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Tens of thousands flood northern Door County for 77th Fall Fest

Tens of thousands flood northern Door County for 77th Fall Fest
Posted at 8:40 PM, Oct 14, 2023
  • The 77th Fall Fest in Sister Bay featured a parade, pumpkin bowling, carousel, and its trademark pumpkin pie in a cup
  • Organizers said they estimate the crowd to exceed 30,000 people throughout the weekend
  • One local, Emil Minty, says the Fall Fest turnout no longer marks the end of tourist season — but the beginning of northern Door County's move toward becoming a year-round destination
  • Fall Fest continues through Sunday evening
  • Video shows locals and tourists enjoying the festivities and activities

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The weather is holding up, and people are showing up. I'm Karl Winter, and the crowd is 30,000-40,000 strong this weekend at Sister Bay's 77th annual Fall Fest.

With the parade, hugs, bubbles, pumpkin bowling, and music, there's something for everyone at Sister Bay's 77th Fall Fest.

"This is a big celebration up here in Door County, and we're really proud and happy to be here," Gibraltar Band Director Charlie Eckhardt said.

For some out-of-towners, Fall Fest is nostalgic.

"It's a generational affair, "Kurt Robinson said. "You got the kids, you got the grandparents. Everyone's having a good time."

"We couldn't go for a few years, and now we're back, cause after COVID and everything," Olivia Annoye said. "It's our favorite thing."

For the locals, the good weather and accompanying crowds mark one of the best weekends for business all year.

"It's a real big fundraiser for most of our non-profits," said Jackie Kieckhefer, Sister Bay Information Center Coordinator. "This is where they get a lot of their money to give to other people, to charities and things like that."

"It's one of our biggest festivals and we're thankful for all the people that support us," said Austen Becker, who works at Sister Bay Bowl.

And for one man who has lived in the area for three decades, the Fall Fest turnout marks the beginning of Door County as a year-round destination.

"Northern Door is full 12-month now," Emil Minty said. "And it's going to get more — which is better and worse — as time goes by."

The festivities continue Sunday with the Fall Fest derby race, before Sister Bay turns the page to the winter events calendar — beginning with the Christkindlmarkt in late November.