MADISON, WIS. – The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin announced plans to bring the inaugural Art of Cheese festival to downtown Madison, Wis., and surrounding communities this fall.

The event includes behind-the-scenes access to creameries and dairy farms, as well as interactive classes covering topics such as cheese pairings and the art of affinage.

"Our research shows that people who really love food plan travel around great food experiences, and we know there are people all over the country who are extremely passionate about Wisconsin cheese," said Suzanne Fanning, chief marketing officer of Wisconsin Cheese and senior vice president of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. "We set out to plan the ultimate destination cheese festival of food lovers' dreams, and I think you'll discover that's exactly what we did.”

The artisan cheese festival, organizers shared, was developed for the “cheese obsessed.” Scheduled for Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, the weekend features a number of limited-ticket events.

One experience involves a bus ride to visit creameries, farms, cheese experts and award-winning chefs. A bourbon and cheese excursion starts with a cheese sensory class at the Center for Dairy Research, followed by bourbon and cheese tasting and a catered lunch by James Beard Award-nominated chef Daniel Fox at J. Henry & Sons Bourbon. There’s a Cheesemaking 101 class described as a mini-course in cheese science, a cheese fair and marketplace, and a Cheese Ball (with dancing and cheese), as well as other cheese-themed options.

For more details and ticket information – they go on sale starting July 13 – visit the festival’s page online at the Wisconsin Cheese website.