Fall into Green Lake’s largest bash

After searching through the pumpkins, Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s Liane Walsh, left, and Roberta Martin pick out their favorite pumpkins in anticipation for Green Lake’s Harvest Fest.

Harvest Fest set for Sept. 23 to 25

by Hannah Tetzlaff

Like Cinderella’s pumpkin, Green Lake will transform into an enchanted town boasting all things fall Friday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 25 in celebration of its 28th-annual Harvest Fest.

One of the newest additions to Green Lake’s largest end-of-summer bash is the harvest dance, which will take place Friday, Sept. 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. in the American Legion building.

“[It’s] something they have never had [before],” Green Lake Area Chamber Executive Director Liane Walsh said. “Normally, we don’t have a Friday night event, but the Legion is stepping up this year to do something.”

The idea for the dance was inspired by a suggestion.

“We had somebody approach us about having some music for the weekend and nothing was going on,” Legion Commander Mark Kramer said. “They travel around the state to these dance halls and there was nothing right close by, so he thought it would be great idea. We decided to give it a try.”

He noted music will be provided by an accordion player who performs waltzes, polkas and other music by request.

Based on the draw of the Harvest Festival, Kramer believes the dance can bring in a decent-sized crowd.

“Nothing was going on Friday evening and I know we’ve got a lot of vendors in town and it is big weekend, so I think it will be a nice attraction,” he said. “A lot of people like to come to see what the Legion [building] looks like and the different [events] that we’ve got going on in there, so I think we should get a lot of attendance. I think it will be fun.”

There is no fee for the dance, but sandwiches and drinks will be available for purchase.

Besides the Friday night dance, the chamber also is incorporating its own additions such as the rubber-duck race and a bar right by the

Jack Taylor Memorial Car Show Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The bar at the fairground was by request,” Walsh said “We get around 600 cars in our show, so there are a lot of car buffs out there that want to stay with their vehicle and be able to have something to eat and drink. And the duck race is ever popular; people love it at the fourth of July, so we thought we’d bring it in and try it out at Harvest Fest.”

She added the craft faire, which will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will sport dozens of new crafters at the festival grounds.

Highlights of the festival include the Taste of Green Lake series. The event features food booths by local service organizations Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and local restaurants Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other activities consist of Harvest of Bargains at Thrasher Opera House Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the farmers market on Water Street, Haven’s petting farm at Playground Park along with face painting, games and Sink the Bismark Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the downtown parade presenting the Harvest Prince and Princess Saturday at 4 p.m.

Though the weekend offers many memorable activities, the best memory Walsh has of the bash is of her family.

“Watching my husband and sons walking around the car show and sharing an interest is kind of a neat thing to see,” she said. “I [also] always volunteer to bar tend, so just the people you can meet and conversations you can have [is nice.]”

Like Walsh and her family, many come to Green Lake to celebrate Harvest Fest.

“It’s estimated that we swell to approximately 10,000 people that weekend,” Walsh said. “It’s big. For a first-timer, you’ve got to see it to believe it.”

To help with transportation, the town offers a free shuttle service from the Green Lake County Fairgrounds to the downtown area.

For more information on the Harvest Fest weekend and the activities offered, visit www.visitgreenlake.com.