Calendar of events, history, how it started

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TWO RIVERS – On a hot July day in Two Rivers in 1936, workers digging near 14th and School streets made a frightening discovery.

About 4 feet underground, they found ice – then, as Tony Sachse, Snowfest 2021 co-chair said, “the most perfect snow pile underground in mid-July.”

After finding the cold white substance in midsummer, workers contacted the Town Hall of Two Rivers. When the staff doubted them, they brought some of the snow to the town hall to prove it to them.

Ernst Sontag poses with the snow found at Two Rivers in July 1936.

Word of the discovery spread and became national news in 1936, the same year Two Rivers celebrated its centenary.

Snow was incorporated into the town’s centennial celebration – and the following year, July 24, 1937, the first Snow Festival (now Snowfest) was held.

The first snow festival in 1937 was designed by the American Legion Post 165, which decided to rename its summer festival and parade Snow Festival.

As Sachse said, “The parade queen would now be called the Snow Queen and she will sit on an ice throne.

Frozen at the Two Rivers Snow Festival in 1938.

“The community also sought to recreate the interest of the snow found and they worked to bury the snow in the fall to dig it up in the summer,” said Sachse.

The first Snow Queen was Ruth Hefner (Glandt).

Several memorable moments and traditions ensued over the following years, including an appearance of the Goodyear Rubber Balloon Parade in 1938 (cost $ 30,000), snowball battles between local junior leagues and members of the the chamber of commerce, and more fun.

Snowball fight at the annual snow festival in July 1938 at Two Rivers.

Snowfest then took a hiatus from 1941 with the start of World War II and would return later in 1958.

The 1962 parade drew more than 30,000 people – the largest crowd ever.

A commemorative pin from the 1963 Snow Festival at Two Rivers.

The festival has also started to create new collectible pins each year to promote the event. Many pins have proclaimed Two Rivers “the coolest place in Wisconsin”.

The festival continued until 1998, then was suspended in 1999.

This expectation continued until 2018, when local organizers began working to revive the festival.

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When Snowfest entered the 1970s and 1980s, it became known for an unparalleled parade in the county.  He also became known for the drum and bugle corps participating in the parade, then performing after the parade at Walsh Field.  Bodies like the Phantom Regiment, Madison Scouts, Royal Knights, Pioneers and many more can claim to have participated in the Two Rivers Snowfest parade at least once in their history.

The snow festival is back

This Friday to Sunday will mark the return of Snowfest to Two Rivers after a 23-year hiatus.

It also marks 85 years to the day since it was first held at Two Rivers in 1936.

The event will take place at both Neshotah Park (2111 Pierce St.) and Walsh Field (2201 Polk St.) and features 17 different groups, rides, children’s activities, 10 food vendors and a variety of craft beers.

Entrance to the event is free and an off-site parking shuttle will depart from Two Rivers High School (4519 Lincoln Ave.) every 30 minutes with a return to the festival grounds.

2021 Snow Festival logo

Among the headliners this year, The Dirty Deuce will perform on the Neshotah Park stage from 8:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. on Saturday. The band is playing several stops in Wisconsin this summer on their “Bruised” tour, named after their last full album.

“Blues Highway” wrote of the album: “‘Bruised’ is old school rock with a modern twist, a completely original tour de force and they own it. They are, without a doubt, a group apart, world-class musicians on a mission to entertain. “

According to a statement, “Reverend” Rob Atwood and Jamey “J-Dirt” Clark both boasted strong musical resumes before creating Dirty Deuce. In 1996 frontman Atwood formed The Probers, with which he toured until 2004. Among the group’s claim to fame was a performance at the House of Blues in Chicago which was one of the very first airs in live on the Internet (via the MTV2 network) and their song “Who’s Your Daddy” appearing in a 2003 MLB playoff series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox (Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez is became known to have used this expression after eliminating opposing players). Drummer Jamey Clark has performed with Clyde Stubblefield (the original funky drummer with James Brown), WC Clark “Godfather of Austin Blues”, Pat MacDonald (Timbuk 3) and Jane Wiedlen (Go-Go’s), among others. The aforementioned Dirty Deuce members Passow, Rotiek and Ostlund have been added more recently.

Dirty Deuce band play

Full Snowfest schedule

Here’s a look at the full schedule for this year’s Snowfest. More information on trsnowfest.org.

Friday

  • 4:00 p.m. – Festival grounds open, as well as food and drink stalls, and carnival and children’s rides.
  • 4-5:30 p.m. – Dig Deep performs on stage at Neshotah Park
  • 5-6:30 p.m. – Buffalo Gospel performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • 6.15pm-7.45pm – The Honeygoats perform on the Neshotah Park stage
  • 7:15 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. – Adam Greuel & The Two Rivers Ramblers perform on the Walsh Field stage
  • 8:30 p.m.-10 p.m. – David Quinn performs on the Neshotah Park stage
  • 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. – Dead Horses performs on the Walsh Field Stage
  • Midnight – Closing of the event

Saturday

  • 11 a.m.-12 p.m. – SnowFest Parade in downtown Two Rivers
  • Noon – Festival grounds open, as well as food and drink stalls, as well as carnival and children’s rides.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Charlie Bucket Band performs on the Neshotah Park stage
  • 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Beer Club performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • 3:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. – Joseph Huber performs on the Neshotah Park stage
  • 4:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. – Running Blind performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • 6-8 p.m. – Listening Party takes place on the stage at Neshotah Park
  • 7 to 9 p.m. – Liquid Crush performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • 8:45 pm-10:45pm – Thy Dirty Deuce performs on the Neshotah Park stage
  • 10:00 p.m. to midnight – Strutter performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • Midnight – Closing of the event

Sunday

  • 11:30 am – Festival grounds open, as well as food and drink stalls, and carnival and children’s rides.
  • 12 pm-2.30pm – The Happy Schnaps Combo performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • 3:15 p.m.-6:45 p.m. – Boomer Nation performs on the Walsh Field stage
  • 7:30 p.m. – End of the event

Contact Brandon Reid at 920-686-2984 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @breidHTRNews.


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