits.

"I love to bake, so this gives me an opportunity as an amateur to show the skills I have acquired," Urbaniak said.

The process for the contests begins in May when the fair announces the categories. Over the next six weeks, Urbaniak tries out different recipes, chooses which to enter and then perfects her products before entering them.

"It's a lot of work, but we all enjoy it," she said.

Ubaniak said she learned how to make jams from watching her grandmother and then her mom. This year, her son, Timothy, entered his own raspberry jam and placed fourth.

Other Wauwatosans who have placed for culinary products include Jennifer May, Marilyn Ibach, Joel Marinan, Andrea Siverling, Amy Sedlar, Eloise Schwarz and Maria Kuhn.

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