Warrens, Wisconsin has long been known as the Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin. This village offers everything you need for your next vacation including cranberry themed attractions, top tier accommodations, and massive community celebrations.
Cranberry is king in Warrens. In a state that leads America in cranberry production, being in the number one spot is a big deal. You’ll encounter plenty of opportunities to learn all about the berry and its effect on the community. The Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center is the best place to begin your Warrens adventure. The center contains an informative museum that outlines berry production and local contributions to the industry. Other things to enjoy at the center include a test kitchen with delectable cranberry inspired treats, gift shop filled with cranberry related items, and an ice cream parlor. Another great way to get the scoop about cranberries is by visiting one of the local cranberry marshes. The Wetherby Cranberry Company is just a couple miles outside the village and has been growing the berry for over a century. They offer fun and informative tours that show you the entire process, from growing to harvesting. Plus, you get the opportunity to purchase fresh cranberries onsite.
Warrens and the surrounding communities are home to a variety of great lodging providers. Jellystone Warrens is one of the unique resorts in the area. It’s perfect for families and groups of friends. Whether you're looking to stay in one of the beautiful villas or at one of the scenic campsites, they have you covered. The activities you’ll find at Jellystone Warrens include a fully outfitted waterpark, mini golf, playground, entertainment center, courts for sports and so much more. Warrens Lodging is another quality lodging provider with great properties in close proximity to attractions in the area. They feature seven different floor plans for their log-style villas and can accommodate groups up to 36 people. The villas are conveniently located right off of I-94 in Warrens, tucked away in a beautiful wooded setting.
While the village population is only around 400, this doesn't keep them from hosting massive community events. The Warrens Cranberry Festival is back for its 44th year and ready to temporarily increase the village’s population to over 130,000. The festival is one of the largest shopping themed events in the Midwestern United States and is a great event for all ages. There will be a staggering 1,200 vendors selling their unique items and creations. In addition to the shopping, this is a celebration of the cranberry. The cranberry experience ranges from delicious food items to tours of the cranberry marshes. ResortsandLodges.com got the opportunity to speak to Kim Schroeder, General Manager of the Warrens Cranberry Festival Inc., to talk about this great event.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
KS: This is the 44th Annual Warrens Cranberry Festival. This year’s event will take place between September 23rd and 25th.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw and who are they demographically? Children? Families? Couples?
KS: We have about 1,200 vendors selling goods and we see roughly 130,000 attendees. Demographically it's mostly women since this is a shopping event, but we encourage everyone to check out the festivities.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KS: Shopping is the biggest draw and then learning about the cranberry history with our tours. We also have the largest marching band parade in the state of Wisconsin.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
KS: Here is a list of what patrons will find for activities:
Over 90 food booths including Cranberry Jubilee; a tasty treat cooked in a 4’ frying pan
Marsh tours to learn about the cranberry industry
Pie eating contest
Find a medallion contest
We love seeing our guests dressed up in different costumes. They do this so they can easily find each other. We pick one group to honor the following year with special treatment.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
KS: Yes, we have many special guests at the festival including Miss Wisconsin, Alice in Dairyland, local radio and television station personalities, retired Packers, Miss Teen Wisconsin, Outstanding Teen Wisconsin, Honey Queen, and many more.
RAL: What dining options will people encounter?
KS: This year's food selection is great! We have over 90 food booths, many with cranberries included in their menus. Some of the foods include cranberry cream puffs, deep-fried cranberries on a stick, cranberry brats, sausage, cheesecake on a stick, and more.
RAL: What is environment like?
KS: The environment is fun and festive. It's a fall festival with music, vendors, sights, and smells. We are just looking to give all of our attendees a great experience.
RAL: What does the event mean to the community?
KS: We have helped many different organizations in the community. Each year over $100,000 goes to the organizations. We just pledged $10,000 a year for 10 years, to help the fire department purchase a new ladder truck. We have provided funding for the school's computer lab and playground equipment, helped with roads, sidewalks, street sweepers, and the list goes on. Not bad for a festival in village of under 400 people. Some of the organizations we help include Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, Gridiron Club, snowmobile clubs, Lions Club, Youth Association Club, and others in surrounding communities.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
KS: Yes, millions of dollars are spent in our county as the result of the festival.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KS: Many of our visitors tell us it is a family reunion or a girl’s weekend. We make many memories from our Be Our Guest contest, as the winners all write stories about their experiences with our festival. If you have never been here, it is worth the trip to try us out. You’ll not be disappointed!
For more information about the Warrens Cranberry Festival, please visit their website.