Ridgeland Pioneer Days Offers a Chance to Catch Chickens and Pigs

Festival Brings Thousands to Small Wisconsin Town Every Year

RIDGELAND, Wis. – Ridgeland Pioneer Days always attracts a crowd.

“There’s people from all over that come to this small little town of 305 people and there are thousands of people here today,” says Ridgeland native Amy Lundquist.

Over its 35 years, the festival has become legendary.

“It’s the greatest day of the year, and we honestly look forward to it more than anything out of the entire year,” says John Wahlstrom, who has come to the event for years.

There’s a log sawing competition, a parade, and even a pig catch.

“She’s going to join part of our farm with our chickens, ducks and geese,” says Emily Patz, who caught a pig. “Ethan wants to name her Pork Chops.”

But the main event that brings people back year after year is the chicken toss.

“Let’s catch some chickens,” says Wahlstrom.

Hundreds of chickens are thrown into a crowd of people waiting to catch them.

“Keep your hands up and be ready to run,” says Mijay Dudley, who caught two chickens.

“When they were loading them up, they quit counting at 230. So we had more than that,” says Richard Micheels, a volunteer at the event.

If you catch a chicken, you get to keep it.

“I like having a chicken because then we can get eggs a lot and then we don’t have to go to the store and buy any,” says Anthony, who caught a chicken.

“They were going to let turkeys go, but that wasn’t too—Because the turkeys were so big they’d beat up on the little kids so that wasn’t too successful,” says Micheels.

Pioneer Days gives people a chance to have a great time.

“I’ve been coming here since I’ve been little. I grew up in Ridgeland and this is where we come for cheap entertainment,” says Lundquist.

And the small town’s hospitality brings people back every year.

“I just like the fact that we’re a bunch of strangers that come into a town in northern Wisconsin and they accept us all like we’re their own,” says Alex Hohenstein, who has come back multiple times.