Appleton is my hometown and I am lucky enough to live five blocks from downtown, where all the action is.
This past weekend around 50,000 people filled College Avenue for Octoberfest, offering food, drinks, crafts, and music.
Octoberfest is one of the many festivals my sister and I have ventured to in order to listen to some jams and people watch. While I observed the cheerful attendees enjoy themselves, I wondered why they all seemed so happy.
This weekend while taking a break from school life, I never ceased being a journalist and decided to figure out why 50,000 people file into a single city strip and stay for a couple hours.
Alexander Michelsen is from Norway and searching for the perfect gift for his fiancée on the east side of College Avenue, the craft portion of Octoberfest. Michelsen chose a stuffed dragon that was black and had a gold and red pattern on it.
Michelsen said they both love dragons and the pattern on the dragon matched the curtains in his fiancée’s room.
Michelsen explained how he scouted the craft fair to find the perfect gift.
“There is not much of a goal, but there is always something to see,” Michelsen said.
While Michelsen went on his way to browse through more crafts, I stumbled upon a stand that sold an item called Skunk Gunk. Emily Kalz manned the Country Lane Creations stand that sold the product and said Skunk Gunk are silicone fragrance beads.
Contrary to the name, there were many pleasant aromas like spa day, eucalyptus and spearmint, apple cinnamon, and lemon. With their vibrant colors, Skunk Gunk is not only appealing to the nose, it is appealing to the eye.
Many people questioned the strange name of the product.
“Since the fragrance beads look so much like jelly, we had to give the product an odd name like Skunk Gunk,” Kalz said.
Stephanie Bohnert meandered through the craft section because she enjoys them. Besides Octoberfest, Bohnert said there are many other places to visit in Appleton.
“It’s a safe town to go and explore,” Bohnert said. “There is a lot of community stuff that is free or pretty close to you location-wise.”
She named a couple organizations that have music events such as Lawrence Chapel, the Performing Arts Center, and high school plays. There is also a cascading amount of shopping centers like the Fox River Mall or thrift shops.
Kalz agreed the Fox River Mall was a big highlight when traveling to Appleton.
“Why not get your shopping on?” Kalz said.
My hometown is full of events to go to and places to see. This is only a sliver of what is out there. Appleton seems to be a fan of local music, so there are several venues that offer that.
In addition to local music, there are plenty of small businesses along College Avenue ranging from import stores to quirky bakeries to a magazine shop. When you need to get out of Point for a weekend, head down Highway 10 to this mid-sized city.