The cheese stands alone at Wittenberg Community Days

Annual festival provides plenty of fun over three days
Greg Seubert

Weather can sometimes make or break a small-town celebration like Wittenberg Community Days.

Mother Nature didn’t have any tricks up her sleeve for this year’s event, which wrapped up a three-day run June 9 under mostly sunny skies with a parade, live music, midway carnival rides, vendors and raffles — and, of course, deep-fried cheese curds courtesy of the Wittenberg Lions Club.

The club set up its familiar bright yellow cheese curd trailer, a fixture at the festival for years.

“It used to be quite a big event, but then it went downhill,” club secretary Gary Thompson said Sunday while he and other club members got ready for the after-parade rush of customers. “They decided to go with the carnival again to bring more people in. It has helped, and the numbers have gone up.”

Saturday turned out to be a big day, according to Thompson.

“Fireworks Country put on a fireworks show for us at dusk, and we had a lot of things going on,” he said. “We had a petting zoo (Saturday). Today, they have a polka band here. They had two different bands yesterday in the bandshell.”

The Lions Club’s cheese curds also drew big crowds, especially after Sunday’s parade.

“We’ve been doing this for many years,” Thompson said. “The proceeds go back to the community. We gave three or four $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors this past year. In the past, we’ve had enough to give six scholarships.”

Cheese curds have turned into a great way for the club to raise funds, Thompson said.

“The Wittenberg Lions Club is pretty well known for our deep-fried cheese curds,” he said. “We fry them fresh right on the spot. This cheese here comes from Nasonville, which is just south of Marshfield. We have a guy up by Merrill that batters them and quick-freezes them and we bring them in here that way.

“We used to batter our own, but that created a problem with the amount of people we have to help,” he added. “We get them frozen and it’s easier for us to do it this way.”

Thompson figured the club went through at least 170 pounds of cheddar cheese Saturday and expected to sell more Sunday.

“Right after the parade, the people watching the parade will come through and that’s really a big rush,” he said. “It’ll get busy around 1 o’clock.”

Thompson believes the revived festival, which expanded to three days this year, is a good thing for the community of just under 1,000 residents.

“It’s gotten better in the last couple years and I think it’s working really well,” he said. “They brought in the crafts and everything else to try to bring in more people. Friday was good and yesterday, the rain quit before noon and it was good after that.”