Minn. State Fair cheese curd legend to appear at Cheese Curd Festival


ELLSWORTH -- If you’ve ever attended the Minnesota State Fair, then chances are you’ve visited The Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds booth. Owner Dick Mueller and his family were the first to introduce deep fried cheese curds to the event in 1975. This spring Dick announced his plans to retire and it was hoped that he could pass the business on to his son, Tom, who would continue the tradition at the fair.

But it was not to be. After a diligent “Save the Curds” campaign and meetings with fair officials, it was announced this week that The Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds space would be offered to another fair vendor. Cheese curd fans from all over the region were disappointed when they heard the news.

Dick’s loyal followers in Ellsworth, Wis., were particularly saddened. Ellsworth is home to the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and is known as the official Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin. For 39 out of the Muellers’ 42 years at the Minnesota State Fair, they proudly served cheese curds from Ellsworth, working with the same contact at the creamery, Senior Specialist Joe Hines.

“We started manufacturing cheese curds in 1968,” said Hines. “Working with the Muellers and having Ellsworth curds at the Minnesota State Fair was a pretty big deal for us. At that time they were still considered a fairly new product. It wasn’t until 1984 that we earned our title as the Cheese Curd Capital.”

While it’s the end of a cheese curd era for the Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds booth at the Minnesota State Fair, the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery couldn’t let Dick go into retirement without some fanfare. The Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin holds a Cheese Curd Festival each year to celebrate the squeaky white morsels and they have invited the Mueller family for a special tribute to acknowledge them for their hard work and cheese curd advocacy.

At 7 p.m. Friday, June 23, there will be a short presentation. Dick and the boys will also be frying up one last batch of cheese curds for prosperity sake, and visiting with their customers, friends and fans. All are invited to come by and thank the Mueller’s for 42 years of cheese curd goodness and shake hands with the cheese curd legend while they share their State Fair memories over a boat of curds and a cold beverage.

The Cheese Curd Festival takes place Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June24, 2017 at Ellsworth’s East End Park on State Highway 10 and Wall Street. For more information about the Cheese Curd Festival, visit CheeseCurdFest.com or their Facebook page at fb.com/CheeseCurdFestival.

Submitted by Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce and Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery