Life is short, take it cheesy.

The Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival is back to pre-pandemic operations for its 21st event on June 24-25 in East End Park. 

“The [last two] annual events were both drive-thru due to the pandemic,” said Kim Beebe, executive support staff for Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce. “We’re looking forward to once again hosting the big cheese curd party fans have grown to love.”

The festival will include cheese curd dishes, musical performances, marketplace for art, crafts and locally grown veggies, 5K/10K run, classic car show, 20 food trucks and more.

Admission, parking and shuttle services are free. 

“You could describe the event as part food and beer celebration, and part music festival,” Beebe said. “Attendees get their fill of hand-battered deep-fried cheese curds and curd-infused dishes, along with craft beer, regional wines and hard ciders. To top it all off, an eclectic mix of music and interactive tastings create a unique experience for adults and kids, alike.”

Cheese curds will – of course – be the star of the festival. 

“Our tradition has been to select a different signature cheese curd flavor for the event each year to give guests something new to taste,” Beebe said. “This year in addition to Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery’s famous natural white cheddar cheese curds, we’ll be frying up pizza flavored cheese curds and serving them with marinara sauce for dipping.”

For dessert, festival goers can try the new deep-fried Cinnamon Sugar Cheese Curds for a sweet twist on the usually salty snack.

Each food vendor – including The Big Cheese, Smokey Treats BBQ and The Original Minneapple Pie – plans on serving at least two creative curd dishes.

Event schedule

June 24

  • Marketplace Vendors. Shop from regional and locally sourced crafts, art and food from 4-7 p.m. on Broadway St.

  • Craft & Curd: Paired. “It’s the ultimate brewery face-off! Six local breweries battle it out for best brew and cheese curd flavor pairing. Who will win? That’s up to you–You’re the judge for this intense (and tasty) competition,” according to the festival website. 4-6 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Musical performance by Lisa Wenger from 4-5:30 p.m. at the main stage.

  • Classic Car Cruise-In & Show from 5 p.m. in the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery parking lot.

  • Performance by Kevin Lombardo from 5-7 p.m. on the point stage.

  • Performance by Brooke Elizabeth from 5-8 p.m. at Broadway St. Parklet.

  • Corks & Kegs Tasting Event. “Plan to take part in the tasting experiences offered during the festival. Corks & Kegs adult tasting experiences feature local and regional craft beer, wine and hard cider. A happy hour like no other, enjoy unlimited sampling and light appetizers while visiting with the brewers, crafters and reps,” according to the festival website. 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Performance by Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys feat. Westside Andy from 7-9 p.m. on the main stage.

  • Performance by The Average Janes from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on the point stage.

June 25

  • 5K and 10K run at 8 a.m. Runners start at the Ellsworth Elementary School and end at the festival grounds.

  • Run awards at 9:30 a.m. on the main stage.

  • Marketplace vendors from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Broadway St.

  • Performance by SPF-30 from 10-11 a.m. on the point stage.

  • Milk & Cookie Pairing. “Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, there’s something special about milk and cookies. We’ve specially paired five flavors of milk with five popular freshly baked cookie flavors,” according to the festival website. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Performance by Johnny O & Fillet O Soul from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the main stage.

  • Performance by Sarah VanValkenburg from 12-1:30 p.m. on the point stage.

  • Ice Cream Tasting. “Families won’t want to miss the Ice Cream Tasting, a one-hour real dairy flavor celebration featuring creative combinations,” according to the festival website. 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Performance by Jim Stairs & Squishy Mud from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on the main stage.

  • Performance by Tim Fast from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Broadway St. Parklet.

  • Cheese Curd Eating Contest. 2 p.m. on the point stage.

  • Block Party. “Join us for a Block Party dedicated to the cheese lover in all of us! You’ll take a delicious trip around the state as you sample unique Wisconsin cheeses, each with their own Claim to Fame,” according to its website. 2-3:30 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Performance by The Dairy Aires from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on the point stage.

  • Craft & Curd: Paired. 4-6 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Performance by Matt Yetter from 4-7 p.m. at Broadway St. Parklet.

  • Performance by Winter Dance Party from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the main stage.

  • Performance by Why Worry? And the Fret Band from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the point stage.

  • Corks & Kegs Tasting Event. 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Taste of Wisconsin.

  • Performance by 50’s-60’s Music Revue from 7:30-9 p.m. on the main stage.

Space is limited for the Corks & Kegs, Craft & Curd: Paired, Wisconsin Cheese Block Party, Milk & Cookie Pairing and Ice Cream Tasting events. Tickets are required and can be purchased online or at the festival prior to the event.

To purchase event tickets, find parking, and get all other important information, visit CheeseCurdFestival.com.

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