One weekend, four festivals

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CSI Media Staff | September 7, 2016

EAST TROY — Music takes center stage on the village square when the East Troy Bluegrass Festival kicks up its heels Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11.

The East Troy festival is among one of four fun events planned next weekend. There's also Darien Corn Fest, the Taste of Lake Geneva and the Whitewater Main Street Festival to squeeze into your social calendar.

In East Troy, the 23rd annual event begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 with an open stage followed by the fiddle contest. A band scramble — groups made up on the spot with just enough time to get their act together — is set for 3 p.m. Flatt Lonesome headlines Sept. 10, taking the stage at 5 p.m.

Festival founder and former East Troy resident and business owner Melissa Sherman said she tries to balance traditional bluegrass groups with up-and-coming bands when booking for the festival, which is organized by the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce.

“There's a place for all of us and we need to have the new bands with their interpretation of bluegrass,” Sherman said. “Flatt Lonesome is a great, young band, just got nominated by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) but they mix in their own take on the music.”

The perfect person for the job, Sherman has a deep-seated love of bluegrass music. She plays guitar, bass and banjo but has concentrated more on writing songs in the traditional bluegrass genre. She has won Composer of the Year for the past four years at the Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards.

Sherman hasn't missed a single festival in East Troy, making the trek down from Canada each September.

“It's always a great time,” she said.

Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments. The brave ones will throw their hat in the ring for the band scramble on Saturday. Impromptu jams pop up on the edge of the square throughout the day.

“We encourage everyone to enter the contests,” Sherman said. All ages are welcome. Contests are held for fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar.

Sunday's lineup starts with a gospel service featuring the Templeton Family, then moves on to include The Stingsmiths from Minnesota and The Wandering Boys from Chicago. Anderlik, Otto and Church have one foot firmly in bluegrass, the other tips toward rock and blues. Narrow Road edges toward bluegrass. Headliner Sideline closes the festival at 5 p.m. Sept. 11. This band takes contemporary bluegrass of the '90s and makes it sound traditional today.

“Sideline is just full of talent,” Sherman said. “Just wait till you hear them.”

A wristband for both days of the East Troy Bluegrass Festival is $10. The event is family-oriented and children are welcome.

Be there on the square if you want to hear bluegrass — from the traditional to the edgy, gospel laced to rock 'n' roll tainted. There's room for everyone.

Darien Corn Fest

Darien Corn Fest will be held Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9 through Sept. 11, at West Park with live music, carnival rides, arts and crafts vendors, softball and volleyball tournaments, hammerschlagen competition, food vendors, parade, tractor pulls, corn boil and fireworks display.

A new activity this year is the Big Corn Shell Out, in which someone will have a chance to win $10,000. Tickets for the shell out are $100 each, and 300 will be sold. Contestants' names will be pulled in a drawing, and once their name is called, they will be eliminated. The drawing will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Corn Barn Stage.

“When your name is called, you're out of it, so you don't want your name to be called,” said Kathy Boss, president of the Corn Fest board. “We will be awarding other prizes in between when names are called. So if you're out of the drawing for the $10,000, you could still win Packer items or restaurant certificates.”

Corn Fest is in its 56th year and it's a tradition for many, Boss said.

“Everyone knows it's the week after the fair,” Boss said. “It's free entertainment, free admission and free parking. ... The only money we make is from the food and beer sales.”

Besides the food and entertainment, festivalgoers enjoy the tournaments and other activities, Boss said.

“The softball tournament usually has up to 23 teams. The volleyball tournament is always full,” she said. “The tractor pull competitions are usually pretty big. People like to come and watch the tournaments.”

Corn Fest proceeds go to the Darien Fire Department, American Legion and Corn Fest.

“People ask me where the money goes, and it all goes back into the local community,” Boss said.

For more information, go online to

Taste of Lake Geneva

Bring your appetite to Taste of Lake Geneva, set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at Flat Iron Park in downtown Lake Geneva.

Taste of Lake Geneva will feature food samples from 13 area restaurants, including Popeye's Galley & Grog, Speedo's Harborside Café, Constant Cravings, Tuscan Tavern and Grill, Geneva Java, Mama Cimino's and Oakfire. The event also will include food trucks from Grand Geneva and Good Vibes and wine samples from The Bottle Shop.

“There will be something different from each vendor, from caprese salad to crab cakes, flavored popcorn to jumbo chocolate chunk cookies and pulled-pork sliders to beer-battered brats, and that's just to name a few,” said Erin Thornburgh, district administrator and events coordinator for Lake Geneva Business District. “Taste of Lake Geneva is primarily a food event — a chance to try a little bit of everything and really get a taste of Lake Geneva. There also will be local wine, beer and talented musicians.”

This will be the seventh year for the event, which attracts about 2,000 people, Thornburgh said.

“This is the fourth year it will be held in Flat Iron Park. Before the event was spread out and held outside each individual location,” Thornburgh said. “The event has grown and now brings all the great local flavors together to allow guests to try a little bit of everything.”

The cost to attend Taste of Lake Geneva is $2, and the average cost for food and beverage samples is $6 or less.

Shuttle bus transportation from the Home Depot parking lot, 550 N. Edwards Blvd., to downtown Lake Geneva will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, go online to or search for TasteofLG on Facebook.

Whitewater Main Street Festival

Arts take the center stage at the Whitewater Main Street Festival, set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 10 in downtown Whitewater.

Some of the features will include:

• Sidewalk sales, arts and crafts vendors, plein air artists, face painting and chalk drawing

• A buffet of Italian dishes at a 200-person table down the middle of the street. Fanatico is providing the feast for the dinner party.

• Art exhibits at the following locations: Cultural Arts Center, 402 W. Main St.; Studio 84, 121 W. Center St.; Sweet Spot Gallery, 226 Whitewater St.; and First Citizens State Bank, 207 W. Main St.

• Live music throughout downtown

For more information or dinner party tickets, go online to



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