The Kids from Wisconsin is part of an entertainment tradition that goes back nearly 50 years to its beginnings as a musical production created for Wisconsin's talented youth back in 1969.
The Kids from Wisconsin program was conceived and developed in 1969 by the late Mark Azzolina at the behest of then Wisconsin State Fair Board Chairman, Herbert P. Velzer and Fair Administrator Vernon G. Wendland. They were acting on a request by the late Governor Warren P. Knowles who, given the turbulence of the late 60's, wanted to show the nation the best face of Wisconsin's youth.
Retired from the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, Azzolina hand picked a musical staff to select and train the Kids at their first 17-day camp. More than 400 young entertainers were auditioned, and 60 achieved positions in the first edition of the Kids from Wisconsin. Since then nearly 900 young artists have participated in the program with many going on to excel as performers, music educators, college professors, entertainers, choreographers and top professionals in a wide variety of fields. We are very proud of our alumni and the role the organization has played in their growth.
In 1982, Kids from Wisconsin, Ltd. became an independent, non-profit corporation. A board of directors was formed. Governor Knowles became a member and the first Vice Chairman of the Kids from Wisconsin Board. A contract was negotiated with the State Fair for daily performances during its 11-day run each year. Kids maintain offices at the Fair Park administration building in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Performing live annually for more than 100,000 across Wisconsin and the Midwest, the Kids from Wisconsin presents top of the line entertainment with some of Wisconsin's most talented performers ages 15-20. The revue is produced in collaboration with some of this country's best writers, arrangers, and choreographers. Costumes are designed and created in Broadway style, adding to the already exciting performance that include American favorites, big band, 50's- 80's classics, Motown, country, Broadway and current top hits, filling a two hour fully staged performance.
Performing at State and county fairs, community concerts, fundraisers for non-profit organizations such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and other organizations, have helped organizations earn thousands of dollars for their organizations.
The Kids from Wisconsin, to this day, maintain a large presence at the Wisconsin State Fair with performances twice daily on a main stage.