Monday, September 30, 2013

World’s Largest Cranberry Festival

Welcome to Warrens, Wisconsin – the cranberry capital of Wisconsin – and the 41st Annual Cranberry Festival. Being first timers, we both can say it was quite the experience - that is, the “shopping” experience.  Our friend Donna invited us to spend the day with her at the festival.  Although, getting up early to leave by 4:10a (yes, that is AM - as she was driving) wasn’t something that we were any too excited about, but we managed very nicely.  Donna loves shopping for items for her beautiful flower gardens so we were all excited to hit the road.

Note:  This day was also my one year retirement anniversary – and our granddaughter, Julia’s, 1st birthday – so I was pumped!  Jeff and I continue to “immensely” enjoy every minute of retirement and time spent with as many of our 5 grandkids that we can.  They are:  Ariana (12 years), Joseph (11 years), Daniel (9 years), Jacob (7 years) and Julia (1 year).

Julia Nola

If you are in need of an over dose of crafts, you need not go further than this event where there are more than 1,300 booths covering three miles of frontage (850 arts/crafts booths, 350 unique brand items and 100 food/produce (cranberry, of course) booths).  Just thinking about it, makes our feet hurt.  A 1.45 hour drive from our home to Warrens and then walking for about 7+ hours, we were spent!  We were well into being up for 16 hours when we crashed early to hit the sack to catch some well needed Zzzzzzzzz’s.

The festival was named a top 10 event in Wisconsin by and “One of Nine Flavorful Fall Festivals by U.S. News-Travel.  Have to do it once in our lifetime….right?  Just a few pictures to share, and did we come home with some items…you bet!  Enjoy!

Kay & Donna on Main Street--before any purchases!

Vendor offering the ladies some interesting pieces.

Right up Donna's alley for her flower garden.

These metal pinwheels were the rage for buyers.

Beautiful stained glass inlay on old house windows.

Just a sea of people everywhere...Yikes!

Your choice of "lakes" sculpted in wood.

Carving letters into stone, personalizing rock.

Rock fountain.

Our new "Welcome Bear"...what shall we name him?

Fast food from Hell - drive at your own speed!

Cranberries . . . did you know?

The cranberry is only one of a handful of fruits that are native to North America – the Concord grape and blueberry being others.  The first cranberry crop recorded in history dated back to 1816 in Dennis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.  American and Canadian sailors on long voyages knew they could eat cranberries to protect themselves from scurvy.  Cranberry juice was first made by American settlers in 1683.  Cranberry sauce was first marketed in 1912.  70% of the cranberries sold in the world today come from Ocean Spray, a grower cooperative started in 1930. 

The Name ~ The cranberry gets its name from Dutch and German settlers who called the tart fruit “crane berries”.  In late spring when the vines bloom, the petals of the light pink flowers twist back resembling the head and bill of a crane.  Over time, the name was shortened to cranberries.

Cranberry Trivia ~ They are grown primarily in five states: Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.  Small pockets of air inside the berry cause a good, ripe cranberry to bounce and float.  Some cranberry beds are over 100 years old.  Honeybees are often used to pollinate cranberry crops and are more valuable in the performance of this task than they are in the production of honey.

A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low-running vines in sandy blogs and marshes.  Some bogs are flooded at harvest time, and the berries are raked from the surface of the water.  Others use harvesting machines that rake the fresh cranberries off the vines.

Statistics ~

·        Americans consume some 400 million pounds of cranberries per year of which 20% is during Thanksgiving week.

·        Americans consumer nearly 5.1 million gallons of jellied cranberry sauce every holiday season.  (I think I’m getting a tummy ache!)

·        It takes about 200 cranberries to make one can of cranberry sauce.  WOW!

·        About 95% of cranberries are processed into juice, sauce, or dried with only about 5% sold as fresh.

·        There are 440 cranberries in one pound, 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice, and 44,000 cranberries in a 100-pound barrel.

·        If all of the cranberries that are produced in North America were strung together, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times.

 Last but not least, some pre-Halloween fun that we came upon while driving home that day.  The couple that owned the house were getting it ready for Halloween, so we couldn't resist.  Fun!
Donna really wanted to be the witch...big time!

Gotta have fun!!!!

Happy Halloween

Hugs to all. . .

Kay & Jeff