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NEWS STORIES

36th Hodag Country Festival comes to an endSubmitted: 07/14/2013

Lauren Stephenson
5 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
lstephenson@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Sunday marked the end of food, beer and of course lots of country music at the Hodag Country Fest.

The 36th annual festival ended with a performance by Neal McCoy.

Lonestar, Gretchen Wilson, and Lee Brice also performed on the last day of the 4-day event.

The weather helped turnout.

About 20,000 people attended each day.

One food vendor said the weather also helped his business.


"This year it's been really great. I'm up about 22 percent from last year," said food vendor Robert M. Jones II.

We also caught up with some Hodag-goers.

They told us what they loved most about this year's Hodag Country Festival.

"Getting to meet people, and it's a very friendly crowd. We've been to all kids of concerts but everybody likes to help each other out and have a good time," said Amy Jo Plowman while attending her 23rd Hodag Festival.

"We get this same spot every year. We sit here because it's the best people watching spot...the guy that shaved his chest so it looked like a bra," said Sue Slominski at her 6th Hodag Fest.

The EMS team on-site said they have not had as many people in need of treatment.

A few had breathing issues because of the humidity and dust.

The team only had to treat a couple people for heat exhaustion.

Looking forward to next year, one Hodag fest-goer has a piece of advice.

"Never trade your belt for a beer," said Nate Rudis.

The festival hosted 16 bands.

Next year's festival will be held July 10th through the 13th.

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A transportation theme was chosen for 2015.

"[We're] on our history hunt, and we are learning about where the railroads went around Merrill, how the river was important, where the trolley went, where the old highways go, and all of those thing are included in our packet of navigation," said Merrill Historical Society's Jane Francoeur.

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"Faith Christian Academy and Hope Life Center, and there's other businesses and groups within the city of Wausau," said volunteer Dave Arends.

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Kim Johnson works as the music teacher at Phelps Middle School. After her husband D.J. was hurt in an accident last month, he's now paralyzed from the waist down.

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"Originally, this was our 8th grade class fundraiser, but after we heard about Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, we decided to donate all of the proceeds to them," said Myszka.

The Phelps 8th graders hosted a breakfast fundraiser at The Sunrise Lodge in Land O' Lakes. More than 300 people came out in support.

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