At the heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area are Crawford County and Vernon County, defined to their west by the Mississippi River and by the Kickapoo Valley which runs through each.
Never touched by glaciers, the Driftless Area is characterized by its beautifully sculpted topography. Forested hillsides reach down to valleys cut into limestone bedrock by cold-water trout streams. Forests, prairie remnants, wetlands, and grasslands provide habitat for wildflowers and wildlife. Land is farmed by the descendants of those who first settled here, by the Amish who adopted the area, and by a new breed of organic farmer.
The Driftless area is an inspirational setting to all manner of talented artists. Its hills and valleys are home to painters and potters, woodworkers and weavers, metalsmiths and musicians, vintners and brewmasters.
To see, hear and taste the exceptional variety of their creations, you usually have to visit studios and stores, cafes and concerts. But once a year, on the third weekend in September (September 17 & 18, 2011), the Driftless Area Art Festival is held along the banks of the Kickapoo River in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin at the Beauford T. Anderson Park. The Art Festival is distinguished by its mission to showcase only regional artists. The popular festival features over 80 visual arts exhibitors, live music and performances, and great local foods. Free Admission and parking. For more information, visit www.driftlessareaartfestival.com.
If you are unable to visit the Art Festival consider visiting at another time. The great diversity of the area means something to suit the taste of every visitor. You can simply enjoy the peace and beauty of the countryside with a good book, a cup of coffee from a local roaster, or a glass of wine from a local vineyard. You can don your waders and hope to outwit a brook trout on a cool foggy morning. You can get on your bike and wind your way through magnificent scenery. You can shop for art, antiques, handmade furniture, artisanal cheeses, or locally-grown foods.
Whether for a weekend, a week, or longer, you’ll enjoy your stay in the beautiful Kickapoo Valley!