Hodag Country Festival 2021 brings back fun and smiles

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 9:35 PM CDT
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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) - Hodag Country Festival in Rhinelander started Thursday, July 8 for the four day event. The festival was canceled last year due to Covid-19.

It’s the time of year Central Wisconsinites have been looking forward to, even more so this year after being canceled in 2020.

“So far, the drinks are cold, the food smells delicious, the lineup of food is amazing,” Nicki Kelly said.

The Hodag Country Festival started at 5 p.m. with Wausau native and country music artist Brett Westgrove getting things started.

It’s an experience people couldn’t wait to get back to.

“The people are really nice, it’s a beautiful area and it’s a great time to just enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the country music,” Chuck Hutchins said.

While the four day event features a lineup of big country performers, it’s an annual festival that’s a celebration for many, bringing Central Wisconsin together.

“It’s a family tradition, we’ve been going for 30 some plus years,” Lisa Kiesner said.

Hodag Country Festival has been happening since 1978.

For food vendor Travis Cermoch of Wisconsin Seafood Company, he’s always been a patron of Hodag, but this year wanted to provide fresh seafood to the campers and the fun was still vibrant.

“It’s good for the morale of people, I can see they’re having fun and great music, great performers coming on and I see a lot of people smiling,” Cermoch said.

Cermoch believed there’s over 25,000 campers at this year’s festival.

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