10 Wisconsin Small Towns and the Random Reason They’re World-Famous

By Christina Lorey

September 14, 2023

Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland–the top cheese-producing state in the country. But many of our smallest towns hold special titles of their own, like Bear Creek, home of the World’s Largest Sauerkraut Plant, or Waunakee, “The Only Waunakee in the World.”

Here are 10 Wisconsin towns and the random reason they’re world-famous:

Bear Creek

Home of the World’s Largest Sauerkraut Plant

More than 100 years ago, two Irish brothers started a pickling company called Flanagan Brothers. Since then, Dave and Henry’s business (now GLK Foods) has become the world’s largest producer of kraut–turning nearly 150,000 tons of raw cabbage into kraut every year. Their great-grandson now runs the company.

Boulder Junction

The Musky Capital of the World

With 195 lakes chock-full of Musky in town, Boulder Junction trademarked itself the “Musky Capital of the World.” The Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Musky Jamboree each August.

Eagle River

Snowmobile Capital of the World

Home to more than 500 miles of snowmobile trails, the Amsoil World Championship Snowmobile Derby, and the World Snowmobile headquarters, Eagle River takes winter recreation seriously.

Fremont

White Bass Capital of the World

Thousands of fishermen flock to the town of 700 every May to experience “May Madness.” It’s not uncommon for participants to take home more than 2,000 White Bass after a single week of fishing!

Green Bay

Toilet Paper Capital of the World

Ever get a splinter from toilet paper? Hopefully not, and you have Green Bay to thank. The first splinter-free TP was produced in Titletown, and the paper industry remains one of the region’s largest employers.

Lake Tomahawk

Snowshoe Baseball Capital of the World

In 1961, a local man thought playing baseball on snowshoes sounded like a great idea, and the community has been embracing the silly tradition ever since. (And yes, the sport is exactly what it sounds like: athletes wear snowshoes, using a 16-inch ball and no gloves.) Today, catching a game is on the bucket list of many tourists.

Mercer

The Loon Capital of the World

A wildlife study found Mercer had the highest concentration of common loons in the world, so the town decided to go all-in. It’s now home to “Claire d’Loon,” the world’s largest loon: a 16-foot, 2,000-pound sculpture, as well as a summer loon-calling contest and a winter cross-country ski race called the Blue Loon Stampede.

Pardeeville

Home of the World Watermelon Eating and Seed Spitting Championships

The central Wisconsin city has hosted an annual Watermelon Festival every September since 1968 that includes a variety of eating and spitting competitions. The best part? All-you-can-eat watermelon is free!

Sheboygan

Bratwurst Capital of the World

The city’s tourism board credits German immigrants for bringing two of their favorite things, brats and beer, to Sheboygan. Today, the town makes and eats more brats than anywhere else in America.

Waunakee

The Only Waunakee in the World

A different “W”–Washington–holds the title as the most common geographical name in America. But there’s only one Waunakee, and the Wisconsin village of 15,000 is proud of it! The name “Waunakee” is derived from the Native American word for “fair and pleasant valley.” 

MORE: Six Wisconsin Cities Named Among America’s “Top 100 Most Livable”

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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