First ever Crowfest in Watertown

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For the first time ever, citizens of Watertown will be able to partake in Crowfest. A community festival brought to you by Mario’s Italian Kitchen and the Watertown Lions Club.

Mario Cortolezzi with Mario’s Italian Kitchen says the event is supposed to be Watertown’s very own Octoberfest, happening on Saturday, September 23.He said the day will feature beer, food and music at Rick Johnson Park.

“We have such beautiful parks in Watertown that no one is using,” Cortolezzi said.
He said he wants this to be a reason for residents to stay outside a little bit longer in the year, and have fall start a little bit later.

“Watertown loves being together and this will be one last hoorah before winter,” he said.

Though the purpose of this event is even bigger than community park fun. All proceeds from this event will go to Freedom Farm. It’s a local therapeutic riding center for at risk and disabled veterans, teenagers and children.

“We want to be able to write them a check for a large amount to help them further their mission,” said event coordinator Laura Von Hagen.

Founder of Freedom Farm Susie Bjorklund says the organization is looking to start a $90,000 expansion. Bjorklund said she needs a 40 ft. x 60 ft. additional learning and riding space.

“With the growth we’re experiencing we need to add on to our arena,” Bjorklund said. “It needs to be very multi-use – we need to be able to put a horse in a classroom, it’s going to cost a lot to do it right.”

This year the farm opened the Freedom Farm Academy, a partnership with Southwest Metro Intermediate and the Watertown-Mayer School District. Also, after 17 years of business the farm now has 150 riders.

Bjorklund says the riders will have a booth at the event and they will be providing educational videos and materials on the farm. She said she doesn’t think the majority of the community knows what the farm does and she wants to change that.

“We’re really excited to let the community know what we do, maybe we will inspire someone,” she said.

There will be multiple other local vendors at Crowfest as well and the Lions who will be providing their own beer tents. Cortolezzi promises there will be a smorgasbord of German food favorites. Also, the Hooked on Classics car show will be present as well.
“I want to bring people to Watertown and show them what we have to offer,” Cortolezzi said.

Cortolezzi said the name “Crowfest” is a hybrid of the Crow River and Octoberfest. He said he wants this to be a big event that happens every year. Cortolezzi said the goal is to have a leisurely Saturday for people to come and go as they please.
“Come out and get to know your neighbors and support an amazing local organization,” he said.

The event starts at 11 a.m. and goes to 10 p.m. Go to for more information.