The Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center officially announced last week that it has purchased the building that currently houses the Center from the Warrens Cranberry Festival. The WCDC has been located in the building at 204 Main Street since 2004, but had been renting from the Warrens Cranberry Festival until the purchase was made official at the beginning of June.
WCDC Director Barbara Hendricks says that the purchase is the next exciting step in the Discovery Center’s growth. “We’re so thrilled about this opportunity to continue to further our mission of educating the public about Wisconsin’s number one fruit crop, the cranberry. Having the chance to continue doing so in this historic building in downtown Warrens is really fabulous.” Hendricks went on to say, “Guests from all over the world stop in to visit the Center, offering us the opportunity to educate them about historical and present-day Wisconsin cranberry production practices. We communicate the health benefits and versatility of the fruit as well as how the industry is preserving the multigenerational heritage and history of cranberry farming.”
The WCDC building was originally constructed in 1900 from locally quarried sandstone and operated as a warehouse for the “Union Cranberry Company.” After renovations in 2004, the century-old building now houses a 4800 sq. ft. hands-on exhibit hall, a cranberry ice cream parlor and bakery and a Wisconsin cranberry gift shop that boasts over 200 items made with Wisconsin cranberries. If you’re not able to stop in to shop, the WCDC also has an online store at www.thecranberrystore.com. Over 20,000 people visited the WCDC last year; many of them tour groups of children from schools that, many times, choose to come as a part of their school’s agriculture curriculums.
The Center operates as a non-profit organization and relies heavily on donations to continue to grow their mission and on volunteers for staffing its tours, ice cream counter and its gift shop. “We’re always looking for new volunteers to add to our WCDC family. We also love adding new members to our donor program, “Friends of the Discovery Center,” especially now as we move forward in the next phase of our journey to educate the public. People who are passionate about our education and outreach programs have been and will continue to be a major part of who we are.”