By: Anastasia Penchi
When looking at the State of Wisconsin, Ferryville is hardly a blip on the map.
The federal government counted only 176 residents during its most recent U.S. Census in this Crawford County community.
Nestled at foot of the bluffs along Hwy. 35 between La Crosse and Prairie du Chien, Ferryville has a festival called River Buff Daze that incorporates the use of some of its great outdoors scenery with a variety of organized activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
If small town community festivals along Wisconsin’s Great River Road are appealing to you…
Here are some tips to keep in mind for River Bluff Daze being held on July 22:
Take a Hike
The day starts with a hike on Sugar Creek Bluff, which is a 431-acre block of land owned by a conservation leadership organization called the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. The bluff was designated a State Natural Area in 2002. Meet the guide who will lead the hike at 8:30 a.m. at the boat landing, and get ready to learn. Sugar Creek Bluff features high quality prairies on its west and south-facing slopes, a dry-mesic forest and a rich trout stream. The bluffside prairies that overlook the Mississippi River contain rich flora like prairie drop-seed, big and little blue-stem, New Jersey tea, flowering spurge and bird’s-foot violet. Numerous rare animals and birds are known to inhabit this bluff, and some might be spotted by quiet hikers. For best results, you might want to send that group of kids toward the end.
Antique Tractor Pull
Farmers both In and Out of the Dell are likely to enjoy the festival’s Antique Tractor Pull based on the number of people who post videos online after attending these events. Earplugs are a must for very small children and for anyone with sensitive ears as loud popping sounds are mandatory during pulls of any kind. And often times the attitude of the crowd is – the louder, the better. Does your tractor sound like a loud machine gun? If so, you might like the Antique Tractor Pull. You might even be able to catch a ride by jumping in a tractor-pulled wagon that is provided as a courtesy from the parking area.
The Mighty, “Mega” Farmer’s Market
You know when a community festival puts the word, “mega” in front of something, it’s got to be good. The Bluff River Daze Mega Farmer’s Market is bound to offer shoppers produce the size of small children, don’t you think? If you need to make a dish to pass for the next family picnic, I’m sure the Mega Farmer’s Market has a zucchini that could feed a vanload of elderly relatives until the sun goes down and the van burns rubber all the way back to the assisted living home. I know my own sandpit of a garden provides Texas-sized zucchini without water, weeding or attention of any kind.
Kid games, food and music
Every respectable summer festival comes complete with food and music, and River Bluff Daze is no different. Just don’t ask me for any specifics – such as the type of music being offered exactly, what bands are playing or whether there will be corndogs or any other type of meat on a stick. The details for this event are apparently top secret as I couldn’t find them. Just know there will be kid games, food and music. What more could you possibly want?
End it with fireworks
At dusk, every good July festival rounds out the day with that favorite summer tribute to American patriotism – a free fireworks show. No Western Wisconsin venue would dare forget the “oohs” and “aahs” that the crowds deliver. Bring your blankets and chairs and the bug spray and the cooler. We want the big boomers.
If you would like to learn more about the festival, visit the Ferryville WI Tourism Facebook Page for details.
CHECK OUT VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS IN LA CROSSE COUNTY
Freelance writerAnastasia Penchi is graduate of UW-La Crosse and a long-time Coulee Region writer who has written for area newspapers and magazines (www.loislaneforhire.com).