Fahnenschwingen (literal translation: flag swinging) is among the oldest national sports of Switzerland. There are more than 50 moves divided into five categories for judging, all to be mastered with both left and right hands. Steve has practiced and performed this classic Swiss art for decades, and now helps to usher in the next generation of flag swingers.
At just 19 in 1946, Martha emigrated from Switzerland to Wisconsin with her husband, and she’s bolstered Monroe’s Swiss heritage ever since. Martha co-founded Monroe’s Swiss Club in 1952, and for 60 years(!) beginning in 1956, she produced and broadcast a radio show of Swiss folk music from Monroe station WEKZ. She still makes music today as half the duo known as The Swiss Chicks, though she says she’s more of an old hen these days. Read more about this lovely lady here.
A few years ago, Bill had the inspired idea to write murder mysteries to promote tourism. His tales are all set in Monroe, and a couple killings occur just steps from the historic courthouse in the town square (pictured). Bill’s novels are read by people all over the world, and you can order them yourself right here.
(Before you ask, the answer is no—of course I can’t recall any real murders in Monroe!)
Dan is the wonderfully down-to-earth owner and operator of the Wegmueller farm, a 4th-generation Brown Swiss dairy farm nestled in the idyllic rolling hills of Green County. He and his gorgeous animals always lead Monroe’s Cheese Days parade. If you’d like to visit and even try your hand at milking, book his house or apartment for a stay! Dan will treat you just like you’re one of his own cows. Well, you know what I mean.
The Joseph Huber Brewing Company was founded in 1845, making it the second oldest continually operating brewery in the United States. In 2006 it was purchased by a Canadian company and renamed Minhas Craft Brewery, but Huber beer and Blumers soda are still made there (you can buy them here). Louis oversees it all, and still finds time to serve as Monroe’s affable mayor.
Limburger is legendary, and Monroe’s own Chalet Cheese Cooperative is the one factory in the US that makes it. Its notorious odor is usually likened to feet because…wait for it…feet harbor the same bacteria that give the cheese its smell and texture. Jamie is the neighborly Master Cheesemaker at Chalet, where he’s just marked his 40th year. He kindly offered a tasting, so I can attest that Limburger’s bark is worse than its bite…although its bark is deafening. Here, try it yourself!
The Swiss Colony began in 1926 as a mail-order cheese shop run by UW graduate Ray Kubly from his parents’ basement in Monroe. It’s grown over time and acquired other businesses, which are now collectively known as Colony Brands. John’s been busy as President and CEO since 1986, but he still enjoys golf (well, the course is literally his backyard), acts in theatre, supports the Green County Humane Society, and follows Wisconsin sports. Here he exhibits his golf and acting skills…and his joviality.
The thoughtful, imaginative, and soft-spoken Zoli came to Wisconsin from his native Romania about 15 years ago and made Monroe his base of operations. Now his work is all over town—a new set of themed carvings adorn the town square each year, for example—and he travels throughout the region to create location pieces as well. See him at work here!
I spent the morning with the bright-eyed, lighthearted Lauren and her welcoming parents, Candee and Jay, at their beautiful 100-year-old farm. Lauren had just been named Green County Dairy Queen, a title given yearly by the Green County Ag Chest to one of eleven new community queens. The GCDQ has many duties during the year—high among them, a Cheese Days parade appearance.