RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Festival kicks off Thursday.
But some country music fans have already staked out their camping spots.
"Surprisingly for a 4th of July weekend, we've got a very large number of campers in here. We probably estimate about 40 percent of our 5,000 and some campsites are already set up," says Dawn Eckert, the festival's co-owner.
She co-owns the festival with her two sisters.
Eckert thinks the year-round work makes the event a success.
"Year-round we have 2.5 employees in the office. This isn't a business that once one's over we don't worry about it until the next year. It's year round planning, and with all the five of us organizers, it's definitely a part-time job year-round, and full-time for a few months out of the year," she says.
About 20,000 people attend each day of the four-day long festival.
They will have about 75 vendors at the grounds.
But local businesses also benefit from the tourists who come to the festival.
"Those people are all here enjoying the Northwoods, and enjoying this beautiful weather that we're having on the lakes, and boating, and golfing, and taking advantage of all the Northwoods has to offer," Eckert says.
Sixteen groups will perform over the four day event.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Police Department identified the man who died after a house fire on Friday night as 35-year-old Jeffery J. Becker.
Rhinelander Fire Chief Terry Williams told Newswatch 12 on Monday afternoon that an autopsy indicates Becker died from smoke inhalation, but the autopsy results and further investigation is now in the hands of the state Department of Criminal Investigations.
Crews responded to the house at 320 Rose Street, near Hodag Park, around 7:30 p.m. Friday. Firefighters went inside the house soon after they arrived and found Becker unresponsive on the floor. Firefighters and paramedics tried to revive Becker, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
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