On October 1 we went to the 33rd Annual Stone Lake Cranberry Festival. This small community of 572 residents hosts over 30,000 visitors during this one-day event. The festival originated in 1978 when five women came up with the idea while enjoying a hot-tub soak and a glass of wine. The first festival drew about 100 people and 14 vendors. We enjoyed a cranberry pancake breakfast upon our arrival in Stone Lake, walked the local streets lined with vendors selling everything from cranberry-related food products to "Red-neck wind chimes" and took a tour of a nearby commercial cranberry marsh operation where the fall harvest was taking place.
|The machine that shakes the cranberries from the vine.|
-Cranberries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants.
-Cranberries grow on vines (not bushes, like in Alaska) in sandy bogs and marshes. When the fruit is ready to harvest, the bogs are flooded. The cranberries are mechanically shaken loose from the vines and float in the water, where they are then corralled with a floating boom and vacuumed into a holding truck.
-Wisconsin is the top cranberry-producing state and is expected to hold that status for the 17th consecutive year with a crop of 4.3 million barrels of cranberries during the 2011 fall harvest.
-Cranberries are Wisconsin's largest fruit industry in both value and size.
-More than 250 growers produce cranberries on approximately 18,000 acres of land throughout 18 counties in central and northern Wisconsin.
The Fall colors reached their peak here the week of October 2, complemented by a week of Indian Summer with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. We did our first mountain bike rides since arriving in Hayward on the Hatchery Creek Trail whose trailhead is just a few miles from our house. Riding the forest trails bathed in golden light and carpeted with golden leaves was a feast for the senses.
video link to a portion of our mountain bike trail ride.
The local Park Theater, which celebrated its 5th anniversary as a not-for-profit arts center this past Friday evening, is a great cultural resource. We've attended three events at the Park in recent weeks: a community talent show, a showing of "Green Fire," a film about Aldo Leopold, and a concert by jazz pianist Mary Louise Knutson.
During my parents' recent visit to Hayward we played mini-golf three times at the local Lumberjack Village 18-hole mini-golf course, probably the nicest course in the Hayward area. Mini-golf is big here. The nice thing about Lumberjack Village is that on Mondays thru Thursdays during the off-season you can play "self-serve" golf. Everything you need, clubs, balls, scorecard, is set up outside the un-manned office. The price is a bit cheaper than the Friday-Sunday price and payment is on an honor system.
We also christened our Petanque set while my parents were here, which consists of six heavy steel balls and a wooden target ("jack"). We played this game, which is very popular in Europe, especially Italy and France, at a suitable spot we found at the Sawyer County Fairgrounds. The game is similar to horseshoes, with the "jack" being the target.
Before closing this post, here's a few "family" photos we took before my parents headed back home to New Jersey: