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Brat Stadt

Brat Festival

Bratwurst Festival, ca. 1955

Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Source: Mead Public Library, Sheboygan, (Image 272)

Meatpacking has been a major Wisconsin industry since the 19th century, thanks in large part to the traditions of the state's significant German-American population. Wisconsinites produce and consume large quantities of all kinds of sausages, but the bratwurst (brat) is the type that has achieved iconic status. This sausage has become a staple at picnics, tailgate parties, and "brat frys."

Special community events help promote the association of brats with Wisconsin. Since 1953 Sheboygan has held its Bratwurst Days Festival, and since 1984 Madison has been home to a semi-annual event now touted as the "World's Largest Bratfest."