Athens (WI) Celebrates Olympics

By: Amanda Lutz
By: Amanda Lutz

Thousands of people will head to Athens, Greece in the next two weeks to cheer on the Olympic athletes. Unfortunately, we couldn't make the trip to Greece, but that didn't stop us from heading to Athens.

You might not find a good gyro in town, you won't find statues of Greek gods anywhere, and football players at the high school aren't training for an Olympic sport, but don't be fooled. The town of Athens, Wisconsin is proud that its namesake overseas is hosting the Olympics once again.

"I think a lot of people around here have a specific pride in the Greek culture, even though there aren't any Greeks here," says Jim Hartman, owner of Hartman's Variety Store.

The town was named Athens because it strived to be a cultural and educational center in Wisconsin.

Now that the Olympics are back in Athens, Greece, the town's name is all over the news, evoking a sense of pride among Athens' 1,100 residents, and people we talked to say they will be tuning into the games.

"Just watching [the athletes], you know they're all amazing players, and I just really want them to do well," says Lindsey Ellenbecker, a student at Athens High School. "And it's the U.S., so we're all excited."

In addition to the Olympics, people in Athens, Wisconsin are gearing up for a big festival all its own, the centennial celebration of the Athens Fair. It runs from August 19-22. A kickoff dance will be held Saturday, August 14 at the Athens Community Hall. The dance starts at 7:30 p.m.