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Monday, June 14, 2010

No Camping Weekend- instead a Copperfest Celebration with family



Our tiny town of Oconto, Wisconsin,  hosts a big celebration every year, called Copperfest.  I took this excerpt from the Chamber of Commerce website:


Oconto has a rich historical past, mainly because of its location along the west shore of the waters of Green Bay.

Approximately 5000 years ago an archaic people, later called the Copper Culture, hunted, fished, and buried their dead on the banks of the Oconto River near the bay. The French Canadians came here in the 1600's to trade for the fur of beaver, muskrat and fox, canoeing by way of Mackinac and down the bay.

Early settlers arrived by steam powered boats traveling on the Great Lakes. Of those, a Norwegian community grew on the bay shore and began fishing commercially, sending barrels of salted herring, whitefish, and trout to eastern markets.

Beginning in the 1850's lumbering was the primary focus. Logs were floated down the Oconto River where they were sawed into lumber at one of seven mills in Oconto and shipped out by boat to large growing cities on Lake Michigan.

Today we tend to rely on highway vehicles to carry passengers and cargo. The rivers, lakes, and bay fulfill the recreational needs of fishing boats, canoes, pontoons, kayaks, sail and pleasure boats. We still hunt, fish, snowshoe and ski just as people did long ago.

The city of Oconto has thirty-three structures on the National Register of Historic Places. A visitor can take a self-guided tour of the city, walk the Historic West Main Street District, and in the summer tour the 1890's home of wealthy George Beyer located on Park Avenue.



Sooooo any excuse for a celebration, the whole town gets into Party Mode and has a great time!  Some of the years in the past, we had family come down from up north and park multiple travel trailers, tents and fifthwheels in our yard.  We combined the Copperfest party along with each of our graduating teens parties.  Whew those were some long nights and full houses!

In town, there is always a lot going on:

Featured Events were Amateur Lumberjack Competition, Truck Pulls, Adult Horseshoe Tournament, Mens, Womens and Youth Flag Football Tournament. Hamburger Eating and Pie Eating Contests.  Regional Wrist Wrestling Competition.  Pie and Ice Cream Social.  Fireworks.  Childrens Inflatables games, Trout Pond, Street Market. Poker Paddle Run, Duck Races and more.  Entertainment featuring Kenny Ahern, T. Texas Terry, Randy Petersen, Mr. Billy, Jay Merline.  Music performed by Ravyn, Vic Ferrari, Gringos, Rivertown, Sonic Circus, Rocker, Midpoint and Aaron Socha


For more information on the Copper Culture People:

Copper Culture State Park, Oconto, Wisconsin


This year, our daughter, Erin and her husband Mark (along with little Chelsea)  live in a huge Victorian home, just one block off Main Street in a Historical District.  So they hosted our family gathering at their lovely home.   I whipped up a pot of Calico Beans for a dish to pass, plus we brought along burgers and wine and a pan of gooey brownies that didn’t bake right.  My kids will eat anything, so I brought them along.  LOL

Copperfest Weekend 2010 June0 I have given this recipe before in my blog, but I will repeat it here:

*warning** I am a dumper kind of cook, not a precise recipe person!!!
first brown up some ground beef, bout half a pound, and chopped onion, and drain.
then fry up about 4 strips of bacon, and cut or break into small pieces
now dump that and all this into a crock pot:
1 can kidney beans
1 can baked beans
1 can butter beans
a big squirt of ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
dollop of molasses
squirt of steak sauce
double squirt of BBQ sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays)
season to taste
let it go a few hours on the slow cooker
some folks add grape jelly...
some folks add mustard...
some folks add vinegar...



Our other daughter Heather, with Jesse and Jameson made it in time for the parade, but we were still waiting for our son Dan, his Heather and Allegra.  They were not sure they could leave their house in Green Bay in time, because there was a big event there, called the Bellin Run, which blocked off all their surrounding streets of their home to traffic, and they were not sure what time they could cross the lines to get out in their vehicle to come on up.   They hadn’t shown by the time the parade was to start, so we figured they would just come later.

We got ready and headed down the block to the parade… 



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Our parade was wonderful, with hometown businesses and the local high school band, some horses, tractors, dogs and fancy cars…  plenty of candy was thrown, and Jameson collected a full bag of treats!

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Jameson seemed particularly interested in the cheerleaders….

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Even little Chelsea had a great time at the parade, her very first one!

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At the very end of the parade, whoooo so we see?   But a green Saturn SUV following the fire trucks?  None other than our son Dan and his family!!!  LOL  It was so funny, the seemed to be in the parade and carrying up the rear!  


Back to  Erin and Marks house…. we got busy with food, family and fun… the kids got lots of cuddling!    Mark made brats and burgers on the grill, Erin had the kitchen under control and we hung out for the rest of the day.

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Mark’s dad Tim, and Mark’s niece Kylee came for a visit too.

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The little grandchildren found lots of things to do or look at….

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Jameson has never gone on a slide before, so this was quite a process to learn about!

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and.. he … did it!!!

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At dark, we watched the fireworks that were exploding over the Copperfest grounds at Ner-Park, which was only a few blocks from Erin and Mark’s home.  So we could sit right out on their deck with the kids and watch in comfort and beat the crowds!

Later on,  the young parents all wanted to go out to the live music, attend the street dance and hit the bars.  Well, what else are grandparents for???  We babysat the three sleeping tots while the grownups went out on the town till midnight.  Glad they were up to it, we sure weren’t.   

So we did our thing, diaper-changing, pajama-ing and bottling the babies, and Jameson konked out on the couch with a story from Granfaddah.  The kids fell asleep fast after a day of fresh air and excitement.



And I went to bed after midnight, with Visions of Granmuddahood dancing in my head!

granmuddah pfun with her babies 2





  1. I've made those beans, and added diced jalapenos for spice! I think I'll make them for a potluck next week - thanks for the reminder of a great dish.

  2. Looks like you guys had a blast!

    By the way, Calico Beans is my husband's very favourite. It's one that I took to potlucks when we were on the road to be sure he had something he could eat. My recipe is a little different from yours. I'd post it but right now I don't know where the cookbook is. LOL

  3. What a wonderful post!! Great family time together.:) I enjoyed reading about the history of Copperfest. Thanks for sharing it with us and the super pics!
    Thanks for the recipe!! I will try it.

    Take care!
    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  4. A "dumper kind of cook"! You're too funny.

    Nothing better than a family weekend get together, looks like you had a blast. :c)

  5. I've been making those beans for all my life and I got a new cookbook over the weekend--guess what recipe was in there--yep, calico beans. Looks like you guys had so much fun, I miss my family!

  6. Isn't it a treat when you can have all the kids and grandkids together! My kids are scattered across the country so it seems weddings and deaths are the only times they're all together. :(

  7. Oh, what fun... They are just beautiful!

  8. Hey, I am the duct tape car artist. In answer to the question of why I covered a car in duct tape and drove it in the Copperfest Parade I can only say: Why not? The parade fee is only $5.00, I bought my duct tape at Walmart and the car was loaned to me just before being sent off to beater heaven. Sometimes the best dreams are the cheapest. - Cheers.


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