We left Blackhawk Park Thursday morning and drove 67 miles to Tomah Recreation Park, the first of our group to arrive, but within a few minutes others arrived from Potosi and Janesville. What timing! Seventeen rigs in all from the Rocky Roller and Bell Ringers Good Sam Chapters.
Most arrived on Thursday the balance on Friday. One of our number met with an unfortunate incident, fortunately no one was hurt but their “almost new” rig was pretty messed up. They were exiting a rest area from the truck/RV parking while a car was also exiting from the car parking and the driver of the car reached down for something while the vehicle was in motion. He completely missed the yield and smack. Our friends have to get the RV fixed before they leave for Alabama in a few weeks so it will be a hectic time for them.
This get-together has been in the works for months a joint effort between the Bell Ringers and Rocky Rollers Good Sam Chapters. We chose to camp at the Tomah Recreation Park because the City of Tomah was offering shuttle bus service departing the park from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of the three days of the festival. Buses pick up and drop off continuously during those hours. Taking the bus was definitely the smart thing to do. The parking was unbelievable. Every available space was used and prices ranged from $1 for a motorcycle to $12. The price difference was in proportion to the distance from the event.
The view from the bus.
Except for three days a year, Warrens is a town of about 250 residents. For those three days Warrens hosts about 110,000 visitors, 1,300 art and craft booths, 350 flea market and antique booths and 100 farm market booths, as well as food vendors.
Behind Tom you can see some of the thousands filling the streets, lawns, and sidewalks throughout the town.
The booths were crammed between homes and businesses and some aisles were so narrow. Just wide enough for folks to pass single file in each direction with a passing lane in the middle. (I wish I would have taken more photos.) In these narrow quarters people were carrying some pretty huge items. I saw one lady with a huge wooden daisy about 5 feet in diameter. While others had large metal lawn ornaments. And I can’t forget to mention carts (as pictured above) being pushed or pulled up and down the narrow aisles. Groups of people would dress alike to make it easier to find each other. We saw groups with crazy hats and headbands and one group of women with those long novelty bikini body t-shirts.
From what I understand the art and craft booths are not juried and are intermingled with the flea market and antique booths. Making it confusing for the buyers trying to find handcrafted items and also making it hard for the crafts people to compete with mass produced items. I found it all very interesting from a perspective of having run a art and craft fair.
Largest Cranberry Craisin™ Whoopie Pie in the World--This pie, we were told, was held together with steel rods and was inedible as it had been sitting in the sun.
If the group goes again, we probably would go, but we may not go to the festival.