"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 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.
Marshall is a village with an interesting history. All told it had had 4 names, finally becoming Marshall in 1859. It all began in 1837 when Andrew & Zenas Bird and Aaron Petrie eyed the Marshall area as a great place to settle down after working on building the state Capitol. In 1838 the Bird’s place burned down and the first name was Bird’s Ruins for over a decade. The other names were Hanchetville and Howard City before finally becoming Marshall, named after Samuel Marshall.
We came to Marshall in 2016 because near this community is the darkest spot in Dane County for viewing the stars, the Milky Way core in particular. We weren’t disappointed. We did see it faintly and we will be back when we have a camera better suited for astrophotography. Here is our result. You can check the light pollution in your area here for star viewing.
We were near a farm and at dawn it really looked beautiful in siliouhette.
Marshall has 9 parks, and we visited three of them.
We started with Veterans Memorial Park on the west side of town. The village’s historical Bandstand from the late 1800’s is here also. The memorial was completed in 2008.
Next we headed to Lion’s Park. The Lion’s Club maintains these grounds and many community festivals are held here. The next one is the Riverfest on August 10. This park has a beautiful Rain Garden and is on the Maunasha River, the same river that runs through nearby Waterloo. The river also helps grind product for feed for Blaschka Mill, visible from the park across the road. On our return visit in 2016, we saw a new feature, a carved lion! Also a Free Little Library.
The view was just as pretty at dawn on our 2016 visit.
We were just leaving the park when I saw an animal crossing the busy highway, a Snapping Turtle! We RAN over to the road, Al tried to pick up the turtle, it nearly bit him! A large truck was coming and Al held up his hand to stop traffic. Someone from one of the stopped vehicles was able to help, he picked up the turtle by the tail and dropped him into the river. That turtle didn’t look real happy. At least his life was saved, our good deed for the day.
After that heart-stopping moment, our next stop was Blaschka Milling Co., one of the oldest working grist mills in Wisconsin. The history of this mill goes back to the early days of the village to grind the wheat, oats and other grain brought in by local farmers. The mill towers over the river.
Owner Pat Wells was there that morning, she is partner with her brother Bill Blashka. They love to talk to their customers and were happy to pose for a picture with us. We took this in the office, still heated by a pot-bellied stove in the winter.
They sell lots of products geared toward sustaining livestock. There wasn’t anything grinding when we arrived, but were happy to let us look around.
If you need anything, give them a call at (608) 655-3444. Their hours are 8:30-12 /1-5 Monday-Friday. 9-12 Saturday, Sunday closed. Thanks for your kind hospitality Pat and Bill!
After visiting the mill we explored downtown. There are many businesses to serve you here. The first one you see from the mill is a Subway sandwich shop. In the same building is Greenline Construction and Remodeling.
In April 2016 after our star viewing we enjoyed breakfast at the Marshall Café and Restaurant. Breakfast was delicious and we will definitely be back again. The restaurant is located in Marshall Square Mall at the western end of Main St. There is also a Kwik Trip across the street.
Fireman’s Park is a great park with many facilities for groups large and small. This park is by the river with lots of shore for fishing and water sports. Also a great playground for kids. Since no kids were around at the time, we had some fun! Al hammed it up at the other end of a tube slide.
Marshall is really a great place for kids. This park also has a baseball diamond.