Wisconsinites share a few key traits that will set us apart from the crowd. Whether it’s the ability to pronounce complex names like “Oconomowoc” or the shared memories of iconic experiences like the Wisconsin Dells or a Brewers game, here are 12 ways you know you’re from Wisconsin.
1. You know how to pronounce names like “Eau Claire” and “Oconomowoc.”
The names of our cities and towns are a part of our rich history. We’re proud of the tongue-twisting places we call home and watching others struggle to pronounce them correctly gives you the right to chuckle.
2. You know how to appreciate and respect the land.
Outside of hunting and fishing, you keep busy rafting, canoeing, skiing, and exploring the many lakes, islands, caves, and hills around the state. You’re proud to take visitors to Whitefish Dunes for swimming along the shore of Lake Michigan, to Governor Dodge State Park for 40 miles of hiking trails (and cross-country skiing in the winter), or to Devil’s Lake for rock climbing and kayaking.
3. You’re thirsty, so you find a bubbler.
Yes, we get blank looks from out-of-towners when using the term, but here in Wisconsin, you’d have to explain yourself if you ask for the nearest “drinking fountain.”
4. You know the best Friday-night fish fry.
Friday nights at a supper club or tavern mean only one thing: beer-battered cod or walleye, potatoes, coleslaw, a side of tartar sauce, and the quintessential lemon wedge, served elbow-to-elbow with your family, friends, and neighbors. Your local spot is probably your favorite, but maybe you’ve sought out classic Wisconsin spots like the Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee or The Old Fashioned in Madison.
5. You get nostalgic at the mention of “the Dells.”
You remember burning your shoulders (and the bottoms of your feet) while spending the day at America’s Largest Water Park, then watching the water acrobatics of Tommy Bartlett in awe. And the smell of the chocolatey, sweet candies and fudge being poured, stretched, and pulled on over big metal tables in front of your eyes at Dells take you right back.
6. You know an old fashioned is best with brandy.
If you travel often or live outside of Wisconsin, you may have got used to an old fashioned made with whiskey. But nothing tastes more familiar than the sweet combination of muddled cherry, orange, and Korbel brandy, finished off with a splash of 7Up.
7. Your winter workout consists of snow removal.
Shoveling your sidewalk, driveway, and car out of ice and snow every other day between Halloween and May Day is a great cardiovascular workout — especially if it’s wet snow and a race against the clock before it freezes.
8. You don’t bat an eye at the concept of the “sausage race.”
The sixth inning of a home Brewers game is sure to have the famous racing sausages — Bratwurst, kielbasa, Italian sausage, hot dogs, and chorizo. After cheering on your favorite (Brett Wurst, of course), you’ll quench your parched throat with a beer and snack on a sausage.
9. You look forward to Terrace season.
The opening of the Terrace each summer should be considered a Madison holiday. The sight of the orange, green, and yellow chairs back out in front of the lake helps us forget the harsh winters and look forward to evenings with friends, live music, pitchers of beer, and the sweet flavors of Babcock ice cream.
10. You know the best fast-food restaurant started right here in Sauk City.
Shake Shack, In-N-Out, Five Guys, sure, they’re fine. But Culver’s ButterBurgers, with fried cheese curds and creamy custard are your fast-food go-to — no questions asked.
11. You have at least one item of blaze orange in your closet (or your dad does).
Hunting season is no joke. Thanksgiving can easily turn into a holiday more about deer than turkey. Us rural folks know how important it is to wear the color if you’re headed outside, regardless of whether you’re hunting or not. So, you definitely have a winter hat, a bandana, or maybe even a full blaze orange suit in your wardrobe.
12. You love coming back home.
Whether you’ve been gone for a weekend or a couple of years, you know you’re back in the Badger State when any day is an occasion to wear green and gold, there’s cold beer in the fridge, and you feel warmth in your heart when you hear words like “ope” and “uff-da.”