Sheboygan is known as the Bratwurst Capital of the World. Founded in 1846, Sheboygan was already known for its German population by 1849. On a side note, Green Bay is known as the Toilet Paper Capital of the World. That’s because the first “splinter-free” toilet paper was made there. Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear that in the titles of two cities, Sheboygan got the better end of the deal.
The schooner Lottie Cooper met its fate in a storm while docked outside Sheboygan on April 9, 1894. As part of the dredging for the Harbor Center Marina, the remains of the Lottie Cooper were recovered in 1992. The surviving section of the keel is 85 feet long and constructed from a single timber. The reassembled remains of the Lottie Cooper are on display in DeLand Park. It is the only exhibit of its kind on the Great Lakes.
Being the Bratwurst Capital of the World comes with certain responsibilities, and Sheboygan lives up to them during the annual Brat Days festival. Thousands of people converge to celebrate the mighty wiener. Over a four day period, approximately 15,000 brats are consumed in a variety of ways, including brat tacos, brat egg rolls, and brat jambalaya. One of Sheboygan’s most well-known brat makers, Miesfeld’s, makes over 5,000 brats a week during the summer in a wide variety of flavors. That’s a lot of brat.
Don’t like your local news, weather, and sports options? Move to Sheboygan. Since Sheboygan is located about 50 miles north of Milwaukee and 64 miles south of Green Bay, residents can choose TV and radio stations from either city.
In 2012, the four Rotary Clubs of Sheboygan County kicked off a new way to fight hunger. Making Spirits Bright is a drive-through holiday lights display running from mid-November through mid-December. The light displays are all made by volunteers. While there is no admission to Making Spirits Bright, attendees are asked to donate non-perishable items to help stock the shelves of local food pantries. What’s in your pantry?
When you watched the sailing competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, you may have noticed that Women’s Match Racing was a first-time Olympic sport. That was thanks in large part to an international grass roots effort that began in Sheboygan. Match racing is big in Sheboygan, as are most water sports, including one you might not expect to find on the Great Lakes: surfing.
Good Morning America has called them the “best bathrooms in America,” but there is much more to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center than the artist-created restrooms. Established in 1967 and now totaling 99,000 square feet in gallery and performance space, the center reaches 160,000 people a year. That’s more than three times the population of Sheboygan. Best of all? Admission to the galleries is free. Admission to bathrooms is too.
People from Sheboygan are proud of the name of their town and like to use it in as many ways as possible. A resident of Sheboygan is a Sheboyganite. And while Sheboygan is a noun, it’s also a verb. “How do you Sheboygan?” is shorthand for “How do you spend your time in Sheboygan?” With so many things to do, it’s a great question. That’s why the organization Sheboygan Tourism held a contest challenging people to make a video that answered the question, “How do you Sheboygan?” You can find some of the proud entries on YouTube, sure to include a mention of the Brat Days.
Sheboygan County juts out five miles into Lake Michigan. Winds of 20-25 mph out of the west southwest or northeast create rideable waves that turn Sheboygan into the Malibu of the Midwest. Peak surf season is mid-September to March, and swells of 24 feet or better are produced several times a year. Of course, with water temperatures barely above freezing, sub-zero wind chills, and moving ice flows, Sheboygan surfing is quite a bit different from Malibu. Instead of shark bites, you have to look out for frostbite.
Did you already know these details about Brat Days and surfing? Check out our fun facts about Fox Cities.