Hodag Country Festival Could Draw 16,000 to Rhinelander Area

RHINELANDER, (WI) — On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, Oneida County’s Public Safety Committee approved a large gathering permit for July’s Hodag Country Festival – despite COVID-19 concerns. Organizers pledge to limit weekend wristbands to 16,000. Festival organizer Dawn Eckert told the committee there were economic considerations “While we really want to hold the event and help out the Northwoods economy, we also need to ensure that we will be able to hold the festival next year and the year after that by not taking an unmanageable financial hit this year.” Residents like Mark Adams, who spoke at the meeting, favored cancellation. “Think of our children and the 40 percent elderly that live here, and the 200-bed capacity that we have, and eight ventilators.” Of some 100 public comments received prior to the virtual meeting, about two-thirds supported canceling this year’s event, which opens July 9.

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