Gaylord Sets Fire to Fears & Negativity at Alpenfest

Tuesday night, Gaylord watched their troubles disappear into the air at Alpenfest.

To kick off the first night of the festival, the city performed the ceremonial burning of the Boogg, a flammable mascot filled with written complaints, worries and negative thoughts.

Legend has it that if you write your troubles down and stuff them inside, they’ll go away.

The Boogg is imported from Swiss tradition. In Zurich, the Boogg is traditionally burned to celebrate the end of winter and beginning of spring.

Gaylord has a different take on the burn, and for decades, people have celebrated the Boogg’s release of negative energy and the positivity it creates for the town.

“For us, for a local, it’s where we get rid of our troubles, our woes and it seems to help,” said Gaylord native Lou Habryl. “We keep putting the concerns in there and they seem to burn away.”

While some people burn negative thoughts and concerns, others like Randy Towler, make wishes.

He’s been making wishes here his whole life, and written them on slips of paper stuffed inside the Boogg for more than 55 years.

And more than once, he’s had some pretty special dreams come true.

“[In 2014], I’d wished is to have something here in Gaylord that would reflect my being here and dad living here before he passed away,” Towler said.

Towler wished for a memorial for his dad who served in World War II but he didn’t have the money to pay for one.

“I made the wish, I had it burned at the Boogg, and within a month’s time, [a friend] gave me the money to pay for that,” said Towler. “One day, he just said, ‘here’s the money.'”

For Towler and so many others, the tradition of the Boogg is here to start Alpenfest off on the right foot. And maybe even make dreams come true.

To find out more about Alpenfest and see a full list of events visit