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Post Messenger Recorder PMR New Glarus Monticello Belleville News Publishing

Visitor Enjoys New Glarus Family Festival


October 4, 2018

Dear Editor,

It was a nice evening camping in the state park, except for the mosquitos, and the badger, who stole all of my food. I should have known better. It is customary to hang your food in a bag from a tree in bear country, but what about in southern Wisconsin? I didn’t give the question a second thought. And so, in the middle of the night, a badger stole all my food, which, ordinarily, wouldn’t be much more than a nuisance, except I’m traveling across the United States on a bicycle.

“Well, that was stupid,” I thought. “I guess I’m going to be hungry for the next few days.”

Hungry, I packed up my tent and cleaned up the detritus — wrappers and cardboard boxes and a half-finished container of applesauce — and rode northwards. Past the brewery and the gas station and a hardware store, into town.

It was the right day to stumble into New Glarus, Wisconsin. I am not a church going person, but I went to church that morning in the village park. There was fruit and cookies and a sermon. Afterwards, hotdogs and bratwurst and a car show and a concert. Word got around that I was visiting on accident, so someone took me aside with a few of their friends and prayed for my travels ahead.

Grace Church has been putting on this festival for more than a decade. It started as a potluck; now they spend $55,000 dollars on the event. Hundreds of people from all over the state attend. They’ve enjoyed perfect weather for eleven years.

I sat down for lunch with Dwight and Genevieve Sell. The couple drives down every year for the festival, 550 miles, from Thunder Bay, Michigan.

“Our daughter lives in New Glarus,” Dwight said.

“We come every year,” Genevieve said. “But what are you doing here?”

I told them about my bicycle and the badger. The couple laughed.

“Maybe you can take a few hotdogs with you for the road,” Dwight said. “I doubt anyone will mind.”

Adam Iscoe,

Texas, visiting scholar at U.C. Berkeley


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