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Covered Bridge Days adds new Wildflower Festival

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GINA R. HEINE
August 10, 2011
— Someone noticed the wildflower plantings that have popped up around Brodhead and thought the city could highlight the native plantings.

The idea took root and grew into the first Wildflower Festival and Wildflower Art Festival scheduled for this weekend.


The events are partnered with the annual Brodhead Covered Bridge Days.


"If you can't find something you like, there's something wrong," said Nancy Sutherland of the Brodhead Chamber of Commerce.


Here are five things to check out this weekend:


1. Find flowers, not weeds: The new festival aims to educate about native plantings to show people how a lot of prairie land used to be.

"They're not your traditional flower bed, but they're not weeds," co-chair organizer Joella Miller said.


Steve Apfelbaum, owner of Applied Ecological Services and author of "Nature's Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm and Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land," will speak at 10:30 a.m. at the Brodhead Public Library, 1207 25th St. A book signing will follow.


The Wildflower Festival also will feature guided walking tours of the library and school district native plantings at 9 a.m. Saturday, and another tour will follow a 4 p.m. slide presentation at the library.


Another guided walking tour will be at 10:45 a.m. Sunday through the native plantings at Congregational UCC Church, 201 E. 23rd St. Another tour follows a 4 p.m. slide show.


2. Art show: A juried fine art show will feature area artists from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Veteran's Park on Highway 11 downtown. Many will exhibit wildflower or nature-themed art, but media of all kinds—paintings, wood, glass, ceramics, fiber, jewelry, and photography—will be represented.

"It's not the crocheted dishcloth ladies," Miller said. "That's not the crowd we're aiming at."


3. Lots of tractors: Take your pick from a tractor show/thresheree, antique plow display, children's toy tractor pull, antique tractor pulls, garden tractor pulls and an antique tractor drive. The events are scattered throughout Saturday and Sunday at the south end of town. Admission is $3 for people 12 and up.
4. Music: Events kick off with a street dance downtown from 8:30 p.m. Friday to 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Sunday night also will feature Stone Ring Band a celtic band playing Irish and Scottish music as part of the Twilight in the Park series at 6:30 p.m. in Veterans Park.
5. Historic horse-drawn wagon tours: The popular tours will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday leaving from downtown. A narrator will tour through the northeast side of town, Sutherland said.

If you go


What: Brodhead Covered Bridge Days, Wildflower Festival and Wildflower Art Festival.
Where: Downtown Brodhead, south end of town, Veterans Park and Legion Park.
When: Friday night through Sunday night
Cost: Events downtown, except for the historic wagon tours, are free. Events on the south end of town are $3 for people 12 and older each day.
Events: For a complete list, visit brodheadchamber.org.

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