In Festival Guide

Some of the best potato pancakes in Milwaukee are available at State Fair.

State Fair Classic: Cracovia

Cracovia is one my favorite State Fair spots, if not my very favorite. It's located where the racing pigs bend the corner around at Second Street and Central Avenue, right next to the giant slide, and I first discovered it when my band had an annual gig at the now-gone but once-adjacent Activity Dome.

Not only is Cracovia conveniently flanked by the giant slide and the pig races, but there's the sausage, too. And they sell High Life! Saz's mozzarella sticks are a mere 30 feet away, too.

With the polka band swinging inside and the sausage and latkes steaming on the church basement-style tables – with applesauce or syrup – this nook offers more than shelter from the blazing sun or pouring rain. It dishes up an Old Milwaukee vibe rarely found in Milwaukee anymore, outside of the Public Museum's Streets of Old Milwaukee.

There's good Polish food here, great polka and the kind of welcoming, spirited, down-home atmosphere that I picture my great-grandparents enjoying in their Milwaukee. All that's lacking is some good air flow on a sizzling hot day.

Really, you can keep your cream puffs and your Ron Popeil gadgets, just give me an hour in Cracovia and my State Fair experience is complete.

It is, undoubtedly, a State Fair classic.


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