By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Savor the Flavor of the Kickapoo Valley

It’s time to ‘savor the flavor’ this weekend at an all-new event, called ‘Flavor of the Kickapoo,’ being held at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Gays Mills.

The ‘Flavor of the Kickapoo-Savor the Flavor and Outdoor Lifestyle Tour’ will highlight Gays Mills and the Kickapoo Valley as a destination for all things outdoors. It all starts Friday, Oct. 7 with a ‘launch party’ at 5 p.m. featuring a tapping of Potosi Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale. The launch party will also feature some free tastings of organic wine and cheese.

In addition to Potosi’s Pumpkin Ale, the launch party will also offer New Glarus Brewery’s Spotted Cow and Potosi Cave Ale. The action will take place at Building #5 on the fairgrounds.

Around 7 p.m., Spacemodulatore will share its take on spacey funk music. They will be followed by Five Watt, an alternative rock band from Viroqua, which performs original music. At 7:30 p.m. it will be time to ‘glow with the flow’ on the dance floor, when the glow sticks come out.

“Come and enjoy autumn colors, great food, brews of the harvest, sports and outdoor fun for all ages,” says ‘Flavor’ organizer Mickie Rasch.

Great Lakes Climbing will bring a portable climbing wall to the Kickapoo Valley courtesy of BAPI. The wall has four climbing routes and is a challenging sport for all ages. Run against the clock, challenge your friends to the fastest climb on the Speed Rock wall, or test your climbing skills on our expert route, rated a 5.8. The wall will be available each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will also be a bungee jump available. Both activities are modestly priced.

The Savor the Flavor Farmers Market, featuring many of your favorite Gays Mills Farmer market vendors and more, will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. There will be pumpkin carving both days.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, things get underway for the geo-caching treasure hunters at 10 a.m., when cache coordinates will be released and the treasure hunters will be given a bingo card to record the caches they find. Participants will need a GPS or a smart phone with appropriate applications. Within these caches, all located within 10 miles of the fairgrounds, are 15 trackable bugs. The cards can be turned in by 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and drawings for prizes will be held each day.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, the Cast “Iron Chef” Cooking Contest will begin on the fairgrounds. Contestants will cook on an open fire. The entries will be judged along with entries in the pumpkin carving contest at 4 p.m. with awards presented at 5 p.m.

Outdoor authors Bob Willging and Len Harris will be on hand to sell and sign books from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Len Harris, a Gays Mills native and local trout-fishing aficionado, just released ‘The Stream of Time,’ a compilation of his short stories. Willging wrote two books of interest to Wisconsin sportsmen—‘On the Hunt: The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin’ and ‘History Afield: Stories from the Golden Age of Wisconsin Sporting Life.’

The party livens up a bit at 3 p.m. with the tapping of the New Glarus Brewery’s Apple Ale made with Kickapoo Orchard apple cider.

Learn how to become an SOB (Saver of Bats) from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Conservation biologist Heather Kaaraka of the WDNR’s Bureau of Endangered Resources will speak about bat protection efforts in Wisconsin. Bats save North American farmers $22 billion each year in pesticide costs by consuming insects. Learn how you can get involved with citizen-based monitoring from the Wisconsin Bat Monitoring Program and how you can help combat a deadly disease called white-nose syndrome that is threatening North American bats.

Bat greeting cards and puppet-making for children will take place concurrently from 1 to 3 p.m. Kids and their parents can make a card or puppet to take home.

The music ramps up on Saturday evening starting with the Roddys, a Madison-based band, featuring Terre Van Harren, the manager of the Hillcrest Orchard and her husband Doc. The Freaks of Nature, featuring Joe Brandt, Barry Jensen and their friends, will take the stage around 9 p.m. This is the place to be if you’re looking to dance or just listen to some good music on a Saturday night.

Sunday features author Ed Janus discussing the importance of the dairy industry to Wisconsin. His book is titled ‘Creating Dairyland: How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin.’ Willging and Harris will also be on hand with their books.

Anyone getting hungry? Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can purchase a delicious roast pork dinner just a block away from  St. Mary’s Annual Fall Fundraising Roast Pork Dinner. Grab a carry out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and enjoy the fall colors while picnicking in the unique Log Cabin Village Park, adjoining the fairgrounds. There will be a guided tour of the Log Cabin Village at 1 p.m.

Music mellows out on Sunday with the old-time bluegrass sounds of the Pie City Ramblers from 2 to 4 p.m. The Savor the Flavor Farmers Market will run from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday

In addition to all the activities at the Crawford County Fairgrounds, Savor the Flavor reminds everyone to visit the nearby orchards and see the fall colors while in Gays Mills.

Savor the Flavor also reminds everyone attending the activities to stop by the grand opening of the Marketplace, the village’s relocated grocery store, convenience store and gas station located on Highway 131 about a mile north of the fairgrounds.

Flavor of the Kickapoo Savor the Flavor Outdoor Lifestyle Tour is presented by the Friends of Gays Mills with assistance from the Crawford County Fair and the Kickapoo Stump Dodger Campground.

For additional information, updated activities, and how you can participate contact Julie Henley at 735-4321 or Mickie Rasch at 735-4008, or visit