Country Fest regulars talk about camping traditionSubmitted: 07/12/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

RHINELANDER - Every year, Hodag Country Fest takes over Rhinelander for a weekend in the middle of July. For many of the tens of thousands of country festers, it's a weeklong event.

"I had a good time so I came back," says Betty Garrow, from Rome, WI.

That was 23 years ago. Now Garrow has one of the most coveted camping spots on the Hodag Country Fest fairgrounds.

"He says, 'I married her for that'. I brought him up here and then we got married the next year," says Garrow.

"No, we would have gotten married anyway. But you gotta tell these guys up here that I married her for this spot," says Weston Garrow.

Campsite claiming can be a cutthroat business. It's how the group next to the Garrow's became their long-time Hodag neighbors.

"Oh yeah, since I moved here they've been across from us," says Betty Garrow.

"Apparently two women who had these sites before, they forgot to call in in the time allotted. We happened to trade in our old spots for these. We met them one time out on the road. They were staring at the sites and said, 'those used to be our sites'," says Al Sadowski, from Stevens Point.

These Happy Hodagers obviously come for more than the four day weekend of music. They start camping the Saturday before.

"I think it's the people. It isn't so much the entertainers because they're all good," says Betty Garrow.

"All the camaraderie, all the fun with people," says Weston Garrow.

"We probably enjoy the beginning of the week best because the concert isn't really on, and you get more time to visit and catch up on old times," says Sadowski.

This group bonded so well they've even been to each other's children's weddings. And they have advice for this year's first-timers.

"Just have fun, I guess. Do whatever you want to do," says Betty Garrow.

"You'll see something you're never going to believe. Just take it as is and run, before you lose your eyesight," says Weston Garrow.

"Don't get too smashed, maintain your soberism, and just have a good time," says Sadowski.

Advice it might be wise to follow. These seasoned vets would know better than anybody the recipe for a "Happy Hodag".

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

ANTIGO - A pair of turkeys likely destined for someone's Thanksgiving dinner table will instead live out long and happy lives thanks to their daring escape.

The turkeys were in a truck headed down Highway 29 in Wausau Sunday morning.  Their crate fell off the back of the truck and onto the highway.  Another driver called police, but somehow the birds weren't hit by cars.

+ Read More

VILAS COUNTY - An economic group in Vilas County can thank a local casino for a recent donation.

The Lake of the Torches Resort Casino presented members of the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC)with a $2,000 donation.

The donation happened earlier this month.

+ Read More

Play Video

ST. GERMAIN - Ringing in the holiday season can be a special time of year for families.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - On the day before Thanksgiving, many people simply refuse to cook.

So they do the next best thing and order out something cheap and easy: pizza.

Believe it or not, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days for ordering pizza.

That's no surprise to local pizza places.

The owner of Kids Korner Pizza in Rhinelander said she knew this week would be busy, and she's prepared for it.

"We know it's coming," said Cassie Kamke. "We order a bunch of cheese ahead of time so we're ready for it."

Besides the pizza, she said this weekend is big for meat and cheese platters. She and her staff were up early putting those together. Today she said she saw about 20 go out.

"I was here at 8 o'clock today slicing cheese," Kamke said. "And pizza sales are up as well."

Kamke added that Thanksgiving week is only the beginning of holiday sales. She said meat and cheese platters become even more popular throughout the month of December and through Christmas.

Her one suggestion: calling ahead to order. That way customers don't have to wait. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - The last time Rhinelander updated its biking and pedestrian plan  Lincoln Street didn't have sidewalks and Bill Clinton was in office.  Now, the city is making a push to create better trails and connect them around town and it's using grant money to make it a reality.

City Council member Alex Young showed Newswatch 12 around a new pedestrian trail's layout Wednesday on the city's south side.

The 10-foot-wide paved trail will run along the Pelican River where the old waste water treatment plant stood on Boyce Drive.  It will connect to the new boat landing and run up Boyce Drive to Kemp, eventually connecting to the Chamber Riverwalk and hotels along Kemp Street.

+ Read More

BLACKWELL - The Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County will celebrate its 50th anniversary next week. Students and staff will celebrate the occasion on Monday, November 30th.

They'll have a cake cutting ceremony at 3:00 p.m. The community is invited to join the students and staff in the recreation hall from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Shops in downtown Minocqua want a new way to draw customers to their businesses. The restart of the Minocqua Island Business Association comes at a perfect time, with the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Those businesses want to team up to attract people to downtown Minocqua. It's a more specific mission than the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here