Camp visiting weekend brings business to Northwoods
Story By Lauren Stephenson
NORTHWOODS - You may notice more people on the roads, lakes, at restaurants, and in stores the next few weekends. Many overnight camps in the Northwoods host a visiting weekend for their campers' families, and that means big money for local businesses.
"We're talking thousands of parents invading Minocqua, and Rhinelander and Eagle River throughout the weekend," said Camp Kawaga Director Matt Abrams.
There are more than 20 overnight camps in Vilas and Oneida Counties, and at least half host a visiting weekend. That's when parents come up to visit their kids spending the summer at an overnight camp. Though they visit camp, parents and campers spend a lot of time in the community.
"Really, most of the time they're out," added Abrams. "They're going to dinner. They're going go-carting."
"Camp weekend really is a special weekend. We can count on the store being packed to the walls with people. And they're a very good crowd," said Michael Johnson, manager of Dan's Minocqua Fudge.
The store has been welcoming campers and their families for 47 years.
"Every year we have people that stop in here at the store and will tell us a nice story of how they came here when they were a camp kid or when they came here with their grandparents and now they're bringing their grandchildren here," Johnson added.
Like Dan's Minocqua Fudge, The White Stag Inn in Sugar Camp also sees a larger crowd on visiting weekend. The owners say they'll serve more than 500 people in just a five hour period. It's a popular restaurant among visiting families and camp alumni.
"We are seeing multi-generations. So my brothers and I are now the third generation here at the White Stag and we're seeing the third and fourth generation of campers. So it's really kind of a unique experience to have grown up not only with the parents, but now having their kids and grandkids here," said White Stag Inn co-owner Anissa Widule.
Restaurants and shops aren't the only businesses that get a boost from visiting weekend.
"These parents are booking the hotels a year ahead because they know they're coming the next year so this is a consistent boon for the Minocqua area," Abrams said.
But the business boom doesn't necessarily end on Sunday.
"We've had families that have ended up buying second homes up here," Abrams added. "The other thing that a lot of them do is they rent homes."
ARBOR VITAE - The Arbor Vitae Fire Department hosted its 39th Fireman's Picnic and Summerfest this weekend.
Thousands of people came out to benefit the fire department while having a good time. The fire department held the crowd favorite lawnmower races again this year.
They also had a volleyball tournament and games for kids. The fire chief says all the proceeds help the department pay for equipment.
"When we purchased our new fire truck, the fire department funded a good portion of the money, the fundraiser money, to help keep the tax dollars down so the tax payers didn't have to foot the whole bill for the truck," said Arbor Vitae Fire Department Chief Mike Van Meter. "And we also use it to buy turnout gear throughout the year, new air packs. Anything we can do to keep it off the tax roll."
WABENO - People went out to Wabeno this weekend for its first ever Art and Music Fest. Musicians performed in the band shell while local artists spread out to show their products.
There were food and drinks as well as workshops for people to learn more about art.
"This year we've had about 20 musicians performing on three stages," said Friends of Wabeno Chairperson Mary Beck. "And we've had maybe ten artists doing demonstrations, showing people what they can do and what they can buy."
The rain Sunday didn't stop people from having a good time. Volunteers hope to make this an annual event.
WISCONSIN - Anyone who loves hunting and fishing will need to apply for a license. The deadline for some hunting and fishing licenses is August 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Hunters, trappers and spearers can go on the DNR website to apply.
"This is the time of year where not a lot of people are thinking about hunting, but that August 1 date is that date for applying for a bobcat, fisher or otter tag, sharp-tail grouse, or sturgeon spearing or fall turkey," said DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz.
ST. GERMAIN - The last day of Pig in the Pines wrapped up Saturday. People were able to watch the rib eating contest in the afternoon.
Newswatch 12 got to help judge ribs from this year's four rib vendors. One of the big events happened on the main stage Saturday evening.
"We have entertainment all day long," said St. Germain Chamber President Bruce Weber. "We have the Wise Guys on our main stage. We have Laura Ernst on the aerial platform here. She also does juggling. On our major stage, we have One Ping Only, and we also have Molly Hatchet, our lead act tonight."
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