Little Town, Big Things - My Family Travels

Over the Mississippi River and through the woods to the cranberry marshes we go. A small town in Wisconsin holds less then a 700 population but in the last full weekend in September thousands upon thousands tread the land. This is Warrens. Warrens, Wi may be a small town but it thrives, tourism being a huge asset. During the cranberry harvest, the town hosts the world's largest cranberry festival. The festival contains shopping, contests, food (the cranberry creme puff being a favorite), and a huge parade on Sunday that floats from all around the state come to partake in. And boy, I am here to tell you, there is a lot of shopping. Cranfest is especially known for its tasty dishes contenders bring in for the Cranberry CookOff. The smells, tastes, and textures are quite creative that these cooks bring to the table. Of course, the harvest season isn't the only time to visit Warrens. In the spring, cranberry marshes partake in Cranberry Blossom Day, a day in which visitors come out to the bog to observe the beautiful blossoms of the cranberry. The blossom bends and takes the shape of a crane, and that's how the "craneberry" received it's name, eventually changing to "cranberry". The Sandhill crane is a quite common sight in the marshes and especially during migration season.


The Cranberry Museum is open year round for anyone who would like to learn more of the cranberry and tourists love the cranberry ice cream there. The summer is a great time for camping either at Jellystone Park, featuring Yogi Bear, or McMullen Park, and for those who are not fond of camping, they can always stay at the Three Bears Lodge. A few miles out from the village of Warrens, is Grandpa Nick's Petting Farm, which my family started and operates. Grandpa Nick's started of the late Nick Danek's statement that "City kids never get to see what it's like living on a farm", and the farm does exactly that. Kids of all ages, from 1-101, can come out and enjoy a menagerie of farm animals, everything from an Americana chicken to a Zdonkey. There is also hiking trails, playgrounds, fields, a gift shop, and train. Of course, since I grew up with the farm, I would certainly bring any visitors to Warrens there first. Fall hits the most important part of the year,as I mentioned above, Cranfest. The Stargazers 4H and the Warrens Youth Association hosts an annual Halloween Party that all the kids in the area enjoy. The winter provides just as much fun with snowmobile trails and sledding hills. Overall, at any time of year, Warrens, Wisconsin, is a great place to visit with kind, inviting people at every step. The town gives a great out- of- the- city- air and with so much to see and do, why not visit?

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