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Northwoods castle opens to the public for the weekend

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Kelley Castle

TOMAHAWK, Wis. (WAOW) -- A Northwoods hidden gem is opening to the public for the first and only time this year.

Kelley Castle is an actual castle hidden on Lake Killarney, and it's only open once a year.

Pete Kelley has been working on Kelley Castle since 1987, but he first dreamed of the idea when he was in high school.

"And then I made the shift to castle and I was like oh yeah, that's where I'm going." said Pete Kelley, owner of the castle.

The castle has yet to be finished, but the fortress now sees hundreds of visitors a year on a single weekend, a result of the popularity of the Northwoods Fall Ride.

" I was getting visitors every 45 minutes, so I decided on weekend a year, I'll cut the grass and clean up." said Kelley.

Now, it's a widely popular attraction with both kids and adults.

"It's just really fantastic, people get to come and see all the work Pete has put into the castle, he's got photographs of the progress that he's made, especially all the people that have been here in the past, they've gotten to see how it's progressed." said Matthew Bergquist, part of the re-enactment group Knights of the North.

In addition to tours of the castle and the grounds, guests can view demonstrations of armored combat, and children can venture off on their own quest, and can even be knighted by the king.

Both actors and visitors can immerse themselves into a distant land, and said it's a wonderful experience.

"It's incredible, it's incredible, and to be able to come here and wear armor and camp out and do what we love is amazing." said Bergquist, "I know a lot of us look forward to this weekend every year, to be able to come do this and it's a lot of work but we love doing it."

Despite the castle being open, Kelley said his project is only half done, and plans to work on it for the rest of his life.

"I have some things that have to be done but it'll never be done." said Kelley.

Kelley Castle is officially open to the public on Friday, September 16th, at 9 a.m.

They are located at 2815 Rice Road in Tomahawk.

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