Back in August, I remember looking at the calendar and seeing that we had something planned for every single weekend in September plus the first weekend in October. Normally I like to try and keep at least one weekend open …. to give our family some downtime and so the mess in the house doesn’t get out of control. We’re at the end of that craziness. I think. We have duties at church next weekend, and I see there’s a craft show going on, so I don’t think we’ll be relaxing too much.
A week ago was a big cranberry festival in a tiny little town called Warrens, Wisconsin. According to my resources, the town is only about 350 people. But one weekend in late September it swells and welcomes over 100,000 visitors. That’s not a typo.
The whole town becomes one big flea market /craft fair / food eating paradise. The picture just shows one street in the town. Papa and I haven’t been there for over 10 years and we thought Little Chick might enjoy it. Our day started off beautifully with the sun peeking through the clouds and fog rolling over the hills.
And then Little Chick got sick in the car :-(. Her allergies seem to be back and the drainage causes a tickle in her throat that makes her gag. Not fun. We had to pull over, clean her up and we were on our way again. In truth, there aren’t a lot of kid-oriented activities. It’s meant for people that would like to shop and browse. Children under the age of 4 … not so exciting. We did find a juggler that was fun to watch. I can’t believe he stood on that stump all day!
Papa got all excited about seeing some Green Bay Packer legends – Paul Hornung and Chester Marcol. They were there signing autographs but we didn’t get one. Gale Sayers (former Chicago Bears player) was also there. They made him sit at a separate table 🙂
There were some bouncy houses which I know our daughter would have enjoyed but we stayed away since she already wasn’t feeling the greatest and we didn’t want her bouncing to an even more upset stomach. We were rather prudent with our choices in food. We could have refrained from eating anything while we were there, but why? That’s part of the fun. We didn’t have any of that grease-laden fair food that smelled so wonderful but makes you feel queasy afterward. Instead, we split a delicious gyro, a cob of sweet corn, a hot dog (Little Chick’s choice), and a pound of craisins to take home. Oh, and a bottle of water because it was 80ºF and the water Mama brought ran out.
We also bought a raffle ticket to help sponsor a local FFA (Future Farmer’s of America); the grand prize is a Ford 8N tractor! (It’s mine … all mine, I tell ya!) The other prizes were beef and pork packages. I’ll take any of those prizes.
We were headed back to the car when all of a sudden Little Chick found some energy and spark … and wanted to check out “the dolls”. There was a craft booth from a lady I’ve purchased from before for my great-nieces. She makes handmade Barbie doll clothes and furniture. Little Chick is just getting to the age where she’s interested in Barbie dolls … and now with a new dress, Barbie goes with her everywhere!
Completely worth the price for that smile! When we arrived home she even had to go inside and change clothes so she could match Barbie! She changed all by herself too … my little girl is growing up.
What surprises me most about that picture is that she’s wearing a sleeveless dress. This past weekend that wouldn’t have happened! Last Saturday was 80ºF and sunny. This Saturday I don’t think it made it to 50ºF!
The first Saturday in October is our local festival – Apple Affair. We’re a larger town (1500 people) but our festival is tiny compared to the one visited last weekend. There are only about 30 craft and sale booths, a food tent, book “sale” (free-will donation) at the library, live music, and our 10-foot apple pie.
As you can see – no short sleeves here! It was windy and cloudy and cold. We walked down there with winter jackets, mittens, and hats! Quite a change in just 7 days but not unexpected for October. I can even remember a couple of years when we had flurries during Apple Affair (apparently just 20 miles north of us they did have snow on the grown that morning!).
This is much more of a family event. This time we let Little Chick play in the bounce-house and there was also face-painting, balloon animals, and a few games for the kids.
I didn’t get a good picture of the apple pie, but you can get a general idea of how big it is as you look far to the back to see the outside rim of the pan.
They have a few regular-sized apple pies sitting on a board above the large one. It’s not your standard 2-crust pie; it’s a Dutch apple pie with a crust on the bottom and a crumble on top. The local churches also bake up standard size apple pies to sell and split the profits among themselves. Before Little Chick was born, Papa would often go to help make pies on the Friday before; he was the only guy there but the women loved his help!
Apple Affair was started by one of the local orchard growers to help promote his business. When the owner of that original orchard retired, the family that bought it turned it into a big fall family activity. This time of year they get a lot of visitors – including our family; we went on Sunday after church.
That haystack is looking rather pathetic … but that what happens when you get lots of kids climbing and jumping on it! That’s why they put it there. Last year they just had the one little building on the property – the one that now says Piggy Bank. That used the be the jail; now they have a new, larger jail and a schoolhouse. Inside the jail is a “secret” exit out the back that goes through a tunnel so you can escape.
There are small farm animals to pet and feed.
And artificial animals to climb on (check out that smile!)
There’s a “Slightly Scary Haunted House” which Papa and Little Chick already went through before – a couple of weeks ago, but it was still more than a little scary for her this time around. Or maybe it was scarier since she knew what to expect.
There are wooden tractors and wagons to climb on and pretend; little metal pedal tractors to drive around a race track (if you can figure out the pedals!); a corn maze to traverse … and use as a great backdrop for taking selfies:
The last activity we did for the day was a wagon ride up the hillside; it’s supposed to mainly be for the people that want to pick your own apples and don’t want to climb the steep hills. However, they won’t kick you off if your only goal is to ride. Which is good – it offers a spectacular view of the hillside with the trees drooping from an abundance of apples and of the main buildings farther down in the valley (on the far left).
Sunday may have been a cool and blustery day, but we had a good time.