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NEWS STORIES

Improvements on the way for this weekend's PotatoFestSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first-ever PotatoFest last year started as a charity fundraiser and a way to recognize the potato's importance in our area.

After last year's success, the event will expand even further this weekend.

PotatoFest features a parade, eating and cooking contests, live music all day, and the YMCA Couch Potato Race.

"We're hoping in the long run that PotatoFest is going to be the go-to event that you have to go to on Labor Day," said Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. Executive Director Maggie Steffen. "It's going to bring people from all over the state and hopefully the surrounding states, and this is where they come."

New events this year include a three-on-three basketball tournament, the second-ever appearance of the Spudmobile, and Alice in Dairyland.

We asked Steffen why she was wearing a duck hat for her interview.

"One of our new events is the Duck Regatta, which is, you buy your duck for five bucks," Steffen said. "Your duck has your ticket number on it. It gets floated down the river. Then it's captured, and we have prizes from first to twentieth. It ranges from $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250."

Trig's is the major sponsor of PotatoFest, and events will center around the greenspace near Trig's.

The festival starts with Bonus Friday Night events in the evening.

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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."

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RHINELANDER - County workers aren't the only ones who like to find issues and fix them on the roads. So does Delmore Consulting owner, Jeff Delmore.

Delmore is hired by county boards to evaluate roads, signs and culverts. He find the signs, the ranks them, helping the county prioritize what work they need to do.

"I check each sign, I mark it, GPS location and then I check the reflectivity of the sign, just the overall condition of it," said Delmore.

It usually takes three to four weeks to gather all the information for each town. Delmore's currently in the Northwoods working for towns in Vilas County.

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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.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - It's no secret to anglers that the Northwoods makes for some great fishing.

That's why fishing club coach Jim Bondi brought a group of 30 kids and chaperones up to Boulder Junction for the week.

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EAGLE RIVER - Trees for Tomorrow held their Forest Fest in Eagle River Saturday. The event welcomes many people and companies that make a living from trees.

The UW-Stevens Point Timbersports team came out to Forest Fest to show off their skills.

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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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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.

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