Battle of the brats

Wisconsin’s ideological civil war (in the formulation of Mayor Tom Barrett) has extended into the gastrointestinal tract.

This weekend is the annual World’s Largest Bratfest in Madison, akin to a pilgrimage to Lourdes to those for whom enjoyment of the grilled sausages is something like a religious experience. But like virtually every activity of daily living in the Badger state (for example, getting the car washed) Bratfest has been besmirched by unseemly partisan associations. Specifically, principal sponsor Johnsonville has been identified as a Scott Walker supporter.

Last year, Madison organizers put together several alternative brat blasts, including the Alt Brat Fest at Orton Park and the People’s Bratfest.

The People’s Bratfest is back again this year, and with just over a week to go before the recall election. The fest takes place at the Library Mall on Saturday, from 10:00 to 7:00. Musical performances include the ubiquitous Solidarity Singers, and charities will benefit from the proceeds.

The World’s Largest Bratfest is already underway at Willow Island (at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center). Like the People’s Bratfest, charities will benefit from the event, but the solidarity Singers won’t be on the musical stage.

I’ve been in Madison long enough to remember when the Bratfest was held in the Hilldale shopping center parking lot – we used to be able to walk there. These days, I’m more of a curmudgeon, and the crowded, noisy Willow Island venue doesn’t do a lot for me.

Not that I won’t be eating brats this weekend – I’ll be firing up the grill in the peacefully nonpartisan, friendly confines of my own backyard. I’ll be offering a choice of condiments – but no ketchup. I think we can all agree – Barrett and Walker supporters alike – that ketchup has no place on a bratwurst.

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