Celebrate Fall at Harvest Fest

A FOOTBALL AUTOGRAPHED by the Green Bay Packers will be one of the silent auction items at this year’s Harvest Fest. The silent auction will run Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Joe Schulz photo

by Joe Schulz

At the end of September each year, more than 100 craft vendors fill Green Lake and thousands come to town for a weekend of non-stop fall celebrations.

Harvest Fest is an annual tradition that rolls into its 31st year Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29.

The event is organized by the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce with help from volunteers, local non-profits and businesses.

According to Chamber Executive Director Liane Walsh, the event originated as a fall celebration designed to extend the summer season.

The craft fair portion of Harvest Fest will be in the festival grounds Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair features crocheting, jewelry, pottery, woodworking, knitting and more.

The festival is much more than just a craft fair, as it encompasses multiple events at multiple venues.

Local service groups will close part of Mill Street, filling it with food booths for Taste of Green Lake Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Thrasher Opera House, meanwhile, will host Harvest of Bargains. The event sees the opera house filled with a huge rummage sale both days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“They have a lot of stuff; it’s been very popular and the line is really long to get in,” Walsh said.

Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Water Street will host a farmer’s market featuring jarred foods, produce, baked goods, organic meats, pumpkins and more.

Playground Park will be the site of Sink the Bismarck, a petting zoo, face painting and a shoe carving competition.

On Saturday, Remington’s Ride will jam out on the festival square from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Dan Braaksma will rock the Starlight Stage from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday also will feature a street dance hosted by Goose Blind.

The next day, Rock River Band plays at the festival square from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Steve Arnold will play from noon to 3 p.m. at Deacon Mills Park.

On Saturday, a parade at 4 p.m. will march from the Caestecker Public Library, down Lake Street, turning on South Street past North Bay Sport & Liquor, before turning onto Mill Street.

“It’s bigger than the Fourth of July parade,” Walsh said. “There’s a lot more groups involved.”

Town Square will host a Harvest Fest-themed Bingo at Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

The Jack Taylor Memorial Car Show then will roll into downtown Green Lake Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A FAKE SKELETON checks the engine of a green, 1954 Plymouth while a family of bones sits in the car during the car show last year at Harvest Fest. Hannah Tetzlaff photo

“We had over 500 cars some years ago, and then there’s prize money available for 10 cars. They have to be 1999 or older,” Walsh said.

The raffle drawing will be held at 2 p.m. in festival square. Tickets either cost $1 each or $5 for six tickets.

The first-place raffle winner receives $1,000 in chamber bucks, which can be spent at any chamber-affiliated business.

“There’s literally a hundred-plus prizes that go out,” Walsh said of the raffle.

Sunday also will feature a silent auction from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Festival Square.

Items up for auction will be displayed both days, but the bidding will commence Sunday. One prize is a football autographed by the Green Bay Packers.

“The Packer organization is always very good to us,” Walsh said.

Walsh noted the event takes a lot of planning, with all of the plans contained in a single three-ring binder.

“After all these years, it’s a well-oiled machine,” Walsh said.

She estimates the event brings an average of 10,000 people to the area each year.

“It’s an opportunity for all of our business owners, and even our boat rentals” Walsh said.

Walsh hopes to see another 10,000 people in attendance this year.

“It’s really a great event,” she said.