Sister Bay Fall Fest is Door County tradition and fundraiser

Sister Bay Lions Club booth at Fall Fest, October 14, 2016 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

SISTER BAY (WLUK) -- A festival honoring "All Things Autumn" is underway in Door County.

Since the end of World War II, Fall Fest in Sister Bay has celebrated the end of a busy summer season.

But the three-day event is a major fundraiser for community programs as well.

Hamburgers and brats crowd the grill at the Sister Bay Lions Club tent. Volunteers from the non profit group say Fall Fest is a major money maker.

"If we really didn't have this opportunity to provide and raise money for the non-profit, for the various things we do here, realistically we'd have a difficult time coming up with the money to do the things," said Larry Gajda, Sister Bay Lions Club.

In addition to 12 non-profit groups, food vendors, and an arts and crafts show cover the streets of downtown Sister Bay. Tens of thousands of people visit every year.

"We've got this cupcake we're all going to try. Some soap, what else did we buy, hair ties, all different things to see," said Liz Leitzke, Hustisford.

Different things, like Luke Traver, who carves traditional Dutch shoes out of wood.

"It's kind of a dying art, and my son loves working with his hands, and he hopes that he can preserve it, just a little longer," said Dev Traver, Wooden Shoe Vendor.

"I do woodworking at home, and it's an amazing art to be able to do that just by hand, with tools from 100 years ago," said Dave Decker, Harvard, Illinois.

The 71st annual Fall Fest is a celebration of the season.

"People like to go to the orchards, they like to shop, they like arts and crafts fairs. They like to drink beer, eat food and walk around town," said Chris Milligan, Fall Fest Organizer.

The Sister Bay Lions Club says, in total, it can take in about $27,000 in the entire weekend event. The money goes toward college scholarships, student eye exams, and other civic projects.

"We really get nothing out of this other than the enjoyment of doing it. Camaraderie and providing good for the community," said Gajda.

Fall Fest continues throughout the weekend, including Door County's largest parade Saturday at 11 a.m.

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