After a long absence, the fall festival tradition is being revived in downtown Beaver Dam.
The second annual Downtown Beaver Dam Inc. Fall Downtown Festival will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the downtown area. Most of the events are free or will accept donations to help defray costs.
The Fall Fest tradition goes back decades, although various events have come and gone over that time.
“A number of years ago, some downtown business owners put together an event called Colorfest,” said longtime downtown volunteer Sandy Dray. “It was held the third Saturday in September. There have been a lot of changes in the downtown the last few years. It is great to see a new group with new ideas and enthusiasm putting together a new event called Fall Downtown Fest.”
Organizing the event has been hectic, with a committee of about a dozen people preparing for what they hope will be another successful downtown happening. Help was also obtained from students at Don Smith Learning Academy and Green Valley Life Academy, who helped install corn stalks from the farm of Andy and Tracey Propst as preparation for the second annual offering.
Activities are focused in the 200 block of Front Street, although other events are spread throughout the community. Activities there include kids scratch art ornaments and a beaded pumpkin craft offered by the Beaver Dam Community Activities & Services Department, a DJ and live music and a bounce house and characters provided by Rogers Cinema.
Rogers Cinema will also be showing “The Addams Family” movie. Admission will be charged.
In the street will be a Martial Arts America demonstration and class at 11 a.m., a live “Thriller” performance by Dance Now! Dance Studios at noon and square dancing with the Swingin’ Beavers at 1 p.m.
There will be free Waldvogel’s Farm Market/The Studio pumpkin decorating/carving at the corner of Front and Center streets for the first 50 people. Local talent Molly Davis will be performing there as well.
Attractions in the Tower Parking Lot (south of the 100 block of Front Street) include Roger Noll’s Monarch Calliope and the McKinstry’s Home Furnishings Cardboard Box Maze. Habitat for Humanity will offer electronics recycling at the south end of the lot (near Mill Street). Fees are $1 per inch (measured diagonally) for TVs and computer monitors; $1 for mice and keyboards; $5 for fax machines, printers, VCR/DVD players and stereo components and speakers (per unit). Computers, laptops, cellphones, cable boxes, disk/hard drives, game consoles and batteries will be accepted free of charge.
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Children’s IDs will be issued by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in the Modern Woodmen of America office on Front Street. Life Herb will offer CBD-infused coffee and tea samples. There will be cookie decorating at Las Dos Chicas Consignment Boutique.
Several businesses will hold drawings for prizes and other giveaways. Many will offer trick-or-treating — look for signs in their windows to indicate participation. Costumes are encouraged.
A scavenger hunt will also be held with contest forms available at participating locations (watch for window signs). Prize winners must answer trivia questions at each location. Winners will later be notified and may collect their prizes at McKinstry’s Home Furnishings.
Ooga Brewing Company is offering free Jim Zahn’s tractor-drawn wagon rides with stops at Ooga, the Maple Street parking lot and the West Tower Parking Lot (at the pedestrian bridge).
The Dodge County Historical Society Museum will be open, along with the Dodge County Center for the Arts. Both will participate in trick-or-treating and the scavenger hunt.
Food options include food at Southern Love, barbecue at Ooga Brewing Co., slices of Park Plaza Pizza, caramel apples from Rechek’s Food Pride and half-price ice cream cones and dishes at Annabelle’s Ice Cream Parlor (which will also offer balloon art).
Fun continues after dark with live music at Ooga Brewery, a Masquerade Party at Riverfront Wine Bar and a Halloween Party featuring Dexter Rd. at Stormy’s Music Venue. There will also be a family skate party at Beaver Dam Family Center from 6-9 p.m.
“We organized Fall Downtown Fest to bring families out together during the day and the adults to come back out for fun at night,” said Downtown Community Development Manager Mary Vogel-Rauscher. “It’s our goal to bring the community together and to help create some wonderful memories in and around downtown Beaver Dam.”
“This is a great event to encourage people to walk and discover hidden gems in our downtown” said Downtown Beaver Dam Inc. President Mike Wissell. “We have great businesses our community should be supporting and there is a lot happening with the revitalization of our downtown. We want people to experience it firsthand.”