Scenes from the World Dairy Expo, happening this week in the heart of cheese-making country
Scenes from the World Dairy Expo, happening this week in the heart of cheese-making country

Shine On

The Harvest Moon, which is the last full moon of summer, was about three weeks ago, but that isn’t stopping the good folks of Madison from celebrating their annual Harvest Moon Festival this weekend. Read on for the festival’s roster of events, as well as two more terrestrial happenings in the neighborhood.

  1. Gaze skyward Friday night and you’ll see a moon that’s roughly two-thirds full. That’s light enough for a nighttime stroll through the Capital Springs State Recreation Area during the 7th annual Harvest Moon Festival. In addition to the night walk (which will also be illuminated by torches), the Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area will host programs on creatures of the night (owls, bears, bats, and such), a bonfire-lit bluegrass concert, a silent auction, and the chance to stargaze through the University of Wisconsin’s powerful telescopes.
    GO 7th Annual Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area’s Harvest Moon Festival. October 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Rd., Madison; 608-224-3604, Admission is $4.
  2. Also in Madison, an estimated 2,500 dairy industry professionals from 90 different countries will convene for the World Dairy Expo, which runs through Saturday, October 8. Four-legged attractions include cow pageants, wherein thousands of dairy cattle from throughout North America vie for best bovine awards. Saturday events kick off at 9 a.m. with an International Holstein Show and conclude at 5 p.m. with the Parade of Champions. Through the day, cheese will for be for sale, as will all manner of cow souvenirs at the Purple Cow Gift shop.
    GO World Dairy Expo. Friday, October 7, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturday, October 8, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way; 608-224-6455, Daily admission is $8 daily.
  3. Want an element of hot-weather comfort to keep you company during the chill to come? Madison’s Olbrich Botanical Gardens is hosting a sale of African violets from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 8, and from 10 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 9th. Members of the Wisconsin State Council of African Violets will offer starter plants, soil, pots, and advice. In addition to its 16 acres of outdoor display gardens and indoor tropical conservatory, the Botanical Gardens is exhibiting an array of original art quilts, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through October 16.
    GO Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave.; 608-246-4550,

Where to eat: At Steenbock’s on Orchard (330 N. Orchard St., Madison; 608-204-2733,, Chef Michael Pruett stresses all that’s local and seasonal, with meats cured on site in the eaterie’s “preservation kitchen” and a menu rich with cheeses, sweetbreads, and veal. In 2006, chefs John Gadau and Phillip Hurley opened Sardine (617 Williamson St., Madison; 608- 441-1600, and have developed a lavish brunch menu that includes oysters on the half shell, as well as an extensive dinner menu featuring fish, fowl, pasta, veal, and steak.

Where to stay: The lakeside Edgewater (666 Wisconsin Ave., Madison; 608-256-9071, offers plush accommodations and lovely water views ideal for sunset watching; rates range from $149 to $369 a night. The Mansion Hill Inn (424 N. Pinckney St., Madison; 608- 255-0172, has ten luxury suites in a gorgeously restored 154-year-old German Romanesque Revival building; room range from $200 to $350 nightly.