BRANT LAKE - Not since the golden days of the Horicon Fire Department's July 4 festivities decades ago has the town of Horicon planned such an ambitious townwide event.
Dozens of people are now preparing for the Horicon Day festival set for Saturday, Aug. 7, which is expected to bring local citizens and summer residents together with neighbors in the surrounding communities to enjoy the festivities.
Born from suggestions more than a year ago, councilmen Joe Dooris and Bob Olson recruited volunteers and soon had commitments from nearly every organization and church in town to make the event a success.
The day's activities start at 2 p.m., with local crafters, artisans and local business people manning booths at the Town of Horicon Community Center in Brant Lake offering various wares. Included will be locally produced maple syrup products, paintings, metal work, wood crafts, American girl doll clothing, pack baskets, jewelry, T-shirts, produce and much more.
Also, the Brant Lake Association, in an educational booth, will be showing attendees how the group is effectively battling the nuisance weed milfoil.
All day behind the local firehouse, the Horicon Volunteer Ladies Auxiliary will be selling grilled burgers and hot dogs as well popcorn, hot and cold drinks, and snacks. Nearby, Cub Scouts will be holding a tag sale. Boy Scouts will have an encampment and displays behind the town ballfield.
Near the town pavilion, there will be a display of locally-owned classic vehicles, as well as displays by Brant Lake Collision. It is hoped at least one locally crafted Garwood boat will be displayed.
For the young - and young at heart - there will be games and contests galore- a bounce house and inflatable obstacle course, along with face painting, a fish pond, coin pitches, and other games.
In the Mill Pond, the Girl Scouts will hold greased-watermelon-retrieval contests starting at 2:30 p.m. every hour until the beach area closes. Two pie-eating contests will begin around 6 p.m. near the firehouse. Sponsored by the Horicon Ladies Auxiliary, this latter contest has two divisions, one for ages 12 and younger and the other for ages 13.
From 4 to 6 p.m., an exhibition softball game between the North Warren High School girls and the "Geriatric League " will be featured on the ballfield behind the Horicon Community Center.
At the Horicon Museum, tours will be conducted and a new and used book sale will be held. Among the new books, will be the latest edition detailing Warren County history and local author Mary Paladin's newest book will be available.
Local musicians will provide entertainment from 4 p.m. and extend well into the evening.
All events are free, except for food purchases and minor fees for the use of inflatables sponsored by the Baptist Church and the Horicon Fire Department. Tip buckets will be set out for donations to the volunteer musicians and to collect cash for the fire department.
The event will culminate with a giant fireworks display, presented by Alonzo Fireworks, at dusk. Folks are urged to bring their blankets and chairs. Parking is available and attendees are asked to follow the signs to keep traffic flowing smoothly, an event organizer said.
"Please come to Horicon Day, and see what big things a little town has to offer," she said.
Those individuals, crafters, organizations and businesses that would like to participate, are asked to call Maureen Wilson before Aug.1 at 803-4082 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Event organizer Joe Dooris, a Horicon Town Board member, said Horicon residents have high expectations for the community festival.
"As a kid, the July 4 festival was the 'big thing' in town," he said. "As teenagers we helped run booths and had a great time."
He said he hopes the new Horicon Day festival capture this same spirit of excitement and family fun.
"We hope everyone comes out and enjoys themselves," he said. "We'd like to see it come back each year, attracting bigger crowds each time. In the long term, it will be good for the community."