Last weekend, I attended the 65th Annual Musky Festival sponsored by the Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce. It takes place right in my fabulous hometown and is just one of the many events we boast year-round.
Musky Fest has always been a weekend to look forward to. When I was little, it was all about the carnival and the food that comes with it. Pre-teen and teen years, I was occupied with the major social aspect of it. Now that I’m getting older, I’m still enthused about the social aspect, enticed by the drinking and party atmosphere, aaaaaand mostly a devotee to the sense of family and tradition it carries.
Each year, I have list of various things I have to do, or Musky Fest just wasn’t done right. I was so excited to not only share this event and my list with all of my followers, but with my Big Sister in my sorority who came home with me. Side note: We obnoxiously matched on Sunday, because we could.
Little Big and Big Little ready for the parade!
Unfortunately, due to some schedule conflicts, I didn’t complete every single thing. But I can still share with you what is important to me, what I did accomplish, and what I recommend you check out. I’ll give you a breakdown of the three days I spent at home with a case of Musky Fest fever.
Friday night, my boyfriend, my Big, and I drove the two hours home and got to Hayward around 6 o’clock. We made a pit stop to unload our luggage and what not. Then we headed into town to get some dinner with a friend. We couldn’t say no to some Coop’s Pizza Parloure.
We enjoyed our delicious BBQ Chicken Pizza. Well, most of us had pizza. I’ve never had anything but pizza at Coop’s Pizza, though they offer a variety of foods including pastas, sandwiches, and burgers. It took the out-of-towner to be the weirdo who ordered a burger and learned they weren’t that great. So recommendation, get the pizza.
Next, we walked the short distance to Main Street, where all the festivities are held. Well, all but the carnival which has moved several times in my lifetime, each time FURTHER from Main Street. But never beyond a short walk at least!
I immediately began running into several friends and family members, both those who I’d seen recently and those I hadn’t. Musky Festival is really just a giant reunion. I didn’t even actually make it into the fenced in street dance and beer tent that night. I spent a majority of my time standing on the sidewalk in front of Angler’s Bar and Grill catching whoever happened to be walking past. I didn’t drink a single drop on Friday night, but it was still a great time. I also learned that being home and surround by so many familiar faces is where I’m truly in my element as a social butterfly. My Big said she’d never seen me so energetic! And as I “danced” and gestured my way through every conversation, my brother joked that “this is why we call her dancing queen.” -contented sigh- Home.
Somewhere in there I had a point about what I was doing. Oh yes! Standing in front of Angler’s Bar and Grill. Another recommendation for if you ever make it up to the Hayward area. It’s packed beyond belief during Musky Fest weekend, but it offers yummy food and a view of Main Street so you can people watch on their patio!
Picture courtesy of Angler’s website.
Anyway. Next comes Saturday, where we had a full day ahead of us. This is where the scheduling conflicts (but really they were more like sleep issues) came into effect. My boyfriend, his sister, and I had planned to go do some shooting of clay pigeons, tube down the river, and then make it downtown to check out the craft and food vendors before they shut down.
But alas, we overslept. So we missed the opportunity to do the shooting part of the day. And by the time we finally got everyone to meet and get down the river, the vendors had closed for the day. That’s one of the things on my list I didn’t get to complete…Making at least one lap up and down and around Main Street to see all of the interesting, unique, and fun products people are offering. There’s a recommendation in there for you, too, fellow traveler. Make sure to check out the vendors.
On the bright side, tubing was a blast. Another recommendation, tube the Namekagon River. There are lots of places in town and just outside of town (20 minutes down the road in Trego) that rent out tubes and provide shuttle service. The views are beautiful and the trip is rather relaxing. Just make sure you tie your tubes together in a sensible fashion that allows you to keep each other out of the weeds and trees!
I don’t have any awesome tubing pictures to share with you. For three reasons; I was afraid we’d miss the shuttle if we took one before, I obviously didn’t bring my phone or a camera down the river, and I was maybe a little drunk and cranky when we got back to the landing. Oops!
So basically, I went home, took a shower and took a well needed nap. The next thing I knew, I got a knock on the door saying it was time for dinner. So my crew ate, got all glamoured up, and headed back down to Main Street for the evening’s festivities.
This time, I actually paid to get into the street dance and got my 21-and-older bracelet. I flitted around the beer tent socializing and bull shitting as best I could. I got a little dancing in, check. And my feet were definitely covered in beer. Because it isn’t a Musky Fest unless you get spilled on at least twice!
It was all fun and fabulous, until the street dance was over and I realized I’d lost my phone. Panic ensued, I had several people searching, I got snippy and cried, I talked to my cousin (the police officer who took notes in his cute little officer notebook), and I got really upset when my boyfriend called and someone answered but didn’t talk.
By this time, we had been ushered out of the street dance by the police officers. So naturally, we headed into the other bar on Main Street, the Gridiron Pub and Grub. Fun fact, one of my very best friend’s parents just renovated and opened it. I think you can sense a shameless plug coming…and that’s good, because here it is. Another recommendation, when in Hayward, The Gridiron Pub and Grub is another option for good food, some drinks, and a great atmosphere (it’s family friendly too, as there is a dining room and patio in back!)
Anyway, while we were in the bar, my boyfriend came up to me and told me I’d better love him. He’d found my phone! I got the whole story and thanked both people involved (who were both at the same bar) profusely. Turns out one of the guys I graduated with had found it on the ground and knew better than to just leave it there, so he picked it up. When he gave it to his friend, she went to turn it off and saw my boyfriend was calling and answered because she recognized is his name. Ding ding ding! Phone located and passed back to me. I got my phone back with 22 missed calls, and told myself I knew there was a reason everyone had first and last names in my contacts! Ha. Thank GOD for small towns. You know, sometimes knowing pretty damn near everybody doesn’t turn out that bad!
So the rest of the night was fun and we went home happy. Yay!
This was clearly taken AFTER finding my phone.
On to the final day of the week that is my favorite day as far as family and tradition. Sunday is parade day! Sunday was a lazy morning for us. But for those who are feeling ambitious, there is a Musky Fest 5K Run/Walk to tackle. Yeehaw!
Anyway, the real attraction on Sunday is the grand parade. This year, my marvelous aunt just happened to be the grand marshal. How cool is that?! So after the veterans and flags, the official banner of the parade, my aunt and her grandsons in a pontoon, what seemed to be every fire truck in the surrounding area, the Musky Fest royalty float, the Hayward High School Marching band, the Shriners, a bunch of political/advertising/and organizational floats and vehicles, and a few other royalty ladies went by…
The veterans that started the parade.
Musky Festival royalty.
Hayward High School Marching Band.
Shriner Drums and Bugle Corps.
my absolute favorite part of the whole parade came marching down the street.
I wait all year to hear their drumbeat!
Marty’s Goldenaires. A legion sponsored marching band based out of Bessemer, Michigan. They come and play every year. There are always several familiar faces and a few brand new baby-faced boys sprinkled in. It’s an all men’s marching band with members ranging from teens to their sixties! (Maybe even older.) They are always the grand finale of the parade. They always come back around the block and play in the main area where the street dance had taken place the few nights before. They always then go play at a nearby bar, and then the backroom of the Veterans’ Center.
Marty’s Goldenaires ready to perform on Main Street after the parade.
And ever since I can remember, I’ve followed that band through each performance (minus the local bar one) with my dad. I can’t even explain what it is that makes them so awesome to me. Maybe it’s the nostalgia they bring. And not only do they play a variety of music and play it very well, but they are entertaining. They have established little tricks and gimmicks throughout the show. My favorite thing they do at the Veteran’s Center is play through the song for each branch of the military, and recognize the veterans that stand. It’s pretty awesome and a great sense of American Pride can be felt!
Just part of the band and the audience packed into the not-so-large back room of the Veteran’s’ Center.
My dad, me, my aunt (the grand marshal), and my other lovely aunt.
You know how they say “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”? Well, I say “Musky Fest isn’t over until the Goldenaires play”. And that’s just how I roll. (Someday I’ll figure out how to add all the videos I took.)
After the festivities of the weekend this year, I really got family and tradition at my uncle’s surprise birthday party. It’s very rare that my dad and his five sisters are all in the same place anymore, so hanging out with my aunts, uncles, and cousins was the perfect way to end a great weekend.
My uncle is the birthday boy on the left. And the rest are my daddy and his five sisters.
My final recommendation? Visit Hayward. Even if it’s not for the Musky Festival, there are plenty of things to check out. I might just have to blog about my unique and attraction-filled hometown and tell you all about what else there is to do! Until then, that’s what I’ve got.
Miss Leslie the Good Witch
P.S. I forgot to mention one other Musky Fest tradition that’s been attempted but not always fulfilled for six years now. Cheese curds with my boyfriend’s little sister. Check and yum!
All parade pictures are courtesy of my Big’s photography skills.