Splash: Hungry for fun? Take a bite of Green Lake this summer

REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE Thrasher Opera House show their American spirit while chanting from their parade entry, driven by Dan Jorndt, at last year’s Fourth of July celebration in Green Lake. Jorndt’s co-pilot is his grandson while other grandchildren help out from behind.   Reagan Zimmerman photo

by Maic D’Agostino

Summer, maybe more than any other season, is a time for the senses.

Our childhood memories are connected to sights, sounds and especially smells that link a time and place with the experience of that moment.

Summer especially transmits back to us the sparkling waters, the warm breezes and the smoky cookouts that have defined our concept of the season.

Maybe you remember driving around a lake with the windows rolled, blasting the soundtrack to your summer from your car speakers.

Or maybe summer for you is the smell of a late-night bonfire under the stars when the smoke permeates your soft clothes like a deep perfume.

Or it could be a favorite movie you first saw at a drive-in theater, lying in the bed of a pickup truck, and every time you see that one scene you remember where you were and who you were with.

And, of course, we all remember tastes that we associate with hot days: ice-cold lemonade from a young entrepreneur’s stand; a big scoop of frozen custard from a roadside shop; charred brats striped with grill marks; or fried cheese curds still dripping oil as you walk the fairgrounds.

Anywhere in America, kids and adults alike build castles of summer memories from these sensory cornerstones.

And Green Laker Country is no different.

So it should be no surprise that the area again will offer a sensory overload to help mix the mortar of memories for years to come.

With the heat wave we’ve been waiting for finally arriving, cool off this summer at Ripon’s new splash pad in Riggs County Park. It’s a fountain of spraying fun that can make all ages feel their youth again.

Green Laker always starts its summer off with a splash, too, with the annual Splash into Summer and Chalk Walk offering downtown family fun Saturday, June 9.

Meanwhile, Markesan always marks summer with its tribute to Dairyland with its June Dairy Days.

This year, you can milk all the fun you want out of the three-day event beginning Friday, June 8. The Dairy Days parade will be held Saturday, June 9 in the evening.

While Green Lake already is known as a city of festivals, a new one will begin this summer.

The first-ever Freeland Film Festival kicks off Friday, June 15 and runs through Sunday, June 17.

Besides a host of films, many of them documentaries, that will give insight into important and vital topics surroundings conservation and ecology, the festival also will include music, galleries, discussions and more alongside its robust film schedule.

After each Green Laker community celebrates its own brand of July Fourth fun, they’ll come together for the annual Green Lake County Fair, set for Aug. 2 through 5.

If that isn’t enough to satisfy your food cravings, chomp on some of the Midwest’s golden crop at the Berlin Boat Club’s Annual Corn Roast Aug. 10 and 11 at Riverside Park.

And while all that and more should be more than enough to satisfy the tastes and smells of summer for you, the sounds can be covered by outdoor concerts, the Green Lake Festival of Music and the inevitable boom of fireworks — officially sanctioned or not.

Remember to be safe this summer as you take it all in and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that only a Green Laker summer can offer.