This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Thursday, August 4
It's an undertaking, but so worth it. The Wisconsin State Fair offers food and plenty offit. On its website, there is an entire section devoted to food on a stick. Deep-Fried Peanut Butter Cup in Banana Batter on a stick? Check. Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog on a stick? Can haz. Cream puffs also figure into the equation (stickless) as do gluten-free and healthy alternatives. Whew. Wisconsin State Fair Park, 8100 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, 8 a.m.-close from August 4-14. Call 800-884-3247 for more info.
Saturday, August 6
Can't miss National Mustard Day in Middleton. Yes, there will be mustard samplings, reason enough to attend the 20th annual . Yes, there will be Oscar Mayer hot dogs -- free if you accept it slathered with mustard, with donations for the Middleton Library encouraged. Yes, Klement's will be grilling cheesy bratwurst sliders. But the #1 reason to attend is to taste Culver's fresh frozen Mustard Custard, available only on this one day. National Mustard Museum, 7477 Hubbard Ave., Middleton, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Call 831-2222 for more info.
Sunday, August 7
The Meat Heat Manifesto is a chili cookoff held at the Inferno, appropriately enough, so don't spare the jalapenos. If you want to enter, judged categories are "carnivorous," "vegetarian," "spicy," "unusual" and "all-around." Don't want to cook, just want to taste ? That's a two dollar donation, and considering that sides including buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, deviled eggs, Rice Krispie treats will be on hand, it's a deal. Hope there'll be air-conditioning. Inferno, 1718 Commercial Ave., 6:30 p.m., $2 donation if not cooking. Call 245-9583 for more info.
More events this week
Wednesday, August 3
VBC Beer Dinner, a four-course menu with a "European Vacation" theme, pairing dishes with brews inspired by the styles of Belgium, Scotland, Finland, and Germany. Vintage Brewing Company, 674 S. Whitney Way, 7 p.m., $50. Call 204-2739 for more info.
Thursday, August 4
A Taste of France in Your Own Backyard, a tasting tour of vinegars, oils, and wines with Eat Smart in France author Ronnie Hess. Muskets & Memories, the 19th annual three-day Sustainable Agriculture and Family Farm Tour, a carpool roadtrip organized by , with stops at in Reedsburg. Just Coffee, 1129 E. Wilson St., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 260-0900 for more info.
Sons of Norway donating proceeds to those affected by the tragedy. Bay Creek Neighborhood Food & School Supplies Drive, the third annual collection event, featuring a free will donation bake sale and lemonade stand. Franklin Elementary School, 305 W. Lakeside St., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 772-1242 for more info.
Merrimac Community Festival, an annual two-day celebration, featuring a chicken barbecue, "Taste of Wisconsin" and "Best of Merrimac" culinary presentations, a wine and cheese tasting, a beer tent, car and boat shows, live music, children's activities, and more. Memorial Park, Front St., Merrimac, 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday and noon-3 p.m. Sunday. Call 608-493-9908 for more info.
Organic Eating on a Dime, a talk with Lisa Kivirist, co-author of the Farmstead Chef cookbook, covering strategies for a healthy, sustainable, and affordable diet. Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman Ave., 11:30 a.m., free. Call 246-4547 for more info.
Good Neighburgers, a burger barbecue benefit for Women Rise Up!, an empowerment group for low-income women. Willy Street Co-op East, 1221 Williamson St., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., $5 per platter. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Sunday, August 7
Blue Mounds Heritage Day, an annual community festival, featuring custard and bake sales, live music and karaoke, children's activities, and more. Division and Main streets, Blue Mounds, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 561-1832 for more info.
Schoenstatt Family Festival, an annual neighborhood garage sale and celebration, featuring food vendors, a bake sale, the UW Marching Band, games, raffles, live music, children's activities, and more. Cooking it All: Menu Planning & Techniques for a High Vegetable Diet, a workshop hosted by the Willy Street Co-op West, 6825 University Ave., 4 p.m., $15. Call 226-0300 for more info.
Save the date
Sunday, August 14
1000 Gardens of Africa, a Kabillo Community Center in Dakar, Senegal, featuring cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, a dinner prepared by guest chefs Stephanie Izard of the Girl & the Goat in Chicago and Dan Fox of the Madison Club, a keynote address by Erika Allen of Growing Power, silent and live auctions, and live music. Madison Club, 5 E. Wilson St., 5 p.m., $175. Please RSVP by August 7, and call 255-4861 for more info.
Wednesday, August 17
L'Etoile 35th anniversary dinner, with Chef Tory Miller and a "special celebrity guest" preparing a multi-course menu celebrating the restaurant's history of local and seasonal cuisine, and proceeds benefiting the Sherman Middle School Garden. L'Etoile, 1 S. Pinckney St., 6 p.m., $135 per person or $105 without wine. Call 251-0500 for more info.