Chamber prepares to host city-wide celebration
By Eileen Persike
The month of May is part of what people in the tourism industry call the “shoulder” season. Snowmobile and ski season is over and summer has yet to begin. To add a little flair to this shoulder month, staff at the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce is introducing Hodag Heritage Days, May 17-21. The week will feature Hodag-themed art contests, scavenger hunts, decoration contests, Hodag food and beverages, culminating with a designation ceremony and a “parked parade.”
Pioneer Park Historical Complex and the Hodag Store are partnering with the chamber on this first-of-its-kind event.
“We really want to give people a reason to celebrate, to appreciate each other and our heritage,” said chamber events and program coordinator Rachel Boehlen. “We are providing a mix of in-person activities and virtual activities along with focusing on our local business partners. We encourage everyone to join in; this event is for you!”
Check the May 12 issue of the Northwoods Star Journal for more information, and visit rhinelanderchamber.com.
Some of the events on tap:
• Hodag mini statue scavenger hunt: Follow the clues that lead to the hidden mini Hodag, bring it to the chamber and receive a coupon for a sweet treat from a local business.
• Hodags Throughout the City scavenger hunt: Pick up an information sheet at the chamber or print one from the chamber website and have fun combing the city for Hodag murals and statues. Turn in the completed check list and receive a Hodag prize bundle.
• All Things Hodag items list: Check rhinelanderchamber.com the week of May 17 or the Northwoods Star Journal’s May 12 issue for the complete list of all Hodag-related food, beverage and retail items throughout town.
• Hodag Heritage videos: Kerry Bloedorn of the Pioneer Park Historical Complex and Ben Brunell of the Hodag Store will post a new video showcasing the area’s history on Facebook each weekday May 17-21.
• 3D Hodag art contest: Decorate a 6-inch Hodag statue with the theme, “History of the Hodag” in mind. All artwork will be on display at Tom’s Drawing Board. Judges from Tom’s Drawing Board, Diane’s Frame Shoppe and ArtStart will choose the winners. For details, visit rhinelanderchamber.com/hodag-heritage.
• Flat Medium art contest: Use paint, colored pencil, pencil to create art representing “History of the Hodag.” Artwork will be on display at Diane’s Frame Shoppe and a panel of judges will choose winners in the children’s and adult categories. Prizes for top finishers! For details, visit rhinelanderchamber.com/hodag-heritage.
• Hodag Spirit contests: Include a business category, one for homeowners and of course, a contest to decorate yourself! There will be pride on the line, along with prizes.
• Tour de Hodag bike ride: Enjoy the beautiful outdoors via a bike ride on the Bearskin Trail. The ride will be led by Val Foley and will be for bikers of all skill levels.
• Friday events: Wear your green and white Hodag garb Friday, May 21 for the final day of the Hodag Heritage celebration. Join the Rhinelander Chamber for the Parked Parade at Pioneer Park from 3-5 p.m. At 4 p.m. the Hodag Heritage Ceremony takes place. Expect some music from the RHS band, arrival of the one and only Hodag, a few speeches and an official proclamation by Mayor Chris Frederickson.