The Pleasures And Pains Of Life In Tourism Town

By Marnie Dresser | June 23, 2017


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Spring Green has a lot going for it. It’s one of the reasons Marnie Dresser loves living there, though sometimes, dealing with the tourists leaves a bit to be desired.

When my son was still small enough to ride in a stroller, I liked to make up little songs to keep him entertained.  He was a late talker, so it was mostly me singing to him, although occasionally, he’d sing along.  One time we were walking in Spring Green and came across a cluster of tourists and sang out, at the top of his sweet little toddler lungs, “Thank you for your money, now go home. Thank you for your money, now go home.” (Sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”)

On the scale of displeasure to pleasure in living in a tourist town, I vascillate between ambivalence and pleasure. Well, actually, I hover over pleasure most of the season and dip down to ambivalence now and then.

There are the permanent attractions—Taliesin, APT, great food—and then there are the several times a year when Spring Green is swamped with extra people, aka tourists. There’s BobFest and BeatleFest, both held at the Spring Green Café & General Store, which I live very near, and there’s a car show in August, but the swampiest is the Spring Green Art Fair at the end of June. In the days prior, art fair workers spray paint booth numbers, and the police put notices on cars reminding them they can’t park on the street beginning the evening before the fair. This is just the tippy-top of the iceberg of all the work that’s gone on all year to make the event a success. Then, like giant mushrooms, booths begin popping up all down the street. 

There’s something for everyone at the Art Fair, and it’s good stuff—it’s a juried fair. We particularly like the pottery and the stained glass (one really nice stained glass artist has been in front of our house the whole time we’ve lived here).

The drawbacks are manageable, but they’re there—over the years, at various Spring Green events, we’ve had people park in our backyard parking spot, pee in our yard, smoke pot in our yard, and wow—extra people mean extra dogs and extra dogs mean extra poopage in our yard. Plus, I’ve gotten in touch with my introvert side over the years, and sometimes I just freak out to see so many people so close by.

Still, the pros do outweigh the cons.

One art fair, my husband and I were sitting on our front porch people-watching when a nice-looking, middle-aged woman wandered up our front walk. She looked this way and that, admiring the flowers bordering the walk. I thought she was going to knock on our screen door, and I was about to say hello, when she stopped at the front steps and shoved an index finger so far up her nose I think she touched her brain.  But one trip up didn’t do it. She stood there and picked and picked and picked her nose, like a hard rock miner.  Finally she was done, and turned around and walked back down our walk.  She made it two or three steps back onto the main sidewalk when I exploded, having held my breath pretty much the whole time she was digging. She gave just the tiniest little hop and kept on walking.

I can’t promise a scene like this if you come to the art fair—it’s only happened once in the sixteen summers we’ve been here—but Spring Green is an awfully interesting little town, and I’m happy to share it with however many people show up.





Marnie Dresser

Marnie Dresser is a writer and professor at UW – Richland County.
2018-02-10T23:10:48-06:00Tags: , , |

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