MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Brat Fest officially kicks off with Take Your Brat to Work Day, Friday morning from 6 to 9 am. NBC15's The Morning Show will broadcast live from Willow Island, where you can pick up a brat or a bag of brats to take to work with you.
It's the start of Brat Fest, which over the past 36 years has raised nearly two million dollars for local charities. Grillers will be cranking out 12,000 bratwurst per hour. That, plus all of the entertainment acts, midway, and more.
The head of Brat Fest, Tim Metcalfe from Metcalfe's Market, said, "It started here (NBC15) eighteen years ago in the parking lot. We had the Johnsonville big taste grill here and I think the first time we had it here we maybe sold two or three thousand brats. Last year we sold 34,000 brats in the three hours of Take Your Brat to Work Day. We’ve already got 6,000 brats pre-ordered this year, so we bought four new grills, and we’ve got lots more storage space, so hopefully we can get the lines through. It’s gonna be a lot of fun."
As far as the Brat Fest that follows Take Your Brat to Work Day, Metcalfe said, ''We’ve got 70 musical acts, we’ve got a kids zone, we’ve got a sports zone. You can learn how to be on a log roll in a little pool. So we’ve got a lot of family fun things. The Clydesdales are going to be there. The Racing Sausage characters are going to be there this year, so it’s a lot of great family fun."
Metcalfe added, "We’re going to raise about $150,000 this year for charity, and that's going to take us over that $2,000,000 mark, so I’m sure my dad is looking down on all of us and just smiling at what it’s become over the years. I think I learned from him what it means to be part of a community--giving back."
Metcalfe added, "We have about 2,600 volunteers who volunteer their weekend, and it’s all about things that they care about.... and then you bring your family to Brat Fest and have a good time....plus it all goes to a great cause. So, it’s fun to put on.
Brat Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island. For more information, click on the attached link to the Brat Fest site.