"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
Harrisville is home of the ”LARGEST One Day Brat Fest in the State” and after seeing it for ourselves, we believe it! It is the 57th Bratfest. Harrisville is an unincorporated community located in the town of Harris, Marquette County, Wisconsin. The population is 729. First some of the history, the Harris Town Hall. It was built in 1899, Greek Revival in design.
Near the town hall is a flag pole with a plaque on a rock. It is the Harris Veterans Memorial.
On the side of the Sportman Club building on the fest grounds is a beautiful mural depicting Harris history. Click on picture to enlarge. It was completed 7-9-12. Learn more about other murals in Marquette County here.
Now back to Bratfest! Here is the schedule, plenty of fun to be had for people of all ages!
The community is small but hundreds of people come here from all over for this annual fundraiser for the Harris Volunteer Fire Department. There is a lot of entertainment to be had, pedal pulls for the kids, tractor pulls for the adults, volleyball, baseball, rides, music and more! After many years of Madison’s Brat Fest, it was fun going to one in a different community. The volleyball competition.
There was a pedal pull competion for the kids, we saw that too in Wonewoc during their Old Fashioned Day festival.
This is training for the Tractor Pull, also happening at this festival. Admission was $15 per person. We looked over the fence. The Harrisville Tractor Pullers Association has many competitions through the summer and fall. See their Facebook page for updates. Below is their BIG sled. The schedule for the day.
K & M Rides and Amusements LLC from Phillip, WI provided the carnival and even pony rides.
See the carnival and more in the video below.
Souvenir T-Shirts for sale too, I got one!
We heard music from two groups, the first one was Southbound. They are from Milwaukee. They played at the tent in the main fair grounds by the town hall and fire station.
The 2nd group was the Star Fire Family band from Readfield, WI. They were also wonderful! See a little of both groups on the video.
We had a great time at this Bratfest, different than the Johnsonville’s World’s Largest Brat Fest. The emphasis here is supporting one entity, the Harris Volunteer Fire Department. We’re glad we went. “Barney Brat” hopes you come back next year!
Token Creek is an unincorporated community that is part of the village of Windsor. The town of Burke also has some sections here as well. We are going explore Token Creek, past and present.
We had the pleasure of celebrating July 4th here in 2017, so much fun! They distill July 4th to the basics, honoring all veterans , joining family and community together for a day of fun. A favorite tradition is holding hands and singing along to Lee Greenwood’s famous song, God Bless the USA. They call it the “Circle of Freedom”. See it here.
Token Creek also has many businesses on Portage Road and Highway 19. A popular restaurant is on the corner of Hwy 19 and Portage Rd is the Paddle Inn. We need to eat there sometime.
Turn right at the corner and you find several more.
Gentle Breezes Hot Air Balloons has been giving you a ride to remember since 1990. Before that there was a different balloon company here called Token Creek Balloons, different ownership. At one time, the water tower near our home was painted with their logo. It now is blue and says “DeForest”.
Next is the parks, Token Creek cares about the wildlife in the are and makes sure they have a place here too. Token Creek itself is still a work in progress. Across 19 from Portage road is a sign about that.
Continue down the road and you will get to the Token Creek Conservancy, where the old grist mill used to be.
At this pond behind the sign, only the disabled are allowed to fish here. Just beyond this sign is the Token Creek marker you see at the top of the page.
A little past here is more of the park and the cemetery where the Veteran’s Remembrance Ceremony was held on July 4th. First the bridge over the creek.
The mill used to be in this area, now a beautiful park. To the left of the parking lot is the cemetery.
Keep walking streight ahead through the parking lot and you will soon come upon a bridge over the creek. Also a plaque on a rock to the right of the bridge.
Here you will find the other marker in Token Creek, near the park entrance.
You can camp here too.
Enjoy the pine forest with many mature trees.
I enjoyed my visits to Token Creek. To learn more about the community in the 19th and 20th centuries, I have a copy of this book, Token Creek by Mae Bork. The book is now out of print, but I found a copy here if you are interested.
We have gone to many different communities to celebrate Independence Day, but it was a first for Token Creek. It is an unincorporated community located in the town of Windsor. It may be small, but they do July 4th differently, their focus is on honoring Veterans.
The morning began with a Veteran’s Remembrance Ceremony which we attended. Here are the acknowledgements. It was a fitting tribute to the reason we were celebrating to begin with.
See the ceremony below.
After the ceremony we returned downtown where the festivities were just getting started. We were lucky enough to set up across from the center of the action, the parade central area set up by Juke Box Bandstand, hosted by Marc Lovicott.
They are a professional DJ service that work at weddings and community events, providing music where you want it! They did a fantastic job all day. I was especially impressed by how they had songs cued up for each entrant in the parade, I never heard that before. Each group had to provide their own music at other parades we have been to.
Before the parade at 1:00, we visited the stands set up, the Token Creek Lions Club at the center of it all. This amazing group does so much for the community. They provided lunch with a Brat Fry, yum!
Also a raffle with great prizes!
For dessert we enjoyed Kettle Korn by Matty. She donated $1 back to the Lions Club for every bag sold, it was delicious!
The games were about to begin, let’s join in the fun! Children decorated their bikes for the parade.
Next was the hula hoop competition. Then a game I never saw before. Pass the water balloon via toilet plunger backwards to a waiting strainer to catch it in the back. They did a good job! Also some dancing before and after the parade. See all this below.
Parade time is here! We begin with the Presentation of Colors, something I participated in as a Girl Scout. Afterwards, the entire audience participates in a unique tradition called “The Circle of Freedom”. Everyone holds hands and we all sing along with Lee Greenwood’s song called, “God Bless the USA“. It was a very touching experience, this July 4th celebration managed to capture the unity we felt right after 9-11-01. The parade began right after that. See all here.
Not surprisingly our good friend Vi was in the parade. No parade is complete without her. She has the best outfits and biggest American spirit!
We had the best July 4th ever and hope to return next year! This event requires volunteers to keep it running, also donations.
Now for a little humor, the Circle of Freedom reminded me a lot of how the Whos in Whoville sang around the Christmas tree in How the Grinch stole Christmas. I put this concept to life and you will see what I mean.
We had fun, if we can go we will volunteer too next time.