Cemetery Walk

OCONTO – Tickets for the 13th Annual Oconto County Historical Society sponsored cemetery walk “If Tombstones Could Talk” will go on sale Wednesday, August 2nd, at the Beyer Home and Carriage House Museum, 915 Park Avenue.

The Cemetery Walk will be held at 6:00 p.m. on the evenings of September 11, 12, and 13, with the September 11th and 12th performances to be held outside at the Evergreen Cemetery, located at 325 Cook Avenue, Oconto.  The September 13 performance will be presented indoors at the John B. LeMay Auditorium at the Oconto High School, 1717 Superior Avenue, Oconto.

Six historic personages will be portrayed, and their life stories will come alive.  Some of the individuals portrayed are well-known in Oconto County history; others are lesser known, and those attending will learn about various facets of their lives.

Tour-goers will be led in groups through the cemetery by guides for the outdoor walks.  Those attending the outdoor performances are urged to wear comfortable shoes as the tour requires an amount of walking, sometimes on uneven ground.  You may also wish to bring a flashlight and insect repellent.  The indoor performance is for people who may have difficulty walking in the cemetery; however, the indoor performance is open to everyone.

Tickets are $12 per person and will be sold at the Beyer Home and Carriage House Museum through September 3rd.  Please note that the Museum is closed on Tuesdays.  If any tickets remain unsold after September 3rd, they will be available for sale at Roberts Hometown Hardware, 919 Main Street, Oconto.  In addition, the remaining unsold tickets will be available for sale just prior to each evening’s performance.

There are a limited number of tickets for the performances and tickets sell out fast.  Complimentary refreshments will be served to tour-goers at the cemetery on the evenings of September 11 and 12 and in the cafeteria of the Oconto High School following the performance on September 13.  In the event of inclement weather on September 11 or 12, the performances will be moved indoors to the Oconto High School Auditorium.

For more information contact Lynn Exferd at (920) 835-4619 or email lynnexferd@hotmail.com.

Harvest Fest 2023

Oconto’s downtown will spring to life for Harvest Fest, the city’s annual autumn celebration taking place on Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On the long-anticipated day of Harvest Fest every year, Oconto closes Main Street to vehicles but opens the street to vendors and foot traffic. Harvest Fest, sponsored by the Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce, features a variety of arts and crafts, seasonal produce, and other merchandise. The Main Street shops host sidewalk sales and Harvest Fest specials. Plus, Harvest Fest offers fun kids’ activities, food, refreshments, and live music.

Put on your flannel, pack up the kids, and head to Harvest Fest in downtown Oconto on Sept. 23. You’ll surely find bright pumpkins for carving, hearty vegetables for simmering, and fun for all ages. Harvest Fest is located on Main Street from Huron Avenue to Millidge Avenue in Oconto’s city center.

Everyone is welcome! No admission fees are charged.

Networking on the Greens

It’s time to get your golf clubs ready! The Oconto and Peshtigo Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Golf Outing will be held on Monday, July 17, at the Patriot Golf Course.

We invite you to participate in this event and support the local businesses in our community. Whether it’s as a hole sponsor or by participating in the bucket raffle, we need your help to make this event a success.

  • Hole sponsor $150 (Mail to Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 174, Oconto, WI 54153)
  • Bucket raffle prize
  • Goodie bag item (70 items)
  • Bring non-perishable food item(s) for extra bucket raffle tickets.  Items will be donated to Bread by the Bay Food Pantry in Oconto.

We look forward to seeing you all in July. Please contact Matt Heling if you have any questions or want to be involved in this event. 

matt.heling@edwardjones.com or 715-853-3165

AARP: Oconto Marsh signage project wins AARP Wisconsin grant

OCONTO, WI – A proposal to provide interpretive signage at various points along the trail that winds through the Oconto Marsh has been selected to receive an AARP Wisconsin “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant.

The $1,000 grant will enable the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation to purchase materials and supplies needed to launch the project, such as sign posts, signs, informational brochures, and related items. Up to 20 signs will provide visitors with information about the local plants and wildlife they will see from the walkways, bridges and viewing platforms along the mile-long trail in the 928-acre marsh.

Funds could also be used to hire professional help to design and install the signage and further publicize the project so that more people can be made aware of the importance of the Oconto Marsh and its significance to our area, said Samantha Boucher, tourism director for the corporation.

“We are beyond excited for this project to lift off and want to thank AARP for making it happen,” Boucher said. “Our goal is to enhance the Oconto Marsh and provide interpretive signage along the trails to help people gain a greater appreciation for nature and the wildlife they may encounter.”

AARP Wisconsin is awarding grants each month throughout 2023 to projects across the state that are designed to improve communities and make them better places for everyone to live, work and play as they age. Judges selected this project after reviewing dozens of proposals submitted from all over the state.

“We love it when communities apply what they learned from AARP resources in developing their projects,” said Darrin Wasniewski, Associate State Director of Community Outreach for AARP Wisconsin. “We look forward to seeing how insights garnered through AARP’s Parks and Public Spaces Collection result in implementations to enhance Oconto Marsh for all ages, especially its 50-plus visitors.”

The Oconto County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that was created to address economic development and tourism promotion in Oconto County. Currently, its funding is made possible through the proactive efforts of the Oconto County Board.

Boucher said planning of the marsh signage involved extensive community input. A group of volunteers representing various stakeholders was formed to coordinate the project and gather comments from the public, collaborate with local artists, and consult with experts to create interpretive displays that accurately represented the history and ecology of the marsh.

“The interpretive signage was designed to be accessible and engaging to all ages, with various ways to explore the marsh and connect with the natural history of the area,” she said.

The signage will include information about the importance of the marsh to wildlife, the flora and fauna found in the area, and how humans have impacted the marsh over time. It will also include interactive elements such as a map, audio recordings, and a self-guided tour, allowing visitors to learn more about the marsh in an engaging way.

The signage will provide an opportunity to engage in outdoor activities such as bird watching, nature photography, and nature walks. “It will also help to promote a sense of pride and ownership in the local environment, which can be beneficial for the health and well-being of the 50-plus community,” Boucher said.

Initial plans are to install 15 to 20 signs throughout the marsh by the end of June, but more funding is needed to complete the project. Anyone interested in donating funds to the project may call 920-834-6969 or email Boucher directly at tourism@ocontocounty.org

AARP Wisconsin’s launched its “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant program in 2020 and is now in its fourth year of helping proposed projects move forward in rural and urban parts of the state.

“These grants are exactly what the name describes – short-term, low-cost solutions that could have a remarkable impact on the shaping of local communities,” Wasniewski said. “This project hits the nail right on the head.

The Small Dollar, Big Impact grant program is open to some nonprofits and government entities. For more information on the program, visit www.aarp.org/WIsdbi

Miss Copperfest 2023

Myah Mlnarik was crowned Miss Copperfest 2023, following a weekend of festive events and activities in the small town of Oconto. Myah, a proud resident of the community, shone both on stage and off during Copperfest 2023. As Miss Copperfest, she will be making appearances at Chamber events throughout the year and will represent the people, values, and spirit of the area in her roles. Those wishing to invite Miss Copperfest to their events this year are encouraged to contact the Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce.

Miss Copperfest Scholarship

Applying for a Miss Copperfest Scholarship with the Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce is a great opportunity for an ambitious young woman looking to make a positive difference in the community. The scholarship is open to women ages 16-21 who have demonstrated leadership, academic excellence, and community service.

Applications are due by Wednesday, May 18, 2023,and the recipients will receive a one-time scholarship to support college tuition. The scholarship is a great way to start a successful future and make a lasting impact in the Oconto Area.

  • Miss Copperfest 2023, $1,000 Scholarship
  • 1st Runner-Up, $500 Scholarship
  • 2nd Runner Up, $250 Scholarship


  • Be female between the ages of 16-21
  • Be available for an oral interview. The Committee will work with you on a date/time.
  • Be visible to participate in the 2023 Copperfest activities on June 9-11, 2023.
  • Attend the Coronation Ceremony on Friday, June 9, 2023, at 8:00 a.m. and Copperfest Parade on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.


  • Resume including name, address, telephone number, age, birth date, education, grade point average, work experience, special interests, accomplishments, future plans.
  • Submit two current photos of yourself
  • Answer the following essay question: What does it mean to be a good student on the field, in the classroom, and in the community?
  • Submit one letter of reference from either a teacher, coach, or business owner.
  • The three finalists will be invited to participate in an in-person interview with the judges, during which they will be asked to answer additional questions.
  • Mail the complete packet to: Copperfest Queen Committee, PO Box 174, Oconto, WI 54153, or email info@ocontoareachamber.com.

Deadline: Wednesday, May 18, 2023

Miss Copperfest 2022

The crowning of Miss Copperfest 2022 was held on Friday, June 10th at the Kick Off Breakfast at Copperfest grounds. Miss Copperfest  received $1000, 1st Runner Up, $500, and 2nd Runner Up, $250.Miss Copperfest 2022 is Kathryn Alwin, a junior at Oconto High School, who is  a lifeguard & swim instructior at the Bond Center, a Covid Tester, president of her class of 2023, a member of National Honor Society, Volleyball team, math team, Hi Q Team and a Badger Girls State Delegate. Her chamber sponsor is Oconto County Economic Development. Her plans include study in architectural engineering.

The 1st Runner Up is Eleanor Finger , a 2022 graduate of  Oconto High School. She has been involved in Challenge/Advanced Placement classes,   National Honor Society, 2021 Junior Prom Court, & a section leader in Choir. She was also nominated for the 2020 Wisconsin Ambassadors Music Europe Trip. She was a member of the Life Smarts Team which finished 3rd in the nation this past spring.  She is also a volunteer at Abrams Spotlight Productions which is her Chamber sponsor. Her plans include Business Administration and Arts management to utilize her passion for the musical theatre in the business world.   Her sponsor is Abrams Spotlight Productions.    

The Second Runner Up is Hannah Moe.  Her athletic interests include volleyball, basketball, track and field.  She is a 2022 graduate of Oconto High school where she was a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Band, and  a recipient of the John Philip Sousa Award. Her Chamber sponsor is Cream City Country Club. Her plans are to attend UW-Oshkosh for the nursing field. Her sponsor is Cream City Country Club.

The 3 judges were Patty Heier, Mary Heiser and Kathy Hayes.  The car signs for the parade were done by Vital signs, and the sashes by Main Street Creative Apparel. Other prizes and silk coronation roses were provided by Ron & Kathy Hayes.  A special thank you is extended to the Chamber of Commerce sponsors: Abrams Spotlight Productions, OCEDC and Cream City Country Club.        LEFT TO RIGHT: Miss Wisconsin 2021, Jennifer Schmidt; Ellie Finger, Kathryn Alwin, Emmy Reed, (Miss Copperfest 2021) and Hannah Moe.

Potential Council Member Forum 2021

As in recent years, the Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce has sponsored a forum for candidates running for the City of Oconto Council/Committee of the Whole. 

Due to Covid-19, we feel that an in-person forum will not work this year. So, we asked each candidate to answer the following questions in 25 words or less for each  response.

  1. What are Oconto’s greatest weaknesses in being able to attract visitors?

JEAN FELDT- Shopping is limited. Covid hasn’t helped.

TINA FRYE- No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN–  Although our summer recreation options in this beautiful community are plentiful, Oconto is limited in recreational offerings for visitors during the winter months. 

JOHN REED – I believe the image that is portrayed on social media hurts Oconto. 

                                            Would like to focus on changing Oconto’s image.

  1. If you could focus only on 3 things on the Oconto City agenda in the next 3 years, what would they be? 

JEAN FELDT- Economic development, Tourism, Historic Preservation/Technology

TINA FRYE– No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN– Improving the safety and quality of our sidewalks, encouraging new businesses to improve our economy, and finding winter recreation options to appeal to visitors year-round.  
JOHN REED- Safety of the citizens, employees, businesses and visitors.  Focus on making Oconto a place where the citizens, employees , and  businesses are proud to be part of. Education for myself on what my roles and responsibilities are as a council member. Education of the citizens on the process of getting their  concerns addressed.

  1. What was the greatest “team” accomplishment in your life and how can this benefit you as a council member?

JEAN FELDT- Rolling out the first huge collaborative project during my Kraft Foods years. The excitement of launching and watching takeoff of a new product or service with a team is rewarding. 

Understanding innovation and team dynamics including working with and appreciating people who possess very different strengths and weaknesses and styles of getting things done is critical to success of the whole. 

Everyone brings perspective which we cannot see on our own.

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN- My greatest team accomplishment has been serving on the Oconto City Council and being able to help support the needs and growth of this community.
JOHN REED – I was part of several unique rescue missions where critical thinking and  team effort was required to perform a quick and positive outcome. 

  1. Do you think we should further develop the downtown area of Oconto or concentrate on developing Business 41? Why would you choose?

JEAN FELDT- Oconto is not a huge city and development of both areas will need to happen.

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN- The downtown area of Oconto is thriving compared to Business 41. We should concentrate on filling the vacant businesses on the south side. 

JOHN REED –I believe we should concentrate on doing what we can to develop all of  Oconto.

  1. What can be done to improve the look of the City of Oconto? Which sections of the City especially need to be revitalized?

JEAN FELDT- The city has made great strides in encouraging the residences and businesses to spruce things up. The Chamber’s Rose Award has honored many residents and businesses for rehabilitating old properties and making them glorious once again. The Troy Fonder project on Pecor Street is an excellent example of what can be done in our historic community. Supporting Troy and others as they take on these challenging projects have the power to preserve our history for generations to come.  

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN-– Keeping up on ordinances has already improved the look of our neighborhoods. Fixing sidewalks would also improve the appearance and safety for our citizens.
JOHN REED –I believe we should concentrate on revitalizing all the areas of Oconto if  needed. Will help instill pride in our community.

  1. What additional services can be provided for our aging population?

JEAN FELDT- House Calls – Home healthcare visits that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Help with life tasks top to bottom including personal care, home and property upkeep and maintenance. Tech support including helping to recommend, procure and set up tech solutions that make life easier.  Culture at home. Live performances, art lessons. Establish a buddy program, adopt a grandma, grandpa.

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN- Improving the number of full-time EMS staff available, as Chief Bostedt has started to do, to decrease response times for emergencies.
JOHN REED –I believe we need a non-medical transportation service to help our elders 24 hours a day , seven days a week.

  1. What is the City of Oconto’s biggest challenge and how do you propose to address it?

JEAN FELDT- Growing our local economy. Continue to support the improvements the city is working towards including our school system. Our kids are in need of a YES vote on the school referendum.

TINA FRYE – No response

WELEY MARKUSEN- Drug-related issues are a big challenge in Oconto. Increasing resources and technology for the police as well as community rehabilitation programs can address it.  
JOHN W REED –Instilling pride by trying to promote more community member involvement and listen to their concerns. Address the issues  that can be done, fairly and consistently.      

  1. What are your top priorities to ensure that the businesses in Oconto continue to grow?

JEAN FELDT- Shop local everyone, whenever you can. Reward those who shop local. Create incentives to shop local. Attract and welcome new businesses to Oconto.  

TINA FRYE – No response

WESSLEY MARKUSEN- My priorities include researching options to fill our vacant businesses, supporting the Chamber of Commerce’s advertising efforts, 

and frequenting local businesses myself.
JOHN W REED –Promote the change of Oconto’s image to get more visitors within our community .

  1. What is the most surprising thing you have learned in your life?

JEAN FELDT- That life is so much shorter than you think it’s going to be when you’re young. To be the last of my immediate family (Mom, Dad and sibling) was not something I ever imagined. Don’t wait to live your best life. 

TINA FRYE –No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN- I have learned how gratifying and fulfilling it is to serve my community and speak up for the needs of my fellow citizens.
JOHN W REED –The damage that social media and people can do with stories or comments in today’s society, and doing so without fully understanding the situation.

  1. We know The City of Oconto has limited spending capacity—are there certain city departments in which you envision investing more resources? Are there City Departments where you envision spending less resources?

JEAN FELDT- Are there certain city departments in which you envision investing more resources?

Technology to connect with residents, businesses and potential new residents, visitors. 

Are there City Departments where you envision spending less resources? 

Having been through the budgeting process 8 times, I can vouch for the fact that the budget is run as tightly as possible. 

We are fortunate to have an extremely exceptional and talented city administrator  who has used her skills as a CPA to turn our finances around during her tenure. Important to note also is that our departments are constantly researching grant opportunities and other opportunities to source revenue to ease the burden on tax payers.

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN- I would like to invest more resources in the Parks and Recreation department to improve winter recreation options.

 I would prefer not to take funds away from any other department, and instead focus on seeking grants and other funding sources so we aren’t robbing Peter to pay Paul.
JOHN W REED –The department heads do a great job with their respective budgets, and do so with creative ways of saving money. Allow them to do their jobs.

  1.  In your estimation, has reducing the number of council members from 10-6 improved or hindered the progress of the City Council?

JEAN FELDT- Helped. We get things done.

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN– I don’t have any personal knowledge of how the council functioned with 10. However, I feel 6 representatives is sufficient for the size of Oconto.

JOHN W REED- I believe we should have at least 8 council members. This would allow the recreation of necessary committees that have been removed.

  1. Please summarize with 3 things why you are the best candidate to be a new or continuing Council member.

JEAN FELDT- I am committed to this town, its people and its treasures. Continuing to represent and support the goals and dreams of Oconto residents would be a great honor. 

TINA FRYE – No response

WESLEY MARKUSEN- I am understanding of our community’s needs, I judge issues based on facts, not personal opinions, and I rely on common sense. 

JOHN W REED-I don’t believe I’m better than any of the candidates. I believe I have something to offer to promote the best interests of Oconto.


      Even though  Covid 19 is still a major concern, vendors and many shoppers turned out for the annual Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce Harvest Fest on September 26th from 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. on Main St, Oconto.  Shoppers got to sample wine and alcoholic beverages at Jorene’s Lecuts, purchase caramel apples and baked goods from Bonnie Forgette, purchase amazing ice cream from the booth of Mr. & Mrs. John DeMuth, purchase chicken booyah from Frank Mathy and the Oconto Kiwanis, sit down and enjoy sandwiches from Crivello’s and Aurora Carrazco’s Mexican booth. Children were able to decorate and take home with them a pumpkin from Crossroads Janitorial and Brenda Race. Other vendors selling their wares were Mommy & Me, Beggin Bites, produce from Jim Cherney, Creative Treasures, Plexus, L’Bri, Birch Bark Jewelry, crafts from Lisa Fonder, Lula Roe and 31 Bags, rummage items from Tim Groll, crafts from Arlene Hanarahan, Color Street, bicycles from Bobby Jo Lipp, wood carvings from Power Tool Artist, Heart Scents candles, t-shirts from the Republican Party, crafts from Ann Ristow, Senegence makeup, Usborne Books, Glass Garden angles, Paparazzi jewelry, amazing canned goods from Norine Walters, Ebbie’s Boutique, and info from Copperfest, Chiropractic Advantage,  the Oconto Humane Society and Christian Lit from Josh Zepnick. Many businesses were open on Main St. including Corner Stone Nutrition, the Garage, Beyoutiful Boutique, Main St. Creative Apparel, Main St. Insurance, Omni Ray Lighting, Bay Impressions, Associated Bank, Benzer Pharmacy and Robert’s Hardware. The Chamber wishes to thank all the vendors and shoppers, the City of Oconto, Jeremey Wusterbarth and his crew for the barriers, John’s Johns, Gary Zahn and Copperfest for refuse barrels, Bob Schwartz, Chamber Board member, WOCO and the Reporter for advertising the event.

Ron Hayes, Chamber President, and Kathy Hayes, Board Member.