Raw organic yellow and white cheese curds in a bowl.

Cheese Curd Festival 2024

JUNE 21-22, 2024
ELLSWORTH, WI

THE SHORT VERSION

You might as well pop a Lactaid now. You're gonna need it at the official celebration of the official cheese curd capital of Wisconsin.

In the only state where you need a license to be a cheesemaker, the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is churning out thousands of pounds of cheese curds for the 23rd Cheese Curd Festival. Back in 1984, the governor named the village of Ellsworth the official Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin, a designation that locals now celebrate annually with loads of dairy, local music acts, special tastings and a huge outdoor handcrafted market. Here, the pride of America’s Dairyland is more than its cheese production; the festival also honors the area’s fertile land and hardworking farmers, many of whom descended from European immigrants in the 19th century.

When you’re not sampling over 250 variations of cheese available, wander to any of the three stages to catch a folk or blues set or take a digestive stroll through the classic car show. All sorts of craft beers, wines and hard ciders are up for grabs at the ticket-capped Corks & Kegs Tasting Event (though locals insist the ultimate pairing for curds is a light pilsner or lager), and for sweet-leaning palates, check out the Milk & Cookie Pairing or ice cream tasting. If you’ve gotten this far and are still scratching your head about the curds in question, you might have seen them as a key ingredient in Canada’s poutine. Those squeaky, squishy, stringy little logs earned the fest the Best Speciality Food Festival in USA Today and in Wisco., they’re either eaten plain or battered and fried à la mozzarella sticks. Since all food vendors at the Cheese Curd Festival are required to incorporate cheese curds into at least two of their menu offerings, expect a deluge of dairy even when opting for burgers, donuts or gyros. And if, for some reason, you came ready to run instead of eat, unmark your calendars: in 2024, the festival decided to retire the festival’s annual 5k and 10k races.

The Specs

  • 30,000 expected to attend.
  • Admission is free.
  • Sticking around for all things dairy? Check out Fifty Grande’s Wisconsin guide.

FAQs

What is the closest airport to the Cheese Curd Festival?

Fly into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and head about 50 miles east to land yourself in Ellsworth.

Where’s the venue?

Pierce County Fairgrounds, 364 N Maple Street, Ellsworth, WI 54011

I’m driving, where can I park?

Parking is free for all attendees and available in three separate parking lots. There’s a free shuttle to get back and forth from the lots to the festival grounds which stops at 10:30 pm both nights.

Can I camp?

There is no camping available at the Cheese Curd Festival.

Can I bring kids?

Cheese Curd is an all-ages festival. There will be programming geared towards the whole family including the Classic Car Show, vendor markets, Milk & Cookie Pairing and ice cream tasting. Kids can also take a break from their mass dairy consumption with a romp at the Straw Bale Playland.

What about my pets?

There are no pets other than registered service animals permitted at Cheese Curd Festival. Leave those cows where they belong.

Which artists will I see at the Cheese Curd Festival?

Them Pesky Kids, Left Wing Bourbon, Thomas Michael, Vivian Hayes & the Hi-Praise, Debbie Briggs, Jim Stairs & Squishy Mud, Dave Snyder, Hot Mess, The Dairy Aires, The Delta Papas, 30TT, Oly, Arthur Anderson, Why Worry & the Fret Band, Brad Marx, Trandy Blue.

Poster

Cheese Curd Festival 2024!, East End Park, Ellsworth, 21 June to 22 June | AllEvents.in

Videos

BY Olivia Winters