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This week is the Dells Wo-Zha-Wa festival. Wo-Zha-Wa is a Ho-Chunk phrase which means having fun. It’s a popular time for locals to connect with old friends, for tourists to visit the Dells, and for everyone to celebrate the beginning of September and maybe even find a few deals downtown.

Early in my husband’s and my marriage, we were most drawn to the festival’s antique flea market. We bought our dining room table and hutch there. Lately, I find the arts and crafts more appealing, and I plan on searching for Christmas gifts this weekend. I also enjoy the Wo-Zha-Wa food stands such as the Rotary’s roast beef sandwiches, the Kiwanis grilled cheese and the various fun treats like kettlecorn.

Wo-zha-wa is an entertaining end-of-summer festival, but what does a person do for fun other times of the year? I actually keep a folder titled “fun” and would encourage others to do the same. It’s a great resource for those times when you’re itching to get out of the house but need inspiration. Here’s a sampling of what’s in my “fun” folder.

Topping the stack is a brochure about the September 24th Michael Perry author event and book signing. I’ve read most of Perry’s books and include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, and Coop as some of my all time favorites. I’ve had this event marked on my calendar for months already, but I’m happy to have additional information. Michael is speaking immediately after the free community supper which begins at 5:30 p.m. It’s sure to be a super fun night.

Scattered throughout my “fun” folder are various handwritten notes. One note was written from a man my husband and I met when we travelled with a group to the Canadian Rockies. The man suggested we check out the company “Off the Beaten Path,” which advertises that their adventures are informative, reliable, and fun. A second note is in my handwriting and includes information about renting a four-bedroom island lodge. Located in Winter Wisconsin, this lodge rents for $395 per night, sleeps up to 16 people, and is on an island. If family or friends ever want to trailer a boat and get together for a fun adventure, I’ll be ready with information.

I dig deeper into my folder. I have several articles about hiking trails in the area, including the Ice Age Trail. The IAT is maintained by volunteers and weaves its way for over 1,000 miles. It can be picked up only a few miles from the Dells. Hiking this trail is to follow in the hoof prints of the tusked woolly mammoth roaming the earth 20,000 years ago. I’m glad I have the information in my folder as a reminder to take advantage of this unique trail.

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My folder also contains various maps. One map includes information about the bike trail which begins in Reedsburg and weaves its way through scenic countryside. Another map details some fun kayak adventures such as a stretch beginning at Adam’s county’s Castle Rock and running to Two rivers boat landing.

I flip through and find a newsletter from The Dells/Delton Parks & Recreation. It sends information out to members advertising various events such as an upper dells boat tour on Sept. 19th. This is free for Dells residents. Also listed are classes such as “Strong Bodies, Strong Bones,” line dancing, and a fall painting workshop.

I recently added the fall Just A Game pickleball schedule to my “fun” folder. Pickleball, a paddle sport a bit like tennis, is rumored to be the fastest-growing sport in America. It’s quick, fast-paced, can become competitive, and is wonderfully social. I’ve visited with many fascinating people since I began playing pickleball.

My “fun” folder also includes various brochures. One advertises ski hills which have open powder runs and incredible views of Lake Superior. Another promotes motor coach day trips to various places such as Chicago museums or shopping. A third brochure advertises 11 wineries to visit in the area. I’m keeping this one in mind for a girls’ night out.

For now, though, I close the folder. It’s time to make preparations for Wo-zha-wa. I’ll be working at the Kiwanis food stand, greeting old and new friends, and taking in as many activities as possible. Have a fun weekend, everyone.

Amy Laundrie is available for presentations. She’s a retired Lake Delton Elementary teacher and the author of eight books. Visit www.laundrie.com or contact her at laundrie@live.com.

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