What started 65 years ago as a celebration for the conclusion of the summer season, a time for the seasonal workers to declare "all-done-till-next year" and exhale, has turned into THE place to be!! The only place to be!! This was our very first fall fest. The weather was beyond perfect. It was glorious: a sweatshirt or a sweater and you were good to go. It's MEGA huge, truly the grand-daddy of 'em all. That doesn't even begin to describe the fun! Three days of craft fairs, a mongo-parade with marching bands & fire trucks & real floats and Miss WI riding a convertible, and brats riding bikes (actually) & bagpipes & clowns, were then followed by pancakes, brats (the kind you actually eat), a corn roast, Greek gyros, chicken pot pie soup, spaghetti & meat balls on a stick (just how does that work?) traditional carmel corn and roasted almonds, 600 pumpkin pies sliced & served in a cup, pumpkin soup, pumpkin ice cream and beer served in every possible conveyance...... everything you can think to eat, you name it: FUN! They close down the highway. You gotta seriously wanna come, 'cuz there's no road to get there. Tens of thousands figured it out and we had a cat-bird seat, one block from all of the rock bands & polka bands & jazz bands & garage bands & & & old-time wanna be bands and inflatable castles & bungee jumping & antique cars................ well maybe you get a glimmer.
The three days of small village jocularity & personalized hats, concluded with a variation on the tradition ping-pong ball drop. For decades a helicopter buzzed over head and dropped thousands of ping-pong balls. After years of happy ping-pong nonsense, some well-meaning 'local' turned the village into the FAA for wayward ping-ponging. So for the last couple of years, the three days have had to conclude with a make-shift alternative: an open air rescue truck driving slowly thru the throngs with several air-launched vacuum tubes, launching continuous streams of ping-pong balls. The truly trained had blankets, or buckets or boxes to scoop up oodles of the little white orbs. Some earned the finder a free t-shirt, others got a meal, some got discount spending...... You haven't really seen a small town festival, until you've seen the scrambling over ping-pong balls. Wow. Postcard picture to be sure.
My favorite image of the whole weekend was the pack of Cub Scouts leading the parade, with the banner prompt to stand tall, respect the flags and appreciate what can blossom in a small village with goats on the roof. So glad to get to be there for the festivities!!