Wo-Zha-Wa returns to Wisconsin Dells

September 12, 2018

It’s that time of year again.

Tourists will flock to Wisconsin Dells for the annual Wo-Zha-Wa Fall Festival, held Sept. 14-16 in Bowman Park and downtown Wisconsin Dells.

The festival started humbly but has grown considerably since the original incarnation in 1968, with runners from around the country flocking to Wisconsin Dells for the annual fall tradition.

“It was nothing back then,” Mayor Ed Wojnic said. “The Dells was all seasonal when it started, but around the 1980s we started getting the parade and entertainment, and the festival took off.”

The estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people visiting Wisconsin Dells this year for the festival will have plenty of activities to enjoy. The event has daily concessions, carnival rides, Maxwell Street Days, flea market, and arts and crafts fair.

“I would suggest getting out on Friday and taking a look at the sidewalk sales,” said Wojnic. “There is a lot of stuff to benefit local charities. And make sure to visit the Polish tent, it’s a top attraction for eating. The food isn’t your usual hamburgers and hot dogs, it’s unique.”

Sept. 15 holds the Race for the Future Run, formerly the Wo-Zha-Wa Run, starting at 8 a.m. The name changed with new sponsorship, and proceeds from the race will support scholarship funds for Wisconsin Dells High School graduates. Runners can challenge themselves with a half marathon, or participate in the 5K Family Fun Run.

The festival concludes on Sept. 16 with the 100-unit parade, an extravagant display featuring live music, floats, and entertainers. The parade begins at 1:30 p.m. and will run through downtown along Broadway.

“The parade is a big deal,” said Wojnic. “It’s definitely family friendly, and a lot of people come to watch as a lot of the smaller communities don’t have parades anymore.”

The marshals for this year’s parade are Marv Holzem and Frances “Frankie” Trojan.

“They’re two great people,” said Wojnic. “They’ve been involved in our community for a long time, and it’s an honor to have them as marshals.”

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