RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Festival brings more than a dozen country music artists to Rhinelander every year. However, it hasn't always been that way.The grounds may be empty now but last weekend every inch was covered with campers.Gerry Vanharpen knows what it takes to get tens of thousands of people to come together over country music.
"We've been working the festival from the very beginning," said Vanharpen.
Vanharpen's parents Bernie and Diane started the Hodag County Festival with just five performers in 1978. This year the 41st annual festival had 17.
About 20,000 people went to this year's festival. Vanharpen said when the last person left the camp grounds Sunday it was just the beginning.
"We work year round planning the next one," said Vanharpen.
Vanharpen has already started working on security and next year's lineup. She wants to make sure the cheers get louder ever year.
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