"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!
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.
The Belleville UFO Day is a great excuse for the community to put on their Halloween best and look like an alien. This festival became a yearly event for the last 30 years after a UFO was spotted by police on January 15, 1987 at night. Read about it here.
Al covered the whole event since I had a prior commitment. The day begins at 10 AM with a Color Run, an increasingly popular event at many festivals nowadays.
After the Color Run is a great parade, a green alien is their mascot. Al recorded the parade, enjoy!
The weather was warm and sunny so that really posted attendance. After the parade people went to Library Park where the festivities were held.
We had just found our viewing spot at the post office, it was a great place to see the 2 1/2 hour parade. I was glad then we didn’t bring our chairs or tripod, there would have not been enough room for them. SO many people were here to watch the parade.
The parade is beginning! A solemn procession of brown Swiss cows leads the parade. This symbolizes bring the cows down from alpine meadows in Switzerland to the lower elevations.
Soon after that were the Almost Famous “Dancing Cheesemakers” , excellent performance!
Cheese Days is THE festival we have eagerly awaited all summer. Green County celebrates it’s Swiss and cheesemaking heritage at this festival. It is so big and takes so much planning, it only occurs biennially. This year celebrates the 100th anniversary and was it BIG! Enjoy this slideshow I created with the official Cheese Days song, sung by Rudy Burkhaltar and Martha Bernet in 1967.
It is held downtown with the beautiful courthouse as a backdrop. The whole square is filled with booths and tents with concessions, food, beer and entertainment. There is such demand for cheese curds, you have to get tickets before getting in line for the curds. We didn’t, it was almost parade time and there was so much to see before it started at 12:30.
Famous cheese sculptor Sarah Kaufmann was also there, carving a piece of cheese right there. We were so lucky to meet her, even had a picture with her 🙂 She was sponsored by the radio station The Big AM 1380- WEKZ.
On Saturday (we were in Cambridge for their fall festival) they made a wheel of Swiss Cheese right at the festival at this booth.
They also had a knock-off of the American Gothic cut-out you could get your picture with, funny!
It was 12:15 and we had to find a spot for the parade QUICK. We found a good one at the last-minute, up high above the crowd at the post office, just off the square and on the parade route. It was a great vantage point we will have to remember next time in 2016. Read next article about the parade.
This is the 4th and last festival of the summer in this near-east side part of Madison. It’s sponsored by Commonwealth Development and Wilmar Neighborhood Center.
Many consider this one to be the best,including myself. It occupies several blocks of Williamson (Willy) street and is full of vendors, three stages and lots of happy people. My first one was in 1997, two months after I met my husband.
It begins on Saturday, occupying one block. Sunday is the big day, three blocks of fun! The parade is at 11:00, come watch last year’s parade.
You need to get a t-shirt too, it supports the fair and neighborhood. They are made by Wildwood Productions.
The balloon arch over the street is a staple at the fair. It’s the gateway to fun!
Interesting people and dogs.
And don’t forget the many creative costumes! “Fish Guy”
This was in 2011, we were all caught up in the fantasy of the moment. This character pretended to “capture” this girl. Surprised mom below.
Sunday is the big parade, even more costumes and it feels like Mardi Gras! Jim Wildeman’s Bubble Mobile is a staple at the fair also. And the Wacky Wheeler. Here is some more coverage of the 2012 Fair.
Fat Pinky Glass puts on an impressive glass-blowing demo while a large crowd looks on.
We went to the fair this year on a Sunday. Sunday is our favorite day to go because of the exciting parade. Participants include business on the street, along with regular people just wanting to be part of it all! You can watch the parade below. And yes, “Fish Guy” was in it, asking for worms 🙂
After the parade we enjoyed the entertainment up and down Willy St. This year there was also a biggest pumpkin/watermelon competition. The Bubble Mobile® always has a throng of people around it. It is the only day out of the whole year we see this magnificent car! See this and more in the video below.
I barely scratched the surface of all the fun at this fair. Lots of live music also with three stages on Sunday, one on Saturday. To really end summer right, this the fair to go to!
You know summer is getting close to over when Wisconsin‘s local sweet corn is ready to harvest. This festival is a big draw and runs from Thurs-Sunday.
The kick-off is Thurs. evening at 6:00 with a big parade down Main St. The Grand Marshalls are Colonel Corn and Fairy Queen of Corn (Or Countess of Corn).
The “Salt Tree”, an outdoor clothes dryer hung with salt shakers, a fixture at the corn fest.
The corn tote booth, on it’s way to Angell Park. It’s $7 for a tote of corn in 2016.
See the 2016 parade, they usually are about 1 hour long.
On the grounds at Angell Park is the festival, also a carnival and Midget Car racing in the evening.
Time for corn! See the ritual in my 2015 video.
We got our corn. We always bring plates and cloth napkins to make eating easier. We bring a plastic bag for the ears we don’t eat.
Now for buttering the corn, yum! I wish you can smell it.
Everyone eating their corn on the hill while watching the entertainment on the stage.
After eating we went down to the midway. See some of the action in 2015.
First, a funny selfie.
We often find friends here too.
Colonel Corn makes the rounds to take pictures with people.
The original Colonel Corn retired (Dick Jellings) after 21 years, making way for a new person to wear the costume in 2014. His name is Chad Peck. I think he did a fine job as Colonel Corn, and we got a new picture with him in 2015.
We enjoy coming to Corn fest every year for fun times and making great memories.