Fermentation Fest, which takes place in Reedsburg Oct. 12-21, is a unique combination of art and agriculture, set in Wisconsin's driftless region. "It's our mission to reintegrate art and agriculture," says Donna Neuwirth, executive director of Reedsburg's Wormfarm Institute, which sponsors the fest. She notes that culture is even inside the word "agriculture," and that the two are intertwined, even though modern society sees them as disconnected.
Artists are creating special roadside stands for produce sales. Art that's visual, literary and musical will take place in the fields, and classes focusing on (but not limited to) fermentation in its many forms will be held in Reedsburg on both weekends. For the full schedule, it's necessary to look at - even study - the website, fermentationfest.com.
Neuwirth has some recommendations for those looking to narrow down the many choices. "First, do Dtour," she says, referring to a rural route around Reedsburg that takes in the produce stands and field art. "You can zip through or take your time." Special performances will occur on weekends; the Dtour map is at the website or the Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce, 240 Railroad St.
Second, Sandor Katz, the man of the moment when it comes to fermentation, will be giving two classes and a discussion of his best-selling book The Art of Fermentation.
Third, Neuwirth recommends the "class-grass" band Graminy, which will perform its new work "Germinations: A Bluegrass Symphony in D" Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Catholic Church, 105 Church St., in Lime Ridge.
This is the third year for Fermentation Fest, though the first year was focused on food instruction. "Classes will be open until enrollment maxes out," says Neuwirth, and adds that each day will have a "special" and the weekend in particular will hold some surprises. "Fermentation is a transformation. We think that's a powerful metaphor."