Orton Park Ready to Celebrate

47th Orton Fest is here despite lingering noise and crowd concerns

In 1975 the festival was known as the MNA picnic. Rented from the City was a trailer that transformed into a stage. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot

The Orton Park Festival (August 23-26) is just days away in this year of the perpetual summer. After Orton there is just one last neighborhood gathering to go, the Willy Street Fair. The Fair, The Fest, La Fete and Waterfront have been fantastic neighborhood celebrations; but may be a victim of their own successes as they have grown exponentially in popularity, and for some, threaten the beauty of the neighborhood they celebrate.

As a kid over three decades ago, the Orton Park Festival was the last event of the summer since it always seemed to fall on the Sunday before the first day of school. That would be Monday, the very next day. So it was a bittersweet time, filled with games, food, music, and my friends, but the first day of school always loomed.

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Dandelion Dash Gives Waterfront Fest A Fast Start

Little Dandelions get ready for the 2012 Dandelion Dash at the Marquette Waterfront Festival at Yahara Place Park, June 9, 2012

The annual Dandelion Dash, part of the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s Marquette Waterfront Festival was held at Yahara Place Park in Madison, WI on June 9, 2012. The 5K walk/run featured approximately 50 participants with the winning time clocked in under 17 minutes.

While the 5K Run for is for everyone, the “Dash” is just for the kids and is one of the more exciting events to watch. The Dash portion is now run in two heats as the participation by the little Dandelions has grown. Video cameras on phones were not available when the race began 17 years ago as a fundraiser for the Greater Williamson Area Business Association. I was remarking to a fellow spectator that now with mobile technology it’s much easier to describe and share how delightful the “Dash” is for both kids, parents, and spectators.

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