We hope you have enjoyed Figi’s History Part 1 and Part 2. If you haven’t read, or would like to re-read those posts, you can access Part 1 (it all started at a kitchen table and and how to pronounce “Figi’s”) HERE. You can access Part 2 (the fascinating connection between Figi’s and Mount Everest) HERE. With that, we’re on to the connection Figi’s had with the world’s largest cheese and the 1964-1965 World’s Fair.
Figi’s 20th Anniversary Celebration
On a Saturday evening in 1964, 800 guests attended Figi’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in rural Marshfield, Wisconsin. The grand affair consisted of a tour of the Figi’s facilities, cheese and wine tasting, and the opportunity to view, get this…a 34,951-pound cheddar cheese created for the Wisconsin Exhibit at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. That’s over 17 tons of cheddar! This mammoth cheddar, known as “The Golden Giant,” was made for the Wisconsin Cheese Foundation for the express purposes of promoting Wisconsin cheese around the world.
The Golden Giant
The Golden Giant was manufactured by Steve’s Cheese near Denmark, Wisconsin (not far from Green Bay). The process took 43 ½ hours of continuous work by a crew of 25. The crew included four Wisconsin cheese makers who had won the famed “World’s Champion Cheddar Cheesemaking” award. Approximately 170,000 quarts of milk was used to make this mammoth cheese; it was the largest single piece of cheese ever made! The Golden Giant’s dimensions were 6 ½ feet wide, 5 ½ feet tall and 14 ½ feet long. The Golden Giant was made rectangular rather cylindrical (as most mammoth cheese are shaped) so it could be transported by truck or train.
In April of 1964, the Golden Giant was loaded into a special glass sided trailer and transported by diesel tractor to the New York World’s Fair – Wisconsin exhibition area. Interesting trivia: the semi trailer and a replica of the Golden Giant cheese are still on display in Neillsville, WI – just a few miles from the Figi’s corporate office.
Touring with the Cheesemobile
It is estimated that the Golden Giant , was seen by 12 million people during the two years of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. After appearing at the Fair, the “Cheesemobile” toured the United States, stopping at major cities, various expositions, fairs and shopping centers, carrying the story of Wisconsin cheese to the nations. And to think:, the Golden Giant debuted right here in little Marshfield, Wisconsin at a Figi’s 20th Anniversary Celebration!
2014 marks our 70th year and we thank all of our customers for supporting us through the years. Thanks for reading gourmetmarket.com; we’ll be back soon with more fun stories to share with you soon. Oh, and if all this ‘cheese talk’ has made you hungry, like our mouse friend below, check out our fantastic selection of cheese gifts and gift baskets here.