"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 :)
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.
Winter Hours: From September through May we are open by appointment only.
This was the building in 2016.
The building in 2017/18.
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 entryway it was going to be a fun visit! Tours are conducted daily at 2 June through August.
Inside is a large room with displays dedicated to famous clown past and almost present.
The clown giving the tour was talking about the clown’s roles in history and even had some artifacts from their performance days.
Bobo‘s tiny clown car, I don’t know how he got into that!
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!
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.
This is our 4th Cesky Den and we were happy we could come back again. Here is the full schedule of events. Admission is $10 and includes a souvenir button and you get entered into a raffle too!
They have made some changes since our first time in 2013. The festival seemed mostly adult oriented our first time, now they have added more modern attractions the kids are enjoying these days. The morning began with a Color Run, first implemented last year.
Also a bounce house for the kids.
I still miss the Yuba Hillsboro Czech Singers, they have not been there for a few years. At least I have the CD they produced a few years back. It has traditional Czech songs sung in Czech. Here are the liner notes. This picture is from our first time in 2013.
Notice the cool backdrop? It shows businesses in Hillsboro.
Enjoy the Color Run and the Opening Ceremony below.
The Cesky Den Royalty
Inside the Fireman’s Community Center is where most of the fun takes place. The polka bands provide plenty of music for dancing, and people love to dance here.
Speaking of dancing, Cesky Den isn’t complete without a performance by the Domaci Dancers, talented children in the community keeping Czech dances in the forefront. I’ve watched the older children grow up over the last 4 years. Now they are helping teach the younger ones. Denise Huntley heads the Domaci Dancers and has done a wonderful job! See this year’s performance below.
You can get your traditional Czech pork dinner here too, it was delicious! Here is the menu.
I got the cookbook they had for sale, recipes for the same food so you can make it at home too! It was only $5.
Photo by Al Kutil
Czech bakery items are also for sale, Kolachy, Rolicky (poppyseed rolls), and more!
After lunch, we headed over to the craft show. There was also a vest-making free workshop for the kids. We plan on having vests to wear next year!
You can even get a picture behind a cutout, kids too!
It’s the time of year Columbus has been waiting for, Redbud Days. This annual celebration celebrates the Redbud tree, prominently displayed all over the city. Read more about the history here. Many of the redbuds are descended from one especially hardy tree that lived over 60 years, it was on 537 West James street. It lived from the 1940’s until it had to be cut down in 2001. It’s unique genetic makeup was preserved and the tree’s “children” are all over Columbus, 48 on city property alone.
We began the day by visiting some of the great garage sales around town. Found some great buys and had fun! Many people had redbuds in their yard, some quite large.
Back downtown for all the fun! Every year, a new Redbud Prince and Princess are chosen in a competition by children entering the contest. The ceremony was at the Columbus Senior Center.
Each child is interviewed and a panel of Judges choose the winners. See the ceremony here.
The kids were wonderful and all are fine representatives of Columbus. They will all go far.