State Fair’s Cream Puff Pavilion could get $6 million upgrade

Request to be included in state budget, Walker says

Wisconsin State Fair Park.

The Cream Puff Pavilion at State Fair Park in West Allis could get a major upgrade in the coming years as Gov. Scott Walker announced his upcoming budget would include a request for a $6 million expansion and renovation.

Wisconsin State Fair
More than 1 million people attended the 2016 Wisconsin State Fair.

The item will be submitted as a Capital Budget Request and will create a new facility “worthy of the Original Cream Puff’s stature,” a release from Walker’s office said.

“On this chilly Wisconsin day, we can all enjoy the thought of a family trip to the fair in August,” Walker said. “The Original Cream Puff is an iconic staple of the Wisconsin State Fair, and something people look forward to every year. The modernization of the Cream Puff Pavilion at State Fair Park is something Wisconsin families and visitors to our state will be able to enjoy for years to come.”

The release said funding for the renovation would come entirely from private gifts.

John Yingling, State Fair Park Board chairman, noted that any state facility project over $750,000 must be included in the state budget, regardless of funding sources. The plan is to fund the project largely through gifts or potentially grants, but no capital campaign has started yet.

“This gives us a chance to start planning,” he said, adding the first step will be to determine what is feasible with the current pavilion.

The project design and construction will be overseen by the State Building Commission and the Department of Administration. The expansion should allow for a better visitor space inside the pavilion. additional areas for product lines on a year-round basis and a new training center for bakery internships.

The project should be completed in time for the 2019 State Fair.

“The Original Cream Puff continues to be the number one food sold at the State Fair,” Yingling said. “The expansion and renovation of the Cream Puff Pavilion is a great next step for us as we continue to find ways to modernize the fair and ensure fairgoers have the best experience possible.”

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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