"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 :)
We are always looking for a new way to celebrate our country’s birthday. This year, we went to The Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums to celebrate! This place has been on our bucket list for several years so we took this opportunity to go!
We arrived just before the museum opened. We did the mine tour first before it got more crowded. Join us on the tour, led by a young man named Garrison. It was sure fun! It was also much cooler inside the mine than outside and it felt good!
After the tour, we rode the mine train, join us!
There was just as much excitement going on inside of the museum building. The Music and Schoolroom had many working music machines of the late 19th and early 20th Century.
We heard a Regina music box, cylinder music boxes, mini-organs and such. Even a player piano. Hear and see them below!
After a long hard winter, the first thing Madisonians want is a parade, and they get the first one of the year on St. Patrick’s Day. The parade promenades around the Capitol Square and usually lasts about an hour. Here is the 2019 parade, many entries this year.
Our dear friend Vi was in the parade last year, this year it was too cold. She has the best costumes!
After the parade, the fun continued on State Street. At the top of the street is Teddywedgers, where you can pick up a delicious pasty. There is an apartment above where a couple was watching from above. They hammed it up for my camera 🙂
A couple even got married that day, they were getting photos taken.
The fun continues as we head down the street, happy people are enjoying the warm weather (in 2018) and it’s even bringing out the street musicians.
We were hungry for corned beef and cabbage so we looked for a place to get some for lunch. We chose Nick’s on State. They have been there since 1959.
A delicious meal on one of Madison’s favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day!
Green County Cheese Days in Monroe is back again, and this year I planned on taking the Barn Quilt and DeVoe Dairy Farm Tour. I had not done this before and I was excited! Our guides are Kris Winkler and Lynn Lokken. I went alone since Al couldn’t come with me on Saturday. The tour was sold out with over 60 people filling the bus!
We headed out at 11 AM, Kris and Lynn gave a running commentary during the tour. We saw a great many barn quilts. To do your own tour, you can get the map from the Green County Visitor and Activity Guide. There is a pull-out map in the middle of the publication. You can also see a Google map of the barn quilt locations from the website, Green County Barn Quilts. We saw as many as we could in 2 1/2 hours. Here is a small sample of the quilts we saw.
Kris and Lynn also pointed out several businesses and cheese-making places along the route. The first was Rackow’s Family Sausage with the distinctive pink silo!
This quilt was mentioned but we didn’t see it on the tour. This one was modeled after a scuba diving flag, a sport we participated in together for many years. It’s called, “Live and Let Dive”, #141 on the map.
On the tour, we also got a sneak preview of a brand-new goat and sheep dairy farm that is still in development. It’s called Ms. J and Co. This farm will be able to provide sheep and goat milk on a larger scale to cheese producers in Wisconsin. They are predicted to come online in 2020. It’s possible we may get a tour here at Cheese Days in two years!
The last time we were in Columbus for July 4th was in 2012 so we decided to go back. The parade started at noon and it was wonderful! It lasted nearly two hours. The Parade Marshalls. (click to enlarge)
Watch it here.
After the parade we headed to Fireman’s Park where all of the festivities were taking place. There was a carnival also, Mr. Ed’s Magical Midways.
The main attraction that drew us here was the First Brigade Band from Watertown. They were in the parade. They are a Civil War-era band, complete with instruments that were played in the 1860’s. We knew about them but never saw them perform before. See them below.
At this point, rain was threatening. The next show was Ballet Folkloriko Mexico. They were also really good, but it began to rain half-way through their performance and they had to cut it short. They had someone also getting video, but they had to stop because of the rain. I held my hat over my camera to keep it dry! You can see my video below.
And that was the conclusion of our July 4th celebration in Columbus. We had a wonderful time here today! Let freedom ring!
Today was a special day in the Village of Oregon. Oregon is a big believer in preserving their heritage and history. They proved that again by not tearing down their historic “Tin Man” water tower. Instead, they chose to restore it and light it up! Tonight is the inaugural lighting of this Oregon landmark. The Pump House below the tower was previously restored and now the tower is too! It was also open that evening.
Before that, it was time to enjoy a concert by the Oregon Community Band. It takes place at Waterman Triangle Park downtown. They have entertained Oregon since 1981. Jim Baxter is the current Conductor.
Enjoy the concert too! At the end of the show, the Tin Man Water Tower’s lights were turned on for the first time!
A beautiful evening in Oregon, Wisconsin. This community preserves their history in a way that all can enjoy.
Nestled within the 102 4th Avenue Retail Center on the Baraboo Square is the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center. The museum’s Executive Director, Greg DeSanto, made this valuable resource a reality in Baraboo on May 21, 2010. He saved this museum, the artifacts were in storage for four years after it failed in Milwaukee. It originally was in Delavan, also a circus town. We met him on our visit, such a funny guy! Not surprising, since he is also a clown, along with his wife, Karen. Learn more about Greg here.
Since we were here for the Big Top Circus Parade, learning more about the history of clowns was a great addition to the day. We could tell by the festive appearance of the doorway it was going to be a fun visit!
Tours are conducted daily at 2:00 PM June through August.
Winter Hours: From September through May we are open by appointment only.
Admission: $8.00 Adults $5.00 Children Under 12
See our tour here, conducted by Toto Johnson in 2019.
Toto began the tour by introducing the three kinds of clowns.
Inside is a large room with displays dedicated to famous clown past and almost present. Displays change often as they got donations of artifacts.
On our visit in 2017, Sandy Weber conducted the tour. He also designed the beautiful signage you see throughout the museum. He covered topics like the clown’s roles in history and pointed out the artifacts from their performance days. Most artifacts have been donated by family members of each clown.
Toto Johnson was our guide in 2019, his anecdotes really made the tour special! He had the full attention of the kids on the tour! Toto is on the museum’s Board of Directors and his enthusiasm is contagious! In the photo, he’s telling the kids about the clown car and how as a young clown in the 1980s, he had to be the first one inside the car. The highest-ranked clown stayed outside, their role was to open and close the door! They never had to even had to get in. He worked for the Ringling Brothers in 1986, after graduation. Toto attended the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown Collegein 1985 and a documentary was made. The video plays on a screen at the museum.
Click to enlarge.
They also had a great exhibit for Happy the Clown, Jim Williams, formerly of Circus World Museum. I saw him perform there in 1980, my first visit to Circus World Museum. He passed away in 2015 at age 71 😦
Bobo‘s tiny clown car, I don’t know how he got in, he was about 6’3″. He kept that a secret! One good guess is that he began his circus career as a contortionist and used those skills here. Clowns are indeed athletes in makeup!
A short video of Bobo Barnett getting out of his car, complete with luggage and dogs. Amazing!
His daughter, Christiana Barnett-Murphy, has a YouTube channel with more video. She also wrote a book about her experiences of being this famous clown’s daughter.
Speaking of interesting clown vehicles, the bathtub car. It was driven during the Big Top Circus parade!
An important circus secret to preventing infection to cuts is Sea Breeze. Toto told us how they kept this on hand to keep cuts from getting infected.
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!