Rhinelander Chamber Wins Awards for Hodag MarketingSubmitted: 04/17/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

RHINELANDER - He greets you when you drive into town, and watches over you at nearly every pub, store, even from police cars. Now Rhinelander will get even more recognition thanks to the mythical green monster we all know and love.

The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce won two advertising awards for its use of the Hodag.

The "What is a Hodag" infographic won the awards from the American Advertising Federation.

The infographic explains the history and mythology of the iconic monster that helped put Rhinelander on the map.

Chamber Executive Director Lara Reed says having a mascot as unique as the Hodag to promote the city with is invaluable.

"It's fun. And I think that really encompasses what we're about. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we have a lot of fun at what we do. And we hopefully put Rhinelander on the tip of somebody's tongue when they're talking about the Northwoods. 'Oh, do you know what a Hodag is? Yep, and it goes with Rhinelander, Wisconsin'," says Reed.

Locals can even benefit from a trip to the Chamber. The legend of the Hodag is so long, someone who's known him their whole life could learn something new. For example, he eats fish out of the lake but prefers a traditional fish fry with potato pancakes, and his horns can pick up every Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcast.

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Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

"I think it's going great. We got a little sunshine right now. We got probably a couple hundred people here. People are buying food, spending money. It's what we're after," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hanson.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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ASHWAUBENON - Early interest in the Green Bay Packers' proposal for an entertainment, retail and residential district around Lambeau Field has the franchise already thinking of expanding its plans.

The Packers announced recently it plans to develop the Titletown District on 34 acres around the stadium, including 30 to 50 townhouses overlooking a public plaza.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Lakes bring a lot of visitors here to the Northwoods, but they also bring scientists.

The UW Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction just wrapped up its summer research season.

The UW Trout Lake Station is a research station for limnology students at UW Madison. It's mostly graduate students and faculty from Madison's Center for limnology.

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VILAS COUNTY - In July, Karen Wessel gave her life to save a boy from drowning in Vilas County's Star Lake.  Now she is being recognized for her heroism.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Wessel as one of 22 recipients of the Carnegie medal.  It's presented to people who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while trying to save the life of another.

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MERRILL - Firefighters need to be prepared to rescue people from more than just fires.

People can get trapped in tree stands, water, or a tight spot. 

Local fire departments respond to those emergencies.

Merrill's first Citizen's Fire Academy learned about these specialized rescues Thursday night.

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