Tradition continues as hunters, community gather for 54th annual Venison Feed this Friday
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports/Nature Editor
Prior to hitting the woods for the opener of the nine-day gun deer season, hunters and the public alike are invited to downtown Tomahawk this Friday, Nov. 22 to join in the camaraderie and fill their bellies at the 54th annual free Venison Feed.
Sponsored by the Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Venison Feed will once again feature a small army of volunteers who will be grilling up well over a thousand venison burgers to be served for free to those in attendance. The chamber will also have chips, side fixings and beverages available and several non-profit organizations will have snacks and other items for sale to take to the hunting shack. While the venison burgers and meal is free, the chamber will be taking good-will donations to help fund future venison feeds and events.
“We are once again excited to line the streets of downtown with hungry hunters and the smell of charcoal. The community really came through with hundreds of pounds of venison so we are hoping to serve about 1500 burgers again this year,” says Jesica Witte, Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director. “Serving begins at 11:30 (a.m.) and burgers will be served first-come, first-serve until they are gone. The event is not limited to hunters, we invite the public to attend.”
One of Tomahawk’s longest running traditions dating back all the way to 1966, the Venison Feed was originally held in the evening prior to the opener and was called the Deer Cook-Out. The event was eventually moved to the afternoon to provide hunters more time to prepare for the opener and the name was changed to what is known as today. For many, the community gathering serves as more than just a free meal as they gather and reunite with family and friends. Many where their blaze orange to the feed while others don their own festive outfits to help celebrate the hunt.
Witte said several area non-profits will be selling additional food items and apparel and the event would not happen without the generous support of sponsors who sustain the annual tradition. This year’s grill sponsors include WJJQ, Tomahawk BP and Tomahawk Shell, city of Tomahawk, Park City Credit Union, Tomahawk Surplus and Silver Threads Boutique. Event and food sponsors Geiss Meat Service, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Public Service, Trig’s, Pepsi of Wausau, Tomahawk Ace Hardware, Great Lakes Foods.
“The only way we can continue the tradition is with the generosity of our donors and the time given by our volunteers. We look forward to seeing everyone again (this) Friday.”
Held right out in front of the Tomahawk Leader office on West Wisconsin Avenue (downtown), the Venison Feed gets underway at 11:30 a.m. Friday and runs until the venison burgers are gone. For more information, call the chamber at 715-453-5334 or visit www.gototomahawk.com.