Summer is another way of saying "musical festival" 'round these parts, and the best ones are often freebies. That's the case with the Gandy Dancer Festival, a music and history shindig that benefits the restoration of a train car that was once used to transport fingerlings from state fish hatcheries to waterways around Wisconsin.
The history part will be handled in the train show tent, where guest speakers like Cap Times editor Dave Zweifel will hold forth on the romance of train travel and its importance to the area economy.
The music portion takes place outside in the fresh air, as a variety of bluegrass, blues and folk acts get together to pick and, of course, sing a few train songs. Headliner the Alan Munde Gazette features some of the best players in bluegrass, including Munde himself, who cut his teeth in the '60s with the great Jimmy Martin and then went on to become one of the most inventive banjo players around. Local stalwarts the Nob Hill Boys and train song aficionado Larry Penn are also part of the seven-act lineup.
Not enough top-quality free stuff for you? Well, the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad will also be offering gratis train rides on the hour.