Couple has Been to Hodag Every Year Since 1984

Bonnie and Dick Kloos say they still remember their first Hodag Country Festival 30 years ago.

"My very first Hodag, yes we come up here and the stage was just small," said Dick, "And there probably was, I don't know, maybe 500 people here."

The couple says after that weekend, they fell in love with Hodag, and they've been coming back every year since.

"We had a great time in our younger days we really used to enjoy it a lot," said Bonnie.

The couple said when they first started coming to Hodag, 30 years ago, things were much different. Back then campers used tarps to claim as much land as they wanted, and the camp trailers were much smaller.

Over the years they've seen performers come and go, and some they wish never left.

"I'd like to see Alan Jackson come back. And we really had good times when Leon Everett was up here," said Dick.

When the couple first started coming to the festival they traveled with a group of six. And years later, their numbers nearly doubled to 15.

Bonnie and Dick say they plan to keep coming to as many Hodags as they possibly can.

"Oh we're gonna keep coming," said Dick, "I'm sure in a few more years they'll have wheelchair assessments, you know, where they can haul you around."

And things are wrapping up at Hodag tonight. The final act Neal McCoy, Mr. Hodag himself, took the stage at 8 p.m.

Organizer and co-owner, Dawn Eckert, says attendance usually depends on who's performing that year.

And despite the rain, organizers say this year's turnout was better than expected.

This was a very good crowd," said Eckert, "We had a very good year. I believe the weather forecast had helped. We had a little bit of weather yesterday that cut one of the shows short for about fifteen minutes. Otherwise it's a great year."

Organizers say they won't know the exact number of how many people came to this year's festival until they tally up ticket sales tomorrow.


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