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Even: The cheese does not stand alone
Melissa Even

For those of you who are new to this, welcome to Monroe during Cheese Days! 

For those of you who have spent your lifetime in Cheese Days celebrations, I hope you still get butterflies in the old basket. Each year I get a little more excited than the year prior. I think it is because my kids have grown up on Cheese Days and they now love coming back to Monroe to celebrate. 

Whatever the reason, we sure have a great community, and I for one, could not be prouder. 

It truly is a homecoming for them. Each year, the Cheese Days Board of Directors comes up with new and fun additions. I, for one, am looking forward to the traveling musicians. I thank Noreen Rueckert and her fantastic board for their dedication to holding such a famed festival right here in Monroe. The crown jewel of the weekend is the Colony Brands Cheese Days Parade. It is fantastic to have such a spotlight cast on our community. To support the group’s efforts, the members of the Chamber of Commerce are all busy preparing for the event with extended hours, volunteering at the different events, setting up and tearing down while playing host to the 100,000 visitors we will see. One thing is for sure, we know our cheese and how to get people excited for it. 

It just so happens, there is more to September than Cheese Days. Hard to believe there could be more. September has also been proclaimed as Chamber of Commerce Month. We have the luxury of a strong and committed business community that sees the value in promoting Monroe and working until they drop to ensure care for its people. Our agricultural industries are the cornerstone of our tourism. We are blessed in many ways to have such a unique combination. This gives us the perfect opportunity to not only showcase what businesses do for a community but to also thank them for everything they do all year to move our community forward. 

So, after all the work is done it will be our turn to thank our Chamber members. We are giving them the chance to sit back and enjoy a relaxing tailgate party from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Chamber. 

We will be grilling up some great brats and serving some of the best side dishes that Pancho and Lefty’s can make. It is a small thing that we can do to say thank you. Our Board of Directors President Tim Wolff will be doing the grilling honors this year. Stop by and enjoy a lunch on us. 

We plan to have some tailgate games and music to give us a true tailgate feel. The Cheesemakers are away that day and the Badgers take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, so we plan to start the weekend off right. 

In addition to this we are offering new businesses the opportunity to become chamber members.

 Any new business that joins the Chamber in the month of September will have a chance to win a free year’s membership. Join us and make Monroe a great place to work, live, shop and play. We know local is the best way to live and we welcome our visitors to experience Monroe.  

— Melissa Even is the executive director for the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at