Are you looking for a get-away destination on Memorial Day weekend? Do you love the pastoral countryside with rolling hills, meandering rustic roads, little out-of-the-way villages to explore? How about a picnic lunch on the banks of a trout stream where it’s shallow enough in some areas to see the fish swimming past?
Interested in visiting a 148 year old grist mill to see how it worked “back in the day?” Do you like fine art and fine crafts in all their various forms?
If your answer to these questions is “yes,” then be sure to find the village of Nelsonville on your map and plan your route. It’s located on Co. Highway “Q” two miles north of Amherst Junction, halfway between Stevens Point and Waupaca in Portage County. The village is home of the historic 1868 Rising Star Mill on the Tomorrow River.
Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 of the Memorial Day weekend, the Mill will once again be filled with central Wisconsin artisans showing their latest work in clay, paint, wood, fine metals, garden sculpture, fiber and photography.
It’s the RISING STAR MILL ANNUAL ART SHOW AND SALE, a two-day event sponsored by the “Mill Committee,” to raise money for the continued restoration and up-keep of the historic building. The show committee, comprised of professional and hobby artists, hand-selects artists from the central Wisconsin area to ensure quality work and a venue for the artists living and working in the area.
Many of the artists are long time participants and have supported the Mill in a variety of ways.
Marge Krogwold, master weaver, will once again be making rag rugs on the old c. 1850 hand-built wooden loom; the rugs are available to purchase via a donation to the Mill and are eagerly sought by folks as a lasting memento of fond memories of the area.
Bud Eagon, now in his 90s, will again have his lathe to spin tops for children, young and old and demonstrate wood turning.
Other artists will be working on or demonstrating their crafts in their booths, and always enjoy talking with visitors and answering questions.
New to the show this year is Karin Sieg, a colored-pencil artist from Stevens Point. Her work is soft and gentle and filled with exquisite detail.
Sharon Rotz of Mosinee is a fiber artist, a highly talented art-quilt maker, and designer of rag dolls, each given their own special name.
And Roxine Karbowski of Nekoosa twists & turns sterling wire into beautiful horse images, often including a semi-precious stone to capture light and accent the piece.
At time of press, the committee is awaiting confirmation on a few more new artists that will find this show as fun and rewarding as so many of the “old timers.”
The Rising Star Mill is owned by the Portage County Historical Society and the svolunteer “Mill Committee” works from February into October to protect, restore, and keep up the property. Fund-raising concerts, a Movie Night, and an Open House corresponding to the Hidden Studios Art Tour Along the Ice Age Tail in October are scheduled throughout this season. The Mill is also the scene of really fabulous weddings & receptions, birthday parties, and group meetings.
This year, Art Stevenson & High Water will be in concert on Friday, June 17 at 7 PM. They always bring in a huge crowd of blue-grass enthusiasts.
Returning from Duluth, Minnesota are Bill and Kate Isles who will appear on Friday, July 22 at 7 PM.
Friday, August 5 at 7:30 PM, is the free movie night, and “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes,” will be the featured film starring Edward G. Robinson and Margaret O’Brian. It’s a story of Norwegian immigrants who settled just a short distance east of Nelsonville.
On Saturday, August 20 at 7 PM, the David Story Trio will present a jazz night at the Mill. The last concert of the season will be Saturday, September 10 at 7 PM with the ever popular Dekorra playing their wide variety of musical numbers.
And finally, the annual Open House at the Mill will run September 30 through October 2. The popular “Barns of Portage County,” exhibit will be spread throughout the Mill. And as always, the Mill’s FEED SACK refreshment room will be open for beverages and snacks at all events.
The Rising Star Mill is a cherished building in Central Wisconsin, one of the last standing grist mills of its kind. Please join the crowd to open the season and come to the RISING STAR MILL ANNUAL ART SHOW AND SALE, May 28 from 10 AM to 5 PM and May 29 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission is free. There’s something there for everyone, young and old, to enjoy.