Harvest Fest will tractor back into GL Sept. 22 to 24

BRANTLEY NISSEN OF Brantley’s Bowlerama in Green Lake waves from a tractor with grandma Cindy Nissen. Aaron Becker photo

by Reagan Zimmerman

Looking for two days of non-stop fall celebrations for families and people of all ages?

Green Lake’s Harvest Fest might be just the answer.

The annual event will return Friday, Sept. 22 to Sunday, Sept. 24 for its 29th year.

“It is exhilarating because it is a whirlwind of activity,” said Alyssa Paulsen, Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s marketing and project coordinator. “It is like it is forever bustling for two days.”

Those days include everything from live music to farmer’s markets and typically draw thousands of people to town to celebrate the harvest.

The festival will get underway Friday at 5 p.m. with dinner and dancing at the Green Lake American Legion.

Saturday’s events will start at 8 a.m. with the Caestecker Library book sale, which will run until 4 p.m.

There also will be a new event Saturday morning as a relaxing yoga class will be offered at 8:30 a.m. under the gazebo in Friday Club Park.

It is set to last an hour and is free to the public.

For the remainder of the day, individuals may enjoy the annual Craft Faire with 100 vendors in Deacon Mills and Playground Park, the farmers market behind Town Square, kids activities in Playground Park, live music at Deacon Mills and Festival

Square and a cornhole tournament at 10 a.m at the Goose Blind.

These events are offered both days and last all day.

“We use, basically, this entire downtown area and both parks [Playground and Deacon Mills Park] for this festival,” Paulsen said. “It is huge.”

The Harvest Fest parade begins at 4 p.m. and will travel around downtown.

According to Paulsen, the festival’s busiest time is during the parade.

Adding to the popularity is the festival teaming up with Green Lake High School to combine the festival weekend with the school’s homecoming activities.

The parade will feature class floats, school teams and local businesses and organizations.

“I get really excited about the parade,” Paulsen said. “The streets are just layered with people and it is cool to see how many people you do have at Harvest Fest because most people are up walking around all day but during the parade, they are all in one place.”

A street dance then will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 10 at the Goose Blind.

Saturday night also will feature the monthly Town Square Bingo game, set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Harvest Fest also will feature a chainsaw carver, who will be making his first appearance at the festival.

“He will be carving four pieces and one of them will be [a prize] for our raffle,” Paulsen said. “The second place for our raffle will be able to select what wood carving [they like] from the four.”

First prize for the Harvest Fest Raffle will be $1,000 in chamber bucks and the third place winner will get $200 worth of chamber bucks.

The raffle and silent auction will run both days. Winners will be chosen Sunday at the end of the festival.

The Taste of Green Lake also will be open all day on both days along Mill Street.

Service groups and local restaurants will partake in showcasing their local food to the public.

Sunday will be exactly like Saturday except it will feature a pancake breakfast at the American Legion Post 306 from 7 to 11 a.m., an outdoor church service at Deacon Mills Park at 9 a.m. and a motorcycle and car show at Goose Blind from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These events have been going on for many years and the festival has been passed down from staff to staff as a tradition.

Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liane Walsh believes this event will be one that will last because it is unique and a real community event.

“I think it is just something that people have grown to love,” Paulsen added. “Everybody has a favorite part about it and it is special.”

The chamber is still looking for volunteers for this year’s festival.

For more information or how to volunteer, call the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at 920-294-3231.