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Only 12 miles away from Madison, Wisconsin, Sun Prairie is a Midwest small-town gem that has a lot to offer! The #SunPrairieStrong community is tight-knit after such events like the summer explosion of 2018, where lives were lost. These resilient folks are happy to share their city with visitors and proud of their heritage. This rapidly growing community still has a small-town feel and charm. It is a place we are proud to call home.
Things Sun Prairie can brag about:
Sun Prairie is the birthplace of this famed artist. Known for her floral depictions, Georgia earned her own in a mainly male-dominated field. She was the second of seven children, born on a farm near Sun Prairie, which is now long gone.
The Crosse House
We love historic buildings, and this home of Doctor Crosse from around 1864 is a great example. In the heart of downtown, you can often find a special event going on, ranging from a craft fair to Santa visiting. This National Historic Landmark is a nod to the man who served as a city doctor, newspaper publisher, and eventually State Legislator. He also helped to build the city’s first high school.
Sorry Punxatawny Phil, Jimmy the Groundhog is more accurate, even if he did gain National press when he bit the ear of the mayor a few years ago. Just like the famed movie starring Bill Murray, the town comes together to celebrate a cold winter morning. Food, festivities, and fun are in excess, along with plenty of media. There is even a groundhog ball!
You should undoubtedly be in the area on February second, to see it all for yourself. Don’t worry about the “groundhog sausage” at the festival breakfast – no actual groundhogs were harmed for it.
Never pass up the chance to hit a local historical museum! The insight into the Midwest communities is priceless. From the agricultural developments to manufacturing, you can’t help but learn more about core Americana with a single visit.
The actual building is almost one hundred years old and historical itself, being constructed in 1924. It has been re-purposed several times over the years: serving as a City Library, Village Council Chambers, City Offices, and even a Red Cross Center during World War II.
While the admission is free, donations are appreciated. Between donations and volunteers? That is how these fonts of historical knowledge survive.
Sun Prairie has it all happening with their music and theater programs, from Middle School on up. You can catch amazing plays from the Middle Schoolers, Junior High, or even High School students, as well as the local Sun Prairie Civic Theater. The facilities are state of the art and are as impressive as the performances. What a great way to enjoy classics, for a mere fraction of a Broadway ticket!
Sun Prairie Quilt Show
The Sun Prairie Quilt Show serves as a mecca for these fabric artists to not only share their craft with others but to inspire and educate the rest of us. It is something that you should experience at least once, and it usually falls on the first weekend of May.
The imperfections of nature are what make it a perfect match for children to learn. The Patrick Marsh backs up to one of the local middle schools and is a fantastic 145-acre expanse of opportunity for your budding scientists and nature lovers. You will find many incredible photo ops and areas to be in harmony with nature.
Angell Park Speedway
The races are the place to be on any given Sunday night in the summer if you enjoy midget races. With the “Midwest’s Finest Clay Oval” track, Angell Park Speedway is in the top ten of all dirt race tracks across the country, according to fans and drivers and race teams.
The Pepsi Nationals draws a huge crowd, and around the 4th of July? Sun Prairie is treated with a fireworks show. My favorite fun fact about Angel Park? It has been owned and operated by the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department for over one hundred years and hosts many other activities.
An insider tip? Wear clothes that you are OK with getting dirty and pack a pair of ear plugs for each member of your party – you can get a 4-pack at the local dollar store.
Taste of the Arts Fair
This Annual outdoor fair at Sheehan Park features original and quality arts and crafts. This juried show offers awards to artists and beautiful purchases for the attendees.
Sun Prairie Flags of Freedom
Immensely proud of their marching band, Sun Prairie delights in hosting this annual parade and competition in summer. Just pray that the July heat doesn’t soar so much that kids drop in the street. Most teams are smart enough to wear T-shirts vs. full costumes for the parade, but a few kids have been known to suffer from heat exhaustion. No fear- they keep plenty of medical staff on hand, and the music is worth checking out!
The biggest community group fundraiser of the year, Corn Fest is a local celebration that harkens back to the glory days of the local canning companies. Kicked off with the Thursday night parade, carnival rides, local demonstrations, BINGO games, and more all take place around the main event: steamed corn on the Cob.
Keep in mind that corn is only available on Saturday and Sunday, and be prepared to strip the husks off yourself, before taking it over to the station for buttering. Find yourself a place to sit on the big hill and rip into it like a monkey on a cupcake.
Sassy Cow Creamery
Two words: Ice Cream. While Sassy Cow has cows with both BgH and without, all cows are respected. They use both their organic and traditional milk to make excellent quality dairy products. They often have family-friendly events that allow for fun outings with the kids: tours, toys, and more. Seriously, how could we talk about a Wisconsin town and not mention a dairy farm?
As you can see, Sun Prairie blends a country farm town with a merging cultural mecca. Like a lot of Midwest communities, it has had to re-invent itself with the decline of manufacturing. They are proud of their past, enjoy the moment, and look toward’s their future.