Things to do in Wisconsin

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Why Wisconsin festivals, of course!

You see, we don’t just hold music fests or art fairs, we’ll put together whole celebrations centered around food, too! Check out the list below for some upcoming (delicious) fun:

JULY 24th-
Summer Harvest Cherry Fest, Fish Creek:
Free wine & beer tasting (yeah!), cherry pit spitting contest, free winery tours, face painting and more.

Blueberry Blitz, Merrill:
Includes hay rides, goat cart racing (really!), live music & more. Benefits Randlin Home’s Homeless Veterans.

Pig in the Park, Elkhart Lake:
Pig & corn roast, live music and more in Marsh Park.

Platteville’s Hometown Hog Roast:
Featuring “fun, music, games, raffles, pig races, and- of course- food!

Grandad’s Pancake Festival & Grass Volleyball Tournament, La Crosse:
The name says it all – start the day with a Pancake Breakfast and then participate in one of 3 categories of volleyball (advance registration of your team required).

JULY 24th & 25th-
Iron River Lions Blueberry Festival, Iron River:
Includes Queen & Princess coronations on Saturday evening and pie eating contest Sunday, yum!

JULY 25th-
Stanley Lions Watermelon Festival, Stanley:
Kids games, car show, flea market and FREE watermelon (while supplies last)!

COMING UP-
August 5th-7th: Brat Days, Sheboygan:
Entertainment for all ages including live music and -of course- a brat eating contest.

August 7th: Cookie Daze, Ripon:
Where else can your kids build their own rocket and play cookie BINGO? Lots of family fun including a cookie DROP.

BONUS: Not sure how I feel about this one, but… there’s also Hog WRESTLING in Twin Bridge on July 24th.

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summertime + talented artists = art fairs & fests around Wisconsin:

July 10th:
Namekagon Art & Music Fest, Cable WI

Featuring potters, painters, weavers, carvers and more. New this year will be the Jingle Dress and Fancy Dress dances performed by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe.

Fine Arts Fair, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee WI
“Enjoy a full day of arts activities featuring fine art and craft booths, a silent auction, and great food. A variety of continuous entertainment is provided on two stages throughout the day.”

35th Annual Lake Country Art Festival, Delafield WI

With over 150 exhibiting artists, you’ll find beautiful displays of pottery, woodwork, glass, jewelry, textiles and more at Naga-waukee Park. Includes musical entertainment and children’s arts & crafts area.

July 10th & 11th:
Find a whole lotta’ great art in downtown Madison, WI at Art Fair on the Square (450 exhibitors from around the country) as well as Art Fair OFF the Square (140 exhibitors from throughout WI).

Chalk Fest, Wausau WI
This 7th annual event transforms Wausau’s City Square with pastel art drawings. (Also going on in Wausau this weekend: Wausau Balloon Rally & Glow)

July 11th:
A Day in the Park Arts & Crafts Fair, Beaver Dam WI

“39th annual arts & crafts fair with over 200 vendors, 10 am – 4 pm, Swan Park”

July 17th:
Artarama, Eagle River WI

125 vendors showing (& selling) their paintings, sculpture, pottery and more in Riverside Park.

Stockholm Art Fair, Stockholm WI
Located on the Mississippi River, the Stockholm Art Fair will feature over 100 exhibitors this year. Check out their web site for a list of vendors, photos from last year’s event and directions.

Lake Mills Arts Festival, Lake Mills WI
Nearly 60 artists from around WI plus musical entertainment, children’s art activities and more.

PLUS one BONUS FESTIVAL:
The Hodag Country Festival runs Friday, July 9 through Sunday, July 11 in Rhinelander WI.  In it’s 33rd year, this Country Musical Festival features Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Dierks Bentley, Steel Magnolia, Billy Currington and many more.

As always, be sure to click over and check out WisconsinLodging.org when planning your next Wisconsin Getaway!

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…then you’ll find much to love about Wisconsin this weekend!  Here’s just a quick look at eight places to explore great music, great dancing & GREAT FUN!

June 23rd – 27th:
Country USA – Oshkosh
Billed as “five days of non-stop, world-class entertainment featuring country music’s biggest and hottest headliners“, Country USA features a “$2.1 million dollar talent lineup, coming together for the biggest show of them all.” PLUS great food & shopping.

June 24th – 26th:
Star Spangled Celebration – Richland Center
Held in Krouskop Park, Star Spangled Celebration brings country music to southwest Wisconsin. Headliners include Dierks Bentley, Daryl Worley,  Phil Vasser, Neal McCoy and Wynonna Judd.

June 24th – 27th:
Country Fest – Cadott
And even MORE of country music’s hottest stars will be in northwest Wisconsin as well: The line-up includes Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker & Reba.

June 25th:
Big Woods Big Band and Dance Party – Washburn
Billed as “northern Wisconsin’s most popular dance jazz orchestra” the Big Woods Big Band will be performing at STAGENORTH in Washburn Friday night. Includes free swing dance lessons before the concert as well!

June 25th – 27th:
Fiesta Waukesha – Waukesha
Held in Waukesha’s Frame Park, festival goers will find “a wide variety of Hispanic entertainment” plus “Latin American cuisine, amusements rides, children’s area, youth tent and arts/crafts marketplace.” Free admission for all.

Willard Annual Polka Fest – Willard
Friday night kicks off three days of great polka bands. Admission from $6 (Friday), $10 (Saturday) and $9 (Sunday).

St. Anne’s Polka Fest – Wausau
Great Polka music and dancing from Friday to Sunday plus Bingo, Fish Fry, Craft Sale, Beer Garden & more!

And the big daddy of them all… Summerfest in Milwaukee – 11 days of music featuring more than 800 bands across 11 stages: June 24th – July 4th.

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WOW – check out the great TripAdvisor lists of top travel destinations! Wisconsin Dells was named the third best family destination in the WORLD, behind EuroDisney in France and Tokyo Disney in Japan. What an honor!

From the TripAdvisor article:

Shaped by the currents and curves of the Wisconsin River, Wisconsin Dells has been a favorite family vacation destination for more than 150 years. An explosion of indoor water parks has turned the Dells from a summer hot spot to a year-round destination. Kids will enjoy the seemingly endless supply of fun and games, from go-karts to miniature golf, sideshows to thrill rides. If the weather’s right, you can take a Duck tour of land and water, and top it all off with a heaping helping of the local fudge.

Wisconsin Dells really does have everything, from elegant B&Bs and family-owned motels to familiar chain hotels and mega-waterpark properties. Already thinking of checking out the Dells this summer? There are plenty of tools at wisconsinlodging.org to help you plan your trip. Search by type of property (hotel, motel, B&B, etc.), search for places to bring your pet or facilities with waterparks, even book your room, all at the same Web site. Take your pick from nearly 150 Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton area properties!

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Heading to Lake Geneva during Stay Longer Weekend? There’s plenty of family fun to keep you busy your entire stay.

Lake Geneva May Days: on Saturday, May 15 from 11am – 4pm downtown Lake Geneva will be buzzing with the sights and smells of spring. Outdoor kiosks will be selling fresh flowers and garden items all over the downtown area and 25 retailers will be featuring in-store specials and all-day giveaways. Spend $20 at participating retailers and get a free herb plant!
Downtown Lake Geneva  |  262/344-3951  |  May 15, 11 am – 4 pm  |  more information

Old World Wisconsin Barn Dance: Put on your dancing shoes and head over to Old World Wisconsin in Eagle for an after-hours dance in the Clausing Barn. This event was so popular last year that three dances were added for 2010!
S103 W37890 Hwy. 67, Eagle  |  262/594-6301  |  May 15, 6-9 pm  |  more information

See the sights from the water with a Lake Geneva Boat Cruise: the beaches may  not open until Memorial Day, but you can still check out Lake Geneva from the water on a boat cruise. Choose from a variety of cruise types, all with in-depth historical narration about the many estates and mansions that line the shores of the lake.
812 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva  |  800/558-5911  |  more information

Learn more about these and other events at the Lake Geneva Area Convention and Visitors Bureau!

Get a free night of lodging (May 13 or 16) when you book two nights May 14-15 at one of these great Lake Geneva locations: Bella Vista Suites, General Boyd’s B&B, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Lake Geneva Motel.

A stop in Madison during Stay Longer Weekend will keep you busy! Check out some of the sights:

Capital Brewery Tour: learn about beer-making and see first-hand how the award-winning beverages at Capital Brewery are made! Make your reservations online, as weekend tours can fill mid-week.
7734 Terrace Avenue, Middleton  |  608/836-7100  |  $3 age 21+, free under 21 with parent  |  more information

Cave of the Mounds: take a guided tour of this underground cavern that began forming more than 1 million years ago! Inside you’ll be amazed by the crystal formations and the steady 50 degree temperature all year round.
2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mounds  |  608/437-3038  | 10 am – 4 pm weekdays, 9 am – 5 pm weekends  |  more information

Dane County Farmers Market on the Square: with more than 150 vendors, it’s the largest producer-only farmers’s market in the country. All items are produced or grown by the vendors behind the tables!
Capital Square, Madison  |  608/455-1999  |  Saturdays, 6 am – 2 pm  |  more information

Check out the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau for info on these and many other great events and attractions!

Book your Stay Longer weekend at one of the great participating Madison properties: AmericInn Madison West, Best Western West Towne Suites, Cambria Suites, Comfort Inn & Suites Airport, Crowne Plaza Madison, Hilton Madison, Sheraton Madison, Staybridge Suites Madison East and Staybridge Suites Middleton.

Congratulations to Diane and Lisa, randomly-drawn winners of a free night of lodging at Bella Vista Suites in Lake Geneva and Crowne Plaza Madison!

We’ve got plenty more prizes to giveaway this week, so keep reading if you didn’t win!

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Today on the second day of National Tourism Week, we’ve got a double giveaway! We want to hear about your favorite Wisconsin summer vacation memories. Family getaways, road trips, Northwoods camping – what was the greatest Wisconsin summer of your life?

We’ll pick two comments at random to win a night at the Crowne Plaza Madison or a night at Bella Vista Suites in Lake Geneva. Be sure to comment on this blog post to be eligible to win!

Comments will be closed at 10 p.m. CDT and the winners will be announced Wednesday morning with great things to do in Lake Geneva and Madison during Stay Longer weekend.

Don’t forget to check the @TravelinginWI Twitter for two more giveaways today! Tweet “It’s Tourism Week” and you could win a stay at the AmericInn Beaver Dam in a king whirlpool suite.  Include-Follow @TravelingInWI by 12amCST. Also, Tweet about your favorite tourist place in Milwaukee – include/follow @TravelingInWI and you could win free night at MainStay Suites Milwaukee.

Good luck!

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Have you booked your Stay Longer weekend yet? Participating Wisconsin lodging properties want to give you an extra night (Thursday, May 13 or Sunday, May 16) when you book two nights of lodging May 14-15. See all participating properties here!

So what is there to do in Wisconsin during Stay Longer weekend and National Tourism week? In part 1 of our series, we’ll focus on the Wisconsin Dells area.

State Parks
Devil’s Lake State Park: just outside of Wisconsin Dells in Baraboo,
Devil’s Lake State Park boasts 500 foot cliffs, miles of hiking trails, two sandy beaches and miles of mountain bike trails. Check out the park for a full day of outdoor exploring.
S5975 Park Road, Baraboo  |  608/356-8301  |  wisparks.com |
admission: $7-10 per day, open all year

Mirror Lake State Park: take a quick ride to this park, just three miles outside of the Dells. Here you’ll find sandstone bluffs, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, picnic areas, boat landing area, biking and hiking.
E10320 Fern Dell Road, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/254-2333  |  wisparks.com |  admission: $3-10 per day, open all year

Golf
Cold Water Canyon Golf Course at Chula Vista Resort: features 18 holes of golf, full service driving range; PGA instruction available. Located on the Chula Vista Resort property.
Hwy. 13 N  |  608/254-8489  |  chulavistaresort.com |  rates start at $49, subject to change – call for details

Photography
H.H. Bennet Studio Tour: tour the circa 1875 photography tour of the landscape photographer who “made Wisconsin Dells famous,” featuring 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits.
215 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/253-3523  |  hhbennetstudio.org |  admission: $3.50-7

Get your own old time photo!
Old Abe’s  |  217 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/254-5663  |  oldabes.com
Professor Porter  |  112 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/253-7533

Movies
Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater: take a trip back in time at the
drive-in! Big Sky features two screens showing a double feature every
night of the week. Snack bar available, opens at 8 p.m.
Hwy. 16E, Wisconsin Dells  |  608/254-8025  |  bigskydrivein.com |
admission: $5-8, open: May 14-15

Congratulations to… Clare Kuhnen, winner of a free night of lodging at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, plus four free waterpark passes!!

Didn’t win? You can still get a free night of lodging (May 13 or 16) at the following Wisconsin Dells-area properties when you book two nights May 14-15:
The Atlantis Hotel, Birchcliff Resort, Chula Vista Resort, Delton Oaks Resort on Lake Delton, Fox Hill RV Park & Campground, Great Wolf Lodge, Meadowbrook Resort and Spring Brook Vacation Homes & Cabins

We’ve got a whole week of giveaways planned! Check back tomorrow for drawings from MainStay Suites Milwaukee, AmericInn Green Bay East and Crowne Plaza Madison!

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Want to Stay Longer at nearly 100 properties in Wisconsin next weekend? Get a free night (Thursday or Sunday) when you book two nights May 14-16 in celebration of National Tourism Week. Properties range from Northwoods cabins and Door County B&Bs to urban hotels and waterparks! A full list of participating properties can be found here.

Keep staying longer all summer – we’re also giving away more than 30 free nights of lodging all week, starting Monday. Watch for the first set of details posted here Monday morning and follow us on Twitter @TravelinginWI. We’ll have a bunch of giveaways each day, so check back all week!

For a complete list of giveaways and contest rules, click here.

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By Pamela Haase
Whenever a holiday rolls around there are always many fun, safe family events around Wisconsin and – if you celebrate it – Easter is no exception! Check out the following:

Wednesday, March 31 – Saturday, April 3
Teacher Place & Parent Resources, Burlington
Activities: Five different & unusual techniques to dye eggs: “classic, modern & awesome styles!” See website for times available.
Cost: $3 per person, children must be accompanied by a paying adult

Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3
Apple Holler Restaurant & Playhouse, Sturtevant
Big Bunny Weekend Celebration
Activities: Storytelling, hay wagon ride through the orchard, games, prizes, Big Bunny visit, pony rides, egg hunt
Cost: $7 per person

Friday, April 2nd
Branded at The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee
Adults Only Easter Egg Hunt
Activities: Search for eggs filled with grown-up prizes such as free drinks, also serving Pink Peep Martinis all weekend

Saturday, April 3rd
Milwaukee County Zoo
Egg Day
Activities: Scavenger hunt, face painting, arts & crafts, Easter parade

Children’s Museum of La Crosse
Easter EGG-Stravaganza
Activities: “Egg hunt, games, crafts and more. Pre-registration and pre-payment required.
Cost: $5 per child (members), $7 per child (non-members) Adults free

Easter Hat Parade 2010, Madison
Activities: Hat-making workshop, parade for kids & adults around the Capitol Square & live baby animals
Workshop begins at 10:00 am, parade at Noon

Boulder Junction Winter Park
Easter Cache Hunt
Activities: Introduction to geocaching, hunt for 12 caches, complimentary lunch to participants, wagon rides, prizes

Saturday, April 3 – Sunday, April 4
The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
Activities: Meet the Easter Bunny, egg hunt and workshops, Sunday brunch buffet

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Yep, half way through winter in Wisconsin & there’s still plenty of festival fun to be had…

February 19-21
Madison Winter Festival
Family fun from tubing to snowshoeing, ice carving and snow sculpting, plus running, walking, biking and more all around Madison’s Capitol Square.

February 20th
Chilly Fest, Menomonie Falls
Includes Chili cook-off and ice carving contests, food, games & live entertainment at Mill Pond Park.

2010 Freeze Fest, Whitewater
Rise and shine with a pancake breakfast by the Kiwanis, then head out for a carriage ride or family skating time and much more! Freeze Fest is also one of the three Polar Plunge events this weekend in Wisconsin (see below for more).

Mardi Gras Festival, Wausau
Food & drink specials plus fun family events at Granite Peak Ski Hill.

February 20-21
Klondike Days, Eagle River
Head to Eagle River for a full weekend of family fun including snowshoe races, lumberjack competitions, plus a winter rendezvous encampment. Be sure to also check out the traditional Ojibwe dances by the Waswagoning Dance Theatre.

February 20thPolar Plunge for Special Olympics
In addition to the Polar Plunge during Freeze Fest in Whitewater, brave souls will also be raising money and making the plunge in Madison & Oshkosh on February 20th. To learn more & check for Plunge dates/ locations near you, visit the Special Olympics website.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ2GfBgSIyo]

As always, head on over to WisconsinLodging.info and start planning your Wisconsin winter getaway!

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