Green Lake Community members work to decorate downtown Green Lake with festive fall decorations in preparation for the city’s biggest event of the year, Harvest Fest. Maic D’Agostino photo
by Hannah Tetzlaff
When the sky turns gray, the air becomes crisp and the trees are decorated in splashes of red, yellow and orange, I know my favorite season has arrived.
The time of year when I can step outside and smell burning leaves, crackling campfires and roasting marshmallows, taking me back to fragrant-rich memories of camping.
For me and my family, autumn meant camping, late- night talks around the campfire, making s’mores, cooking hobo pies, playing games and going hunting.
When my family would go camping with my cousins in late October, we would create a day full of Halloween festivities.
Our activities included a web of yarn that we had to escape from, a doughnut eating contest, a pumpkin carving contest and a spooky candy trail through the woods.
The haunted trail was probably the best and worst part of our camping trips.
My cousins and I would boast about how we wouldn’t be scared as dusk fell and our parents would go hide in the woods, wearing frightening masks and costumes and concealing our candy and toys.
Once they found their hiding spots, we kids would enter the woods with our moms and try not to scream as we ran to pick up candy only to have the hand of an uncle reach out and grab us.
It’s thrilling memories like those that make me excited for fall and the new activities and festivals it brings with it.
Green Laker Country is no stranger to fall fun with an event such as Harvestfest, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30.
According to Tina Moser, host for the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce, Harvestfest is the last event of the year that the chamber offers.
“The big thing that we’re looking forward to right now as our big Harvest Fest because it’s brings in about 10,000 people into our area.”
She noted the two-day event includes a craft faire consisting of 100 artists, food vendors, a farmers market, bands playing live music, a parade and a car show.
Though the event provides activities for all ages to enjoy, Moser is looking forward to meeting and “talking to all the people from the different areas and enjoying the local food,” she said.
Harvest Fest may be the last event in the year that the chamber hosts however, Moser noted there are still more exciting activities such as the Green Lake Tour of Homes., Sunday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event will take people on a journey of cottages and architecturally-stunning buildings in the Green Lake area.
“You get a very nice collection of the old Princeton cottages, the brand new construction, the old remodeled historic houses and family remodeling,” said Robin Wallenfang, who is organizing the tour.
She noted one of the cottages, Many Moons, is “filled with historic everything [and] it’s very exceptionally charming.”
Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, and they can be bought at the Horicon Bank (Green Lake), Wallenfangs (Green Lake), chamber of commerce offices in both Green Lake and Ripon, Shear Image Salon (Markesan) and Ford’s Gathering (Princeton).
If you’re like me and love the sights and smells that come with fall, then you can also traverse the numerous trails around Green Lake.
According to the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, the hiking trails include: Hammers Trail (0.6mi)Norwegian Bay Boardwalk (0.6mi), Winnebago Trail Conservancy (0.9mi), Tuleta Hill Prairie Trail (0.5 mi), Sunnyside Conservancy Trail (1.5mi) and Mitchells Glen (0.5mi), which has guided tours only.
If interested, you can obtain a hiking trail guide at the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce office.
Princeton, like Green Lake, know who to have fun in the fall and winter as it hosts it very first Wine Walk, Friday, Oct. 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. along West Water Street in Princeton.
Tickets for the walk include a wine glass, a swag bag for local delights and coupons. Participants may sample wine, red and white, at a variety of stops.
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased through Eventbrite by visiting the Wine Walk event page Princeton Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
If participants see an item or a sweet deal at one of the local businesses during the walk, they can come back the next day for A Sweet Treat event.
Individuals may tour Princeton’s shops, sampling free homemade desserts, teas, ciders and coffees from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The next month, in November, Princeton will host its annual Christmas in Princeton event, Friday and Saturday, Nov, 23 and 24.
Festivities begin with holiday crafts and matinee from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library, pictures with Santa at 3 p.m. at Princeton Historical Society Museum, 630 West Water St.
From 4 to 6 p.m., there will be a build-your-own hot chocolate bar at American Family Insurance, 624 West Water St., and free s’mores and more at All in Good Taste, 725 West Main St.
The Body Building, 426 West Water St., is also offering free hot cider, hot cocoa and roasted nuts.
Later on, a night parade called “Lights on Water Street Parade” will begin at 6 p.m. on Water Street.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Disney Christmas” and first-place float winners will be awarded $500.
Festivities that night may include holiday shopping, tree lighting, food vendors, caroling, hot chocolate, cookies and more.
Princeton also offers Unity’s Festival of Trees Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24.
The festival features a silent auction of decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces; bake sale and second-hand treasures sale from 1 to 7 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Princeton Community Hall, 101 Wisconsin St.
During this festive weekend, the Princeton Friends of the Library are having a holiday sale and silent auction, which runs Tuesday, Nov. 20 through Saturday, Dec. 8 during regular hours at the Princeton Public Library, 424 West Water St.
Princeton’s Hunting Studio Glass, W5257 Oak Tree Ln., also is hosting a glass-blowing demonstration event Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As attendees watch the live demonstrations, they may also browse the shop’s holiday gifts, ornaments and glass art.
Though the sun may be setting on summer, fall will have just begun, bringing with it a slew of new festivals and activities.