Making Tracks: Festivals offer something new for Northwoods residents
Summer in Northern Wisconsin is usually marked by several things: mosquitoes, garage sales and festivals. As cliché as those three things may seem to residents of the area, they really do ring true to the preoccupations of many people who spend their summers up north.
Seeing as that it’s already June, festival (and mosquito) season is fully upon us. Typically marketed towards out-of-towners, festivals may seem to be created to simply drive tourism into our towns. On the contrary, I’ve found the true benefit of the many area festivals is the opportunity to find something new about the area you live in.
During my time living in Chicago, I found that the city has as many, if not more, festivals packed into its neighborhoods than the entire Northwoods combined. Each weekend, the biggest question my friends and I faced was which street festival to hit-up or which ones were close enough to each other to combine into a truly whirlwind affair. Clad in our “festival outfits” (e.g. shorts, vintage T-shirts, and dark sunglasses), we spent much of our summertime exploring and experiencing the flavors, sounds, and scenery of each different neighborhood.
The best weekend was always the one in which your own neighborhood played host for that week’s festival. It seemed like an opportunity to show off the merits of the area you lived in and to be proud of its unique attributes. What always surprised me though, was that I often found out as much about my own neighborhood as my visiting friends did. The street festivals highlighted the businesses and people that I walked by everyday but never got to truly appreciate.
The same can be experienced here in the Northwoods, and with a lot less parking and traffic headaches. Our festivals, fairs and craft shows not only draw visitors to our towns but give residents the opportunity to fully experience the offerings and history of the places they live.
When considering weekend plans throughout the Northwoods, think about the fun memories that can be made and interesting things learned by attending community events like the Boom Lake Log Jam in Rhinelander, Beef-a-rama in Minocqua, and Cranberry Fest in Eagle River. With the eclectic mix of crafters, food vendors and visitors at these events, you’re sure to learn something new about the community you live in.
Dana DeMet is available at 715-365-7464.