Beginning in mid-September, many high schools hold their homecoming week. A week-long string of events — decorating the halls, pep rallies, powder puff games and parades — culminates in a Friday night football game where alumni from years past can get together to share stories and cheer for their team from the sidelines.
Homecoming week brings communities together; it is a celebration of togetherness and remembering where we hail from.
Here in Monroe, we plaster that motto right on the welcome signs. Monroe: We bring you back.
Except Monroe has a second homecoming that’s doled out every two years. It is a weekend party for locals and visitors of all ages and it is called Cheese Days.
We’ll have parades, concerts, vendors, craft fairs, carnivals and markets. There will be food from all over, drinks for both adults and children, and have we talked about the fried cheese curds?
Cheese Days is when our quaint little town of 10,000 grows nearly 10-fold for three days. Visitors from across the state, region and globe show up for the festivities.
With all the hullabaloo going on, I still get asked by friends that have left town: “Is Monroe football playing at home on Friday?”
The answer seemingly every two years is simple: No.
For whatever reason, the one weekend every 24 months we become a metro TV market, our football team is on the road.
In 2016, an undefeated Monroe team was at Milton.
In 2014, Monroe was at Oregon.
The 2012 Cheesemakers were on the road at Reedsburg.
Fort Atkinson was the destination of choice in 2010.
A home game in 2008 against Oregon is the only outlier dating back to 2006.
Could this be happenstance? I also supposed so. I asked current Monroe Athletic Director Jeff Newcomer, a 1999 MHS alum.
“It seems to just happen that way recently,” he said.
Who do we have to talk to about this? I would think that of all Fridays, Cheese Days would be the week Monroe would want to absolutely play a home game. The crowd would be larger, which means higher concessions dollars for the booster club, stronger ticket sales and potentially a louder atmosphere.
While interest in the program has waned in recent years — most likely due to performance on the field, but I’ll speak on that another day — getting a scheduled big crowd every couple of years couldn’t hurt with driving interest, let alone pride, back into the program and community.
Or maybe I should just stick to dousing my fried cheese curds in Cajun salt.
— Adam Krebs is a reporter for the Times and was the 1994 Cheese Days Prince and is a 2004 MHS graduate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.