The coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Wednesday, September 16
Fans of the children's book and new animated flick Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be able to indulge in some meatball mania with a movie-themed cooking class. Bean Sprouts Cafe, 6719 Frank Lloyd Wright Ave., Middleton, 9:30-10:30 a.m., $20. Also on Saturday, 9:30-10:15 a.m. Call 826-6986 for more info.
Thursday, September 17
Whole Foods is holding a community support day, donating 5% of all sales to Slow Foods UW. Members of the student organization will be at the grocery store to talk about their programs. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 8 a.m.-10 p.m., with students present from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Urban farming pioneer Will Allen is giving a special presentation this evening as a preview for the Wisconsin Book Festival in October. The founder and director of the Growing Power agricultural project in Milwaukee who was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship last year, Allen will be sharing his thoughts about innovating agriculture in cities. Ironworks Catering will also be providing food for the event. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 6 p.m., free.
The inaugural edition of the Go Big Read program created by UW-Madison continues tonight with the near-west side book discussion about In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Blue Valley Gardens owner and science writer Susan Lampert Smith hosts this gathering. Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd., 7 p.m., free.
Friday, September 18
Greenway Station hosts Middleton's Largest Coffee Break this morning as a networking opportunity for Dane County businesses. A benefit for the Middleton Outreach Ministry, the event features complimentary coffee from Starbucks, free bakery treats, a gift bag for the first 100 attendees, and live music. Greenway Station, on Greenway Boulevard in Middleton, 9-11 a.m., $1 donation requested. Call 824-9111 for more info.
Saturday, September 19
Autumn harvest celebrations are sprouting up across the state this weekend, starting with the Potato & Pumpkin Harvest Festival at an organic farm near Avoca, located south of the Wisconsin River between Lone Rock and Muscoda. Enjoy hayrides, dig for potatoes, pick pumpkins, bob for apples, and partake in the rest of the farm's organic produce. Meadow Brook Farm, 1547 Meadow Brook Rd., Avoca, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 608-532-6905 for more info.
Another celebration of the season's bounty can be found at the Wine & Harvest Festival in Cedarburg, just 20 minutes north of Milwaukee. This two-day party, now in its 37th year, is centered on the abundance of homegrown Wisconsin eats and the wines of the Cedar Creek Winery, complete with a farmers market and a broad array of food vendors. The festival also features live music, a scarecrow contest, Arts on the Avenue, the Great Pumpkin Charity Regatta, a Grape Stomp, and plenty of other fun fall activities. Cedarburg, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, free. Call 888-894-4001 for more info.
Here in Madison, summer festival season comes to an end with the Willy Street Fair, returning for a 32nd year to the beating heart of the near east side. This two-day celebration stretches three blocks, and offers seven stages of music, street performers, arts and crafts vendors, a glorious parade, and a feast of cheap eats sold by food carts and restaurant stands lining the party from end to end. Williamson Street, 800-1000 blocks, 1:30-9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, free. Call 257-4576 for more info.
Go Big Read hosts two more book discussions about In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan today. The first is at the South Madison Library, 2222 S. Park St., at 1:30 p.m.; the second is at the Stoughton Library, 304 S.4th St., Stoughton, at 2 p.m. Both are free.
Alliance for Animals is holding its sixth annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off tonight, with prizes awarded to both judges' and attendees' favorites. All entrants are to be cooked on site, cannot contain any animal products, and must be at least two gallons in volume, as samples will be served to chili fans attending the event. Isthmus features editor Linda Falkenstein is among the contestants, and will be serving her "Half Century Chili." Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 5:30-8 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students, $3 for children under 8, and free to all contestants. Call 444-1340 for more info.
Sunday, September 20
Enjoy the fruits of the season at Heritage Fest, an annual harvest celebration in Waunakee, complete with horse-drawn wagon rides, fiddle music, home-baked goods, a vegetable growing contest, and a sweet corn roast. Schumacher Farm County Park, 5682 Hwy. 19, Waunakee, 1-4 p.m., free.
Harvest is marking nine years of slow food on the Square with an anniversary dinner tonight. Tickets are $75, non-refundable, and include both food and wine; 21 N. Pinckney St. Call 255-6075 for more information.
Monday, September 21
Learn how to prepare a gluten-free Mexican Market Dinner with Otehlia Cassidy. This co-cop class focuses on the creation of four salsas: Tomatillo-Avocado Verde, Habanero-Pinapple, Mild Pico de Gallo, and Roasted Tomato-Pepper. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 for members/$25 for non-members. Call 251-6776 for more info.