Uncle Greg

Really, 50 years?

Older we get, more time we spend in the past, it seems. Opened our favorite Madison WI daily newspaper to find a remembrance of a significant development in the history of Wisconsin’s dairyland. Our uncle, Greg Blaska, led the way to transform a two-year failed experiment in 1967-68 — a food exposition — into the World Dairy Expo, the biggest dairy industry convention/show in the world. Uncle Greg would say, “Anybody can see food by going to the supermarket.

After a transition period, Greg was chosen as president of the Expo in 1971. He held that position for 31 years. This group of visionaries focused on the dairy industry, its capital-intensive equipment needs, and the stars of the show: world-class dairy cows. 1,600 exhibitors show cows competing in their own breed classifications for honors; over 800 exhibitors display their equpment and services.


Greg World Dairy Expo 1971


Visitors from throughout the world attend World Dairy Expo, always held the first week of October. Almost 50,000 attended the Expo just concluded. It’s the biggest event at Dane County’s Alliant Exposition Center; its the main reason the 100,000 square-foot Exhibition Hall was built adjacent to the Coliseum (which brother Mike and I voted to build while serving as county supervisors). Later, the New Holland pavilions (totaling 290,000 square feet) replaced nine rather ramshackle livestock barns. (Great history of the Expo here.) The Expo fills up hotel space for five days throughout the Madison metro area.

In the early years, Greg farmed in partnership with our dad, Jerome, on adjacent farms east of Sun Prairie. Dad specialized in field crops and politics, Greg in dairying and cooperatives, becoming one of the executives in Associated Milk Producers Inc., which was created by the merger of 28 farmer-owned dairy cooperatives. Later on, Greg founded The Oaks golf course a little northeast of Cottage Grove, still operated by his family. (Come out to their fun “Oaktoberfest” this Sunday afternoon 10-10-21.)

Blaska’s Bottom LineUncle Greg passed away in 2003 at the age of 78. Like all Blaskas, he loved talking politics and (except for the misfit proprietor of this blogge) playing cards. He was even elected to the Sun Prairie school board as was his son John (also unlike a certain blogguer.)

Have YOU attended World Dairy Expo?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in Tales from the front lines, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Uncle Greg

  1. Jane Blaska says:

    yes i have visited the Dairy Expo — one stop to see some pretty awesome cows

    Like

  2. georgessson says:

    A very nice time capsule of productive life in simpler times. And we had Society Pages to report other smileworthy happy events concerning stolid citizens & friends back in the day. Now? Cop shot right here in River City, and cop injured after stopping an erratic driver. Sigh….

    Like

  3. Bill Cleary says:

    David,

    I was at this years World Dairy Expo as someone working there in a part time capacity. I worked there on Friday night and Saturday during the day. My work station was inside a public building that had signs everywhere telling people that they had to have a mask on while inside the building. There were people from all over the state, the country and even the world. I waited on people from Canada, South America, Europe and Asia as well as the United States. The one thing that amazed me was that between 95-97% of the people inside the building did NOT have a mask on! I found the same thing in other buildings that I went into that also had signs in them requiring people to wear a mask.

    I had to wear one as the company I worked for required us to have one on at all times.

    I thought, how strange that Dane County did not enforce its own mask mandate, even on its own property. Makes one wonder why it extended the mask mandate? Makes one also wonder, do Dane County officials really think that requiring everyone to wear a mask while in an indoor public building save lives?

    Since I worked there I have been tested for Covid and the test came back negative.

    So all I can say is that if we have a massive outbreak of Covid right here in Madison and Dane County well we will certainly know what the super spreader event was that started it.

    Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s