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County Historical Society throws party

Two people dance as the Navis and Carney duo performs at the Dodge County Historical Society Lawn Party in 2018. The lawn party, in support of the historical society at 105 Park Ave., will have root beer floats, classic cars, arts and crafts, a nearby mural painting event and two historic mural tours.

Things both old and new will be presented Saturday in downtown Beaver Dam.

The annual Dodge County Historical Society Lawn Party and the fourth Downtown Beaver Dam Mural Festival will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Lawn Party is a long-standing tradition at the Dodge County Historical Society Museum, 105 Park Ave., and will run from noon to 4 p.m. Featured attractions include an exhibit in the works about Dodge County’s prehistoric past.

“We’ve managed to get some of the unique prehistoric artifacts that were originally collected in Dodge County and have been in the Milwaukee Museum for decades,” said museum director Kurt Sampson. “We’re working hard to get it set up, but we probably won’t have it completed in time for the party. Nonetheless, people can get a good preview of what’s in store if they stop in on June 22.”

Also on display will be the large collection of local displays and artifacts including a one-room school, a comprehensive American military history collection, a display of Monarch Range stoves and other materials, displays revealing famous people from Beaver Dam and more.

Special party attractions include arts and crafts for kids with Cathy Barnett, vehicles restored by Glenn Barnett, free root beer floats, sidewalk chalk art and music by Glen Navis and Casey Carney from 1-3 p.m.

Additional attractions include a demo of a rope-making machine that was used during the days when hemp was a valuable local product. The Milwaukee Road caboose will also be open, and a diorama of downtown Beaver Dam will be on display with creator Joshua Thornton on hand to answer questions.

A new feature this year will be two “Curiosity Trunks” featuring artifacts from Dodge County’s distant past.

“Have you ever touched an antique beaver skin hat?” Sampson asked. “Now’s your chance. One of the trunks was brought here on a wagon drawn by oxen in the 1840s. It contains some of the items that would have brought to the area by the first white settlers.”

Museum president Patrick Lutz will be leading historic downtown tours at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., featuring the historic murals that were painted around the city in 2017. Local landmarks and 17 murals, many depicting long-ago businesses and people, will be highlighted.

At the same time, mural artists, led by Wayland Academy art teacher Justin Behm and Beaver Dam High School art instructor Kelli Dercks, will be working on the city’s 18th mural in the alley between American Bank at 115 Front St. and B&D Music Center at 127 Front St.

“Art in the Alley” will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and visitors will be invited to infill the outlines of local heroes and everyday citizens.

“Everyone can participate and truly be a part of downtown history,” Behm said. “No previous experience is required.”

All activities are free, although donations are gratefully accepted at the Dodge County Historical Society Museum.

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