In the middle of Wisconsin’s Northwoods is Fred Smith’s Concrete Park. This is probably the most random place to have an outdoor museum full of hundreds of concrete sculptures, but who ever said life makes sense? A retired lumberjack, Smith built himself the Rock Garden Tavern in 1936. When not drinking beer (and breaking the bottles) he created his folk art masterpieces. Made with wooden frames wrapped in mink wire, then layered with concrete and whatever junk was laying around, these statues show Smith’s version of history: an antlered deer leaping over a log, Ben Hur and an angel looming over an oxen race, the Iwo Jima flag raising next to John Wayne and Sacajawea. Smith believed the American people “need something like this”. The town is so into celebrating the legacy of Mr. Smith that every year they hold a Wisconsin Concrete Park Celebration (in mid-August…let’s go!) that includes a tuba band and a puppet show depicting Fred’s life (who died in 1976 by the way). As much as I don’t want to spend six hours in a car making my way from Chicago to Northern Wisconsin, seeing this in person would make the drive worth it. I think.