"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!
Just a little north of Rhinelander is the town of Lake Tomahawk, population of 1,160 in Oneida County. This is a beautiful region of the Northwoods with many activities nearby. We arrive about 6:30 AM to a peaceful downtown, only the fishermen are up, getting some supplies and maybe bait for a day on the lake. There are plenty to choose from, more than 15 in this area.
At J & J Sports, they can take care of your fishing and hunting needs. Open 6 AM to 9 PM. You can also get wild rice, harvested by the Ojibwe Indians who live in this part of the state. Learn more about this history here. Get your boat launch stickers here too if the Chamber is not open.
Lake Tomahawk is also known for an unusual sport, snowshoe baseball. The residents bemoan the end of winter when they have to put the snowshoes away, so they found a way not to! Games are played in July and August. Here is a video, we didn’t get a chance to see this sport when we were here. There is a wood carving dedicated to this sport just outside the Chamber of Commerce.
Other businesses, the brand-new Tamarack Tap, opened on July 1, 2015.
Curdfest took place the same day as Ride the Drive and on our way back home and it looked like a lot of fun. It took place at the Madison Mallard’s baseball team stadium. Cheese is big business in Wisconsin and cheese curds are a favorite snack. This festival serves cheese curds from MANY businesses and you have the chance to vote for your favorite!
There was quite a crowd when we arrived, we realized it would be the last time inside these gates until our first game next summer. We got in line at the Curd Girl food cart. This was the only cart we stopped at and cash was low. We made a good choice though, they were delicious!
There was so much more to see, a petting zoo for the kids drew a crowd. The animals were so cute!
Madison is lucky enough to have a minor league baseball team, and a popular one at that. They are called the Madison Mallards and the head mascot is Maynard G. Mallard. We get to at least one or two games a year. In 2015 and 16 and 17 we got the 7-Game Ticket Package which included a brat/burger before the game. Some days you will find a petting zoo outside the gates.
New for 2015, the Maynard Zip Line. $3.00 for two times. Here are a couple kids having fun.
Every home game begins with the National Anthem, then Maynard going down the zip line.
Due to the team’s success, they had money for extensive renovations and spared no expense to make the game fun for attendees of all ages. They won the Northwoods League Championships in 2013, way to go! Also made it to the Championships in 2015! They made it to the first playoff game in 2016, which we attended. They didn’t win but they had their best season ever, an average of 6,500 fans coming to each game.We are glad to have been a part of it!
Before the game begins, they have a “First Pitch”. This is when a person from a featured group(s) of the night get to pitch the ball, then they receive the ball as a memento. Al had the honor of participating in this on 6-28-2014. He represented the Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin.
There is something new for the fans every year. In 2015 was the debut of the Pizza Bus. Inside is a wood fire oven to cook your pizza to perfection. Yum!
The Mallards also produce a series of bobbleheads each year, these are from 2016. We attended the playoff game in 2016 and managed to pick up Maynard in the pizza bus and Dancing Rick, part of the entertainment at many games the last 2 years. In 2017 at a sale I picked up the Big Dog bobblehead.
Many fun rituals are part of the atmosphere at a Mallards game. Concession people go through the stands selling beer and snacks to the fans. One guy was especially memorable in reciting his offering in 2010. The last item on his list was beef sticks. When he said that, everyone around him said it too, funny! See for yourself, the “Beef Stick Guy”.
Here are more funny concession guys that we saw in 2014 and 15. Here they are like ducks in a row before a game. The one on the right hawks beer and is so funny!
Another ritual is the singing of “Sweet Caroline” in the stands near the end of the game.
We always have a good time when we go and sometimes catch special moments of fans near us. The girl just caught the ball and gave her aunt a high 5.
You never know what you are going to see there, they have lots of little breaks to amuse the kids. Once they paraded out a pig, in honor of all the bacon offerings on the Mallard’s food menu.
On July 9, 2016, hilarity ensued when these inflated characters entertained the audience with skits and dancing.
Kids don’t have all the fun here, here are most of the games played during game breaks by the adults. All were from 8-4-15.
In this game, the kids run with fruit costumes on. Funny!
Of course, the game itself is fun to watch. Many games continue until night, even with summer’s long days.
Sometimes, the games even conclude with fireworks.
Take a good look at the Duck Blind, because it is going to be renovated for the 2017 season. Here it is in 2009.
Here it is now.
If you love baseball or just a fun night out in the summer, coming to a Madison Mallards baseball game is economical and fun for the whole family!
The sun sets on another great Mallards season, see you next year!