Johnsonville’s World’s Largest Brat Fest – Metcalfe’s in Madison

Every Memorial Day weekend from Fri-Monday

Brat Fest has been an annual event in Madison since 1983.  The first Brat Fest consisted of one grill and one drink stand.  Late owner Tom Metcalfe is seen here at the grill. Now in the 2000’s, his sons Tim and Kevin run the event.

Photo by Metcalfe’s at Hilldale

The host grocery store is Metcalfe’s.  In 2005, it relocated to Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center.   A great many charities raise funds working at Brat Fest, my husband and I often volunteer to assist the two organizations we are affiliated with.

The organizations we assist are NESCO and the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin.

It’s so much fun too, and we enjoy grilling best of all of the volunteer jobs they have. Here we are in 2013.

Let’s go down memory lane, this picture was from Labor Day weekend in 2002, when it was held in the Hilldale parking lot. it got too big for that and moved to Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center.  However, it is only once a year now instead of twice.    Every year they try to set a new record with number of bratwurst sold.  The brand is Johnsonville.  They even have a vegan choice for non-meat eaters. Also Oscar Mayer hot dogs for non-brat eaters.


Here are more recent photos of Brat Fest.  This is looking across to Willow Island.


The Weinermobile used to be there too, not recently though.

Weinermobile 2012 Bratfest

In the early years at Willow Island, Johnsonville brings their “World’s Largest Grill” to show off. Very cool! This was in 2006. That year they took pictures of you in front of the grill with a Polaroid.


Big Taste Grill facts

Laurie & Al 06 sm

This the brat Tent where all the brats are sold.

Brat Tent

Behind the tent are many grillers working hard.  I am usually put in charge of the veggie brats since I am so careful with them.



Condiment tent, everything including sauerkraut, onions, relish and ketchup and many flavors of mustard. Yum!



A new addition a few years ago, roasted corn.  Not local corn, that’s not until July/August. Still yummy though. Al posed with the Corn Lady. And here we are last year posing with a friend of ours.

Roasted cornCorn Lady and Al

Selfie with friend at Brat Fest 2014

Get your mementos here at the Brat Gear tent. There are new items here every year.

Brat Gear

A special ice cream is also sold just at Brat Fest by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Bratfest Cookie Dough. Delicious!


There is not just great food here, there is also a carnival and four music stages as well as fair food at the carnival located in the parking lot.

musicstageCarnival at Brat Fest in Madison

Even the Budweiser Clydesdales stop by occasionally. You won’t leave here hungry or un-entertained!

Clydesdales at Brat Fest

Also kayaking for the kids by Rutabaga.

Rutabaga Kayak

See video of some of the action in 2017.

I hope you had fun, see you next year!

ThankyouBrat Fest Bench

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5 thoughts on “Johnsonville’s World’s Largest Brat Fest – Metcalfe’s in Madison

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