Are you looking for a unique way to celebrate autumn in Wisconsin? Look no further—Wisconsin is home to some of the most popular cranberry festivals in the U.S. From the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center to the Wisconsin Rapids Cranberry Festival, event-goers will find a variety of fun activities to enjoy. We’ll tell you why you should go, what to expect, and provide tips to make the most of your experience! So don’t miss out on the fun and start planning your trip to one of these amazing cranberry festivals today!
The 50th Annual Warrens Cranberry Festival is a celebration of 50 years of tradition and deliciousness! Held each year on the last full weekend in September, the Festival draws more than 145,000 people from across the United States. In 2023, it’s set to take place from September 22-24, 2023 starting from Friday to Sunday.
During the three-day event, visitors can enjoy a plethora of activities, including craft and flea markets, farm markets, cranberry marsh tours, a pancake breakfast, a cranberry recipe contest and more! On top of that, the Festival offers free shuttles from Birkholz Field, Jellystone Campground and McMullen Campground to make getting around even easier. With so much to explore and experience, it’s no wonder why the Warrens Cranberry Festival is one of America’s longest running and best-loved festivals!
History of this event
The Warrens Cranberry Festival is a registered nonprofit organization and has been held since 1973 with the purpose of raising funds to improve the quality of life in Warrens. It initially attracted only 3,500 people and 75 booths, but since then it has grown significantly and now has over 120,000 visitors each year and over 1,300 booths.
In the years since its founding, the Festival has donated over $2 million dollars to the Warrens community and surrounding areas. This includes donations to local schools, fire departments, Lions clubs, scholarships for local youth, and other civic betterments and social improvements. Additionally, the Festival has contributed around $4 million dollars in revenue to Monroe County annually from out-of-town visitors.
The Festival is held over the course of 3 days and includes activities such as marsh walking tours, a cranberry jubilee, pancake breakfast, contest, fish fry, steak dinner, parade, gospel time, and more. It also features 850 arts and crafts vendors, 350 antique and flea market booths, over 100 food booths, and 100 farm market booths. There is free admission, and tour buses are welcome. The Festival offers something for everyone and is a great way to celebrate the cranberry culture of Wisconsin.
Discovering the Basics: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
Attendees of the Warrens Cranberry Festival can enjoy three days of festivities, from September 22- 24, 2023. Tickets for the festival are not required and entrance is free. However, certain activities may have additional costs associated with them. There are also several parking options available, from commercial buses to private lots, with a fee of $10 for parking in the Red Balloon Lot.
On the festival grounds, visitors can find an impressive array of over 350 booths, offering everything from antiques and arts and crafts to farm products and food stands. The Warrens Cranberry Festival also offers free shuttle buses from the main parking lots.
The Tin Shed behind the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center is also home to an array of interesting educational displays, with the winners of the Biggest Berry Contest, Photo Contest and Button Design entries on display. During the Festival, visitors can also take part in a Marsh Tour, available on Friday and Saturday from 8 AM to 3 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM to 12 PM.
Best Time to Visit, Parking & Shuttle Service
The best way to avoid the crowds is to go early, the Festival opens at 7:00 am all three days, and things are in full swing by 9:00 am. You may also consider Sunday, based on the festival organizer past experience, it’s usually slower than Friday and Saturday.
There are 3 main parking areas in Warrens with plenty of space available, with $10 parking spaces at Birkholz Field – Red Balloon Lot. The two other parking space being Jellystone Campground and McMullen County Park/Campground. Free shuttle service is offered from those 3 main parking lots to the festival site. The shuttles run all three days from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and provides a stress free way to get to the festivities. Handicap parking is also available on the festival grounds with a legal handicap sticker.
Best Food in the Warrens Cranberry Festival
The Warrens Cranberry Festival is a celebration of all things cranberry, and visitors can find a wide range of delicious dishes made with fresh cranberries. Some of the best food to try at the festival include the classic cranberry cream puffs, the deep-fried cranberries on a stick, and the Cranberries Jubilee served over vanilla ice cream.
Visitors to the Warrens Cranberry Festival can also enjoy a pancake breakfast served up by the Queen of the Apostles Parish. This annual fund-raiser has been running since the second year of the Festival and features the mouthwatering Sue Weiner’s secret recipe. The pancake breakfast is served all three days of the festival from 6 am to 11 am, and tickets for the complimentary pancake breakfast are available for the winners of the “Be Our Guest Contest”. Make sure you join the contest by sending some crazy group costumes picture to win the competition!
In 2022, not just pancake breakfast with the cranberry sauce is served, there is also a Lion Club steak dinner, Fish Fry, beer and cranberry wine are offered as well. On top of that, there are more than 100 farm market and food booths! There is also a variety of cranberry items available at the Festival, including fresh fruit, juice, sweetened dried cranberries, honey, wine and much more.
Can I see cranberries harvest during the Festival?
The festival is actually scheduled ahead of the cranberry harvest, considering over 140,000 visitors in three days. To witness a cranberry harvest, attend the Public Harvest Day at Wetherby Cranberry Company in Warrens, held on the first Saturday of October, 9:00 am-12:00 pm.
Contest, Parade and Marsh Tour
There will be a wide range of activities and performances to keep visitors entertained in 2023, including Be Our Guest “Berry Bunch”, Biggest Berries Contest, Button Design Contest, Cranberry Chiffon Pie Eating Contest, Marsh Medallion Hunt, and Photography Contest, Pictorial Cancellation Contest and Recipe Contest.
In 2023, the Parade will happen on the last day of the festival at 1pm. There will be Marching Bands and Drill Teams and more! The applications for different groups to join the parade is open now! Check here to sign up!
For a unique experience, visitors can join the Cranberry Marsh Tours and learn about the history and science of cranberry production. The walking tour will take visitors past marshes, bogs and fields, where they can enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about the cranberry harvest. The tours are offered Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 12 pm. There will not be actual harvesting occurring during the Festival like mentioned above.
Three Things you should know before you go!
The 50th annual Warrens Cranberry Festival is a must-attend event for many, boasting over 145,000 visitors from all over the United States. The festival is happening on September 22-24, 2023 starting on Friday for a weekend full of the best cranberry-inspired activities and events. The festival takes place all three days from 7:00am-5:00pm
The festival is located at I-94, Warrens Exit #135, 402 Pine St., PO Box 146, Warrens, WI 54666. Parking is available on the Festival grounds, with shuttle buses available from the main parking lots all three days from 8:00am-5:00pm., there will be no actual harvesting onsite, and make sure to book your stay early as hotels are often booked up a year in advance. You can consider some of the lodging option here.
For more information, visit the official event website at www.cranfest.com or call (608) 378-4200.