Distinct lifestyle event celebrates the simple things, including connection to culture and community, fresh food and hope for a sustainable future
Harley riders have Sturgis. Music lovers have South by Southwest. Film fans have Sundance. All are destinations for like-minded individuals to meet and celebrate their passions as a shared experience. If you love organic food and are looking for a bit of local flavor, then you now have your own Sturgis: Organic Valley Family of Farms will host Kickapoo Country Fair, the Midwest's largest organic food and sustainability festival of its kind, in the verdant hills of southwestern Wisconsin.
Daniel Webster wrote, "When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization." Organic Valley—a farmer-owned cooperative of more than 1,300 organic family farmers nationwide—launched the Kickapoo Country Fair six years ago as an annual celebration of life in the Kickapoo River Valley. Today, it's an event venue where fair-goers from across the country, along with nationally recognized organic leaders, celebrated musicians, renowned authors and others, connect around food, arts and regional culture.
Held Saturday and Sunday, July 25-26 in LaFarge, Wis. (pop. 750), the Kickapoo Country Fair brings together thousands of attendees for two fun-packed days of food, music, bike and farm tours, cooking demonstrations, theater, kids' activities, dancing, author readings, and a keynote panel featuring organic pioneers—all offered at an affordable price for families.
This year's fair will celebrate lifestyle values that come to the fore in an economic downturn: connection to family, culture and community; living well with style; hope for a more sustainable future; and just plain old fun. Weekend passes, which provide access to all activities, are only $10 for adults, $8 for kids 12 and under, and kids five and under are free.
"We invite you to join the Organic Valley family and the local community at the Kickapoo Country Fair for a celebration of sustainability and the rural lifestyle in the beautiful Kickapoo Valley," said George Siemon, one of the founding farmers and CEO for Organic Valley. "Given the changes in our society brought on by the economic downturn, it's more important than ever to share, celebrate and acknowledge all the wonderful people and organizations working toward change for good."
The fair will feature food from local farmers and foodies. In addition to the many tempting offerings from these area vendors, the Kickapoo Kitchen and Pantry tents will feature workshops on topics including "Organic Eating on a Dime," fermentation and wild foods, organic berries, as well as free food samples and a beer and cheese tasting. A pig will be roasted during the day on Saturday, with pulled pork sandwiches available for evening concert-goers, followed by the Kickapoo Country Breakfast on Sunday morning.
Breakthrough Musician, Organic Heroes Come to Kickapoo
Folk/rock singer-songwriter Brett Dennen is just one of the artists Organic Valley has lined up for this year's fair, along with a wide array of musicians and artistic performers. Dennen will perform songs from his newly released album "Hope for the Hopeless" on Saturday at 8 p.m. In addition to attention from music critics and established artists nationwide, Dennen was named one of Rolling Stone magazine's "10 Artists to Watch in 2008."
Equally inspiring is this year's "Organic Heroes" keynote panel, which will feature a discussion among five influential industry pioneers, including the Rodale Institute's Tim LaSalle, Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group, Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association, and biologist and author Dr. Sandra Steingraber. The panel will be moderated by Theresa Marquez, Organic Valley's chief marketing executive and founder of Earth Dinner.
Additional activities taking place during the fair include the third-annual Butter Churn Bike Tour, free tours of organic farms, a "Word Tent" with an impressive line-up of nationally-known authors and poets, the Wisconsin premiere of the play "Driftless," and kung fu action-packed entertainment from west coast "acrobaticalists" Nanda.
All fair attendees who provide an email address at the "welcome tent" will be eligible for prizes awarded hourly, including Green Bay Packer tickets, Organic Valley product coupons and a year's supply of Organic Valley dairy products. Attendees who complete an exit survey also will be entered into a drawing for free Organic Valley products.
The Kickapoo Country Fair is sponsored by Organic Valley Family of Farms, along with more than 75 local businesses and organizations, including Wisconsin Farmers Union's Kamp Kenwood, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES), Kickapoo Green Builders Guild, and Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
For more information about the event, including schedule details and lodging information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.kickapoocountryfair.org.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter, www.twitter.com/organicvalley and Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Organic-Valley/20674850824.