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31st annual Bear River Pow Wow held this weekendSubmitted: 07/13/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson


LAC DU FLAMBEAU - As many as 1,000 people pack the grounds each year for the Bear River Pow Wow in Lac Du Flambeau.

"There's singing, dancing. A lot of times you'll hear storytelling," says Brandon Thoms, Lac du Flambeau Director of Public Relations.

The 3-day event is in its 31st year.

It not only celebrates Ojibwe culture and history, it also contemporary Ojibwe life.

"Positive changes that are going on in a community, this is a way to celebrate those and express those, and share those with friends and family," says Adrian King, a Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe tribal member.

For many like Melissa McGeshick, it's a spiritual experience. She dances at Pow Wows in memory of her father.

"Dancing has given me sobriety, I'm not smoking, and that was one of the things I gave up for dancing was smoking," says McGeshick,who is a Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe descendant.

The Bear River Pow Wow is a homecoming for tribal members who live all over the country, and even in Canada.

"People of Lac du Flambeau are very in-tune with their families, especially with the people that live away from the reservation. Many each year make their summer plans to come back home around this weekend, so it's really an important event for not only the community but people who live away from the community," Thoms adds.

Pow Wows even have their own following. Some families will travel to multiple reservations to participate in Pow Wows throughout the summer.

"It's a mixture of cultures and races coming together and having like a big huge cultural exchange," says King.

"We highly encourage everyone to come out and attend. It's a great place to learn, to build friendships, and to reconnect with those friendships we might have grown apart with in the past," says Thoms.

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MERRILL - You might want to grab your favorite flannel to suit up for this celebration.

Sawmill Brewing Company in Merrill will celebrate one year of beer Saturday. 

The craft brewery has 16 Wisconsin craft beers on tap: six are their own. 
 
At first, the Sawmill owners didn't know what the community would think.

"They've taken it by storm. There are so many people that are referring to this as our brewery, which is really what we wanted. We wanted to build something in Merrill that they could come to and enjoy," said owner Zach Kubichek. 
 
To celebrate its one year anniversary, there will be a special batch of "River Hog" oatmeal stout. 

Sawmill put the beer in a Northern Waters Distillery bourbon barrel for the last few months. 

"We just set it aside for a few months. And it's kind of like, 'I hope it works out.' Then all of a sudden we were kegging it, and we had to hook up a contraption like a science experiment and had to hook up a little contraption," said Kubichek, "It turned out fantastic I tried it yesterday and it will be ready to go for Saturday." 

You have one shot at tasting the special brew; there is only a half barrel for the special anniversary.

Beer doesn't take any breaks; Sawmill Brewing Company stays open seven days a week.

The one-year anniversary celebration starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The day will be full of live music, raffles, and of course, beer.


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