When it comes to anniversaries, gold is the traditional gift for the 50th, and diamonds are for 75th. But what do you give for a 180th anniversary? According to Madison, Wis.-based Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, it is cheese.

Wisconsin has been making cheese even longer than it's been a state, the organization said, and this year marks a big milestone. To celebrate the state’s 180th anniversary of cheesemaking, dairy farmers and artisan cheesemakers from across Wisconsin have donated their most sought-after creations. One grand prize winner will have the opportunity to custom design his or her own Grand Towering Cheese Wheel Cake, to comprise their preferred selection of enviable Wisconsin Cheeses.

The Great Wisconsin Cheese Giveaway event on May 26 is consumers’ chance to take home the world’s most awarded cheeses while supporting a very "Gouda" cause, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin said. When they register for the virtual event, consumer will be entered for a chance to win one of 180 prizes in honor of 180 years of cheesemaking.

On Wednesday, May 26, an entire month of in-store, restaurant and online promotions celebrating Wisconsin Cheese will culminate in a virtual event featuring award-winning cheesemakers, surprise guests, education, musical performances and yes – the chance to win 180 prizes from the State of Cheese! Tune into the Wisconsin Cheese Facebook or YouTube pages on May 26 at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET to watch the event live.

Registration for The Great Wisconsin Cheese Giveaway opens May 13 at noon CT/1 p.m. ET and closes May 25 at 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m. ET. Registration is free and unlimited for this event, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin said. Entrants have a chance to win a host of exclusive prizes, including:

  • The Grand Towering Cheese Wheel Cake.
  • World Champion Roth Grand Cru Surchoix – an entire wheel of this championship cheese.
  • Exclusive, first taste of Hook's 15-year aged cheddar before its fall 2021 release.
  • Quarterly curd drops – seasonal shipments of fresh cheese curds from four different makers.
  • Assorted gift baskets – featuring cheeses inspired by Wisconsin's European roots, the best blues, a cheddar flight or spicy favorites.
  • Too Gouda to Be True – a quarter wheel of award-winning Marieke Gouda.
  • Limited-edition cheese lover's box – featuring an exclusive, curated selection of fun Wisconsin cheese swag and a $50 gift card to shop for Wisconsin cheese.

"We are proud to honor the incredible creativity and mastery of our state's cheesemakers as we host this final event for American Cheese Month," said Suzanne Fanning, chief marketing officer for Wisconsin Cheese and senior vice president at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. "Wisconsin cheesemakers continue to craft award-winning cheese rooted in centuries of history and heritage, as we've highlighted in retail, at restaurants and online all month long. We're also thrilled to provide an opportunity to support a fantastic cause during this last event with the Great American Milk Drive."

To make dairy more accessible to millions of people across the country, attendees are invited to donate to The Great American Milk Drive at the time of registration. The program helps deliver fresh milk to Feeding America food banks, which serve communities nationwide.

Wisconsin is the nation's leading producer of specialty and award-winning cheeses, the only state that requires a license to make cheese and the only place outside Switzerland with a Master Cheesemaker program, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin said. Look for the Wonders of Wisconsin cheese displays at more than 7,000 grocery store locations throughout May as retailers nationwide put a spotlight on Wisconsin specialty cheeses during American Cheese Month.

Official contest rules may be found at WisconsinCheese.com/Contest-Rules.