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Country Fest crowd boosts fundraising for Rhinelander Fire Department and RHS Student Council
RHINELANDER - Lines of traffic ending at Hodag Country Fest lead thousands of visitors through Rhinelander every year. Some local organizations plan to make the most of it.
The Rhinelander High School Student Council offers locker room access to Hodag visitors every year for $5.

"We have a lot of people that make it part of their country fest tradition," said Amber Laggis, the RHS Student Council advisor.

For an additional suggested donation, Laggis said those visitors can buy more than just a shower.

"Maybe get away from the heat for a little bit, have a cup of coffee, have breakfast, usually recharge their phones, maybe use the Wi-Fi," said Laggis.

Last year, RHS raised nearly three thousand dollars through showers and breakfast. Laggis said this is the student council's main fundraiser.

The Rhinelander Fire Department is also making the most of Hodag's visitors. Several fire fighters will spend the next few days at the intersection of Stevens and Dwight Streets raising money for RFD's annual "Fill the Boot" campaign.

"Oh, yeah, it's that time of year again," said Lt. Eric Arno.

"Fill the Boot" kicked off on Monday, but fire fighters hit the streets for the first time this year on Thursday.

"There are a lot of Country Fest goers, that's why we pick this weekend to do it. There's a lot of traffic in this intersection," said Arno.

For more than a dozen years those boots have raised over $100,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The money raised goes towards research, medical care and a MDA summer camp for kids with the disease.

RFD says Hodag's high traffic is part of what makes "Fill the Boot" so successful in Rhinelander.

"I wasn't aware that so many people came up this way, and I think it's great not only for the community but fundraisers like this," said Andrea Meulemans with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Rhinelander's shower fundraiser as well as the Fill the Boot campaign will continue until Sunday. The RHS locker rooms are only open from 8 am to noon.

Story By: Stephen Goin

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