The gate is now open from the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market at State Fair Park to the Hank Aaron State Trail! As of last weekend, you can now take the trail and ride right into the parking lot at the Tommy G Thompson Youth Center at 84th and Slinger. Credit goes to Melissa Cook, WDNR Trail Manager, for working with the State Fair to get the gate open this year.
Since the Winter Farmers Market opened two years ago, I have been riding on the Hank Aaron State Trail until it gets too snow-covered (That section of the trail is not plowed).
While I love taking the trail to the Market, the nearest connection to the State Fair grounds used to be at 89th Street. This was particularly frustrating because I had to pedal right past the Tommy Thompson Center, but I could not get in because the gate was locked. It is really nice to be able to ride right into the market and park at the bike racks outside the main entrance.
With the unseasonably warm temperatures predicted from the 60s and 40s, you shouldn’t have to worry about the the trail being blocked by snow for some time to come. Long term it would be wonderful if we could get this section of the trail plowed through the winter. The section to the east through the Menomonee Valley is generally plowed by the City and the property owners that abut the trail. That section also serves as a sidewalk, so it must be cleared of snow according to City of Milwaukee ordinances. This section is pure trail and the major property owners west of the valley are the Urban Ecology Center, the VA Center, and then the Wisconsin State Fair.
If you have not been to this winter farmers market, I encourage you to check it out. It has a vendors with a wide variety of locally grown produce you would not think you could get in the winter, like peppers, greens, leeks, etc. Of course you can get cheese, eggs, pasture raised chicken, beef and pork, but there is also Elk and locally produced charcouterie like dry-aged salami and prosciutto. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.