There's lots of cowboy hats, guitars and country music lovers arriving in Rhinelander for the Northwoods largest summer music festival and it has a major economic impact in the Rhinelander area.
The Hodag Country Festival was founded in 1978. This year's event officially begins in the town of Pine Lake Thursday, though campers have been arriving for several days.
Chamber of Commerce Director Lauren Sackett says while festival goers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in stores and other local establishments, there's another hidden benefit for the community...
"..When visitors stay at local hotels and resorts, which some of them do, they choose not to stay on the grounds, that impacts how much is collected in room tax.Portions of the room tax gets awarded to local non-profit entitities to help market additional community events. This event helps the community all around...."
Sackett says they see lots of visitors posing by the city's icon at the Chamber offices...
"...we see lots of people come in and get photos of the Hodag. Lots of people who come in and ask what they can do in the morning. We give them different ideas of what's going on in the community. We get phone calls year-round and the chamber. It's an event our community should be proud to be a part of...."
The main event begins with Marty's Party Thursday at 5 p.m., with that night's headliner, Clint Black. Friday features Carly Pearce, Locash, and Cole Swindell.. Saturday's late headliner is Toby Keith, Brett Young, John Conlee and others. Sunday, long time favorite Neal McCoy returns along with Diamond Rio, Ashley McBride and others.
More information is at hodag.com