Cranberries are the theme of the weekend festival celebrating the healthy, tart fruit during the last weekend in September. Warrens, Wisconsin claims the title “The Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin” and is the host to the largest cranberry festival in the world. 2018 marks the 36th anniversary of the festival, which has grown from a community event to a weekend festival that attracts over 100,000 people. Warrens Cranberry Festival is September 26-28, 2018.
Cranberries in Wisconsin
The cranberry industry is important to the State of Wisconsin. Cranberries are the number one fruit crop in the Badger State. The cranberry industry provides about 7,200 jobs and contributes about $330 million per year to the economy, according to the Warrens website. The first cranberry marshes in Wisconsin date back to the 1830s, before Wisconsin was a state.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries and Cranberry juice are often touted for potential heath benefits. The National Kidney Foundation recommends one large glass of cranberry juice daily for good kidney health. The deep red berries also are believed to be beneficial for cholesterol levels and heart health.
Warrens Cranberry Festival
The weekend event runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the last weekend of September.Over 850 booths of Arts and Crafts showcase crafters from around the United States. The Antique and Flea Market features over 350 booths of hidden treasures. Over 1,300 booths cover more that three miles of booth frontage, giving new meaning to the term “Shop till you drop.” There is a full schedule of festival activities and contests on the official Warrens website.
2018 Warrens Cranberry Festival Parade
One of the largest marching band parades in Wisconsin is held in Warrens. The parade is on Sunday, September 28 and begins at Noon. Parade highlights include “Elvis,” Hillbilly Bob and his 1929 Model A Ford and The Weiner Wagon Express.
Cranberry Marsh Tours
Hop on a bus for $6 and enjoy a guided tour of a working cranberry marsh. This is an educational opportunity to explore cranberry production, growing techniques and to see an actual cranberry bog. Marsh tours run Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm. Tours last about an hour and 15 minutes. Fresh cranberries are available for purchase at the march. Tour tickets include admission to the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center Exhibition Hall on Main Street.
Crantastic Eats and Festival Food
Plan to eat at the festival! Cranberry offerings include pancakes with cranberry syrup, cranberry cream puffs, cranberry fritters and Swedish pancakes with toppings. In addition to cranberry treats, there are ethnic offerings, such as French, Bosnian, Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Don’t worry, they also offer traditional festival food, including cheese curds, buffalo burgers, corn dogs, pizza, egg roll, ruebens, Kettle Korn and more. Special dinners include the great spaghetti feed on Friday night and steak dinner on Saturday night.
Where is Warrens, Wisconsin?
Warrens is in western Wisconsin, about 116 miles northwest of Madison. Distances from major cities: Chicago, IL 255 miles; Green Bay, WI; 168 miles, Eau Claire, WI 72 miles; Milwaukee, WI 170 miles; Wisconsin Rapids, WI 70 miles; Duluth, MN 233 miles; La Crosse, WI 65 miles; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 160 miles; Rochester, MN 115 miles.
The Tomah Area Chamber of Commerce Cranfest Shuttle offers non stop trips from the Tomah Recreation Park off State Hwy. 16.