Returning the first weekend in October for its 42nd year, plans are underway for the popular Cranberry Fest held annually at the Vilas County Fairgrounds in Eagle River.

The event, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2, celebrates Wisconsin’s famous little red berry, and the various food and drinks inspired by them. Approximately 300 booths will be on-site offering arts and crafts, and cranberry-inspired foods and drinks.

In addition to the large craft show at the fairgrounds, Saturday also will offer a farmers market and antiques show downtown.

According to Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center Executive Director Kim Emerson, an estimated 10,000 pounds of cranberries are sold during the event. They’ll be made into an array of delicious food and drink items such as juice, soda, beer, wine, meatballs, fritters, pies, breads, chutney and more. Berries will be for sale Saturday at the fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It takes 400 volunteers and more than 2,000 hours of their time to make the festival possible each year,” Emerson said. “Anyone interested in volunteering should call the Eagle River chamber.”

Reservations are now open for participants to book their spot for cranberry marsh tours and wine tasting at local marshes beginning Thursday, Sept. 29, and going through Sunday, Oct. 2.

Tours of the Lake Nokomis Cranberries Inc. marsh cost $8 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and younger. Children age 3 and younger are free if they sit on an adult’s lap. Tours will depart from the Eagle River chamber, located at 201 N. Railroad St. in Eagle River.

To learn more about scheduled tour times and to make a reservation, call the chamber at (715) 479-6400.

Other Cranberry Fest weekend events include a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. at the fairgrounds both Saturday and Sunday, the bake sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Bill Stevens Entertainment both days at the fairgrounds.

Pets are not allowed at the Vilas County Fairgrounds.

For more information, contact the Eagle River chamber or visit eagleriver.org. For a complete list of vendors, activities and more, contact the chamber for a copy of the Cranberry Crier publication.



Leader in cranberries

Wisconsin’s cranberry growers are expecting a solid 2022 crop at 5.2 million barrels based on the crop projections announced during a recent U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) meeting.

If the Wisconsin and other states’ projections stay on course, Wisconsin will remain the largest cranberry-producing state growing and harvesting more than 63% of the nation’s supply and more than 50% of the world’s supply.

“We are pleased to hear from our growers that their crops look strong and healthy and are on track for a normal growing season,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA). “The state cranberry industry, and nationwide as a whole, is well positioned to bring in a solid crop and have the demand worldwide to fully utilize it.”

The CMC forecast marks the 28th year that Wisconsin has led the nation in cranberry production.

The other largest cranberry growing states and their 2022 crop size projections are: Massachusetts at 1.89 million barrels; New Jersey at 550,000 barrels; Oregon at 510,000 barrels; and, Washington at 160,000 barrels. In total, the U.S. crop is expected to be 8.3 million barrels.

Wisconsin’s final 2021 crop came in at 3.9 million barrels.

“More than half the entire world’s supply of cranberries are grown on Wisconsin family farms, generating $1 billion in economic impact and providing thousands of local jobs across the Badger state, so it is always good news beyond our growers when the crop looks solid,” said Lochner. “We now hope Mother Nature continues to cooperate, and we get some cool fall nights for the berries to reach their dark red color, and then on to harvest, our favorite time of the year.”

The CMC administers the Federal Marketing Order charged with ensuring a stable supply of quality cranberry products, and works to increase demand domestically and open new markets overseas.

Wisconsin cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in central and northern regions of the state. Approximately 3% of this year’s crop will be sold as fresh fruit, and the remaining cranberries will be frozen and stored for longer-term sales as frozen berries, dried cranberries, juices, sauces and more. Wisconsin’s cranberry harvest typically begins in late September and runs until mid-October.

WSCGA was founded in 1887 and is committed to developing and implementing programs that will assist growers in doing a better job of growing cranberries and strengthening the public support for the industry in Wisconsin. For more information, visit wiscran.org.