If you’re like me, every time you travel or have folks in for a visit, they have a ton of questions about what it’s like to live in Wisconsin – especially in the winter. Living in Wisconsin can be a pretty unique – and awesome – experience. Here are some of the things Wisconsinites always have to explain to folks not from ’round these parts:
1. Yes, we go to work and school when it snows. No, nothing really shuts down. Yes, we're more likely to close for extreme cold.
When the weather man tells you not to step out of the house with exposed skin ...
2. We call it soda.
Look at one of those soda vs. pop maps and Wisconsin is an oasis in the midst of a desert of folks using the wrong word for fizzy drinks.
3. The opening day of deer hunting season is a holiday.
And blaze orange goes with anything.
4. We will tailgate for everything, no matter the weather.
Built more for speed and ease than some of those down south tailgates, ours are all about the brats and beer and warming yourself around the grill.
Yes, it snowed for baseball opening day last year. Yes, cars were still lined up an hour before the gates opened.
5. After security in the airport, there is a recombobulation area.
At this point, these signs in Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee have to be some of the most photographed in the state. But they're also hilarious and not wrong.
6. We've got a festival for that.
Forget Glastonbury, Coachella and Bonnaroo, Wisconsin actually has the World's Biggest Music Festival. And a few hundred other festivals to keep you busy year-round.
7. Brandy is our liquor of choice.
Wisconsin is known for beer, but we also really love brandy. Especially in our old fashioneds - but also in our slushies, Alexander and coffee. Korbel says a third of their total production comes to the Dairy State. Legends talk of contingents of Badger fans traveling to football bowl games and drinking towns dry of their brandy.
8. Need a bit of water from a public fountain - Yeah, that's a bubbler.
Wisconsin and a few spotty places out east are the only places that use this term for a drinking fountain, but that doesn't stop us from assuming everyone knows what we mean when we ask where the bubbler is. The story goes that Bubbler was actually a brand name and became ubiquitous, but it might also be the name of the component from which the water flows. Either way, this is a pretty uniquely Wisconsin word.
9. We love a good Friday Fish Fry - and we have them year-round.
The Wisconsin fish fry's roots are in the Lenten tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays. Fried things are delicious, easy to do en masse and don't require cooking expertise. They've remained a stalwart because they're delicious.
10. How to pronounce most anything.
It's fine, we've heard you struggle with Racine and Mequon, so we know Ashwaubenon, Oconomowoc and Mukwonago are beyond you.
11. We will wait an hour for a cream puff.
Ok, so the line moves faster than that, but cream puffs are sacred here. Served just during the 10 days of the state fair, they represent all that is right about living in America's Dairyland.
12 .Yes, the cheese really is that much better.
You don't really understand this until you leave. Then you realize we can buy better cheese in our gas stations than most people have access to ever.
13. When it comes to pro sports - we hate Chicago.
The Bears and Packers are two of the oldest teams in the country, so the rivalry is natural. Just like extending that hate to division-mates the Cubs comes as easy as breathing.
14. But when it comes to college sports, it's Minnesota that we hate.
The Border Battle is sacred and true. Phil Kessel never won a National Championship. The Axe is the only trophy that matters
15. Bratwurst is king.
No, it's not similar to a hot dog. Yes, Miller Park is the only MLB stadium whose best-seller isn't a hot dog.
16. What the "lake effect" is.
In the summer, it's always cooler by the lake. Bring a sweatshirt, even in July. You'll need it. In the winter, it'll snow along the coast, but not just a few miles inland. Lake Michigan doesn't really freeze over and those warmer waters wreak all kinds of havoc on our weather.
17. Up North is more than a (vague) location - it's a state of mind.
Everyone knows someone with a cabin "up north'" and we head there every weekend in the summer and even a few weekends in the winter. Up North is about supper clubs and a slower way of life. It's fishing from the pier and small town life.
18. It's WISconsin, not WESconsin.
I mean, we live here, so I'd take our word on how to pronounce it.
How many of these things have you had to explain to people who aren’t from around here? Share your experiences in the comments!