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Gary Knowles’ - Getaway Sampler

A selection of events loaded with Real Wisconsin Fun!

May 2015

by Gary Knowles ©

Gary Knowles is a freelance travel writer who is the author of the “Gary’s Getaways” feature for the Journal & Topics Newspapers in Northern Illinois, a consultant to travel businesses, and is the author of The Great Wisconsin Touring Book- 30 Spectacular Auto

Tours.

The Great Wisconsin Touring Book- 30 Spectacular Auto Tours. FOLLOW GARY’S TIPS ON TWITTER : @TravelWisconsin

FOLLOW GARY’S TIPS ON TWITTER: @TravelWisconsin

BEFORE YOU GO: Avoid disappointment. Always check for schedule changes before heading to events. For more events- four good sources: www.WisTravel.com, www.Wisconline .com, www.TravelWisconsin.com or

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HISTORY ON TOUR Eau Claire

OPENS MAY 2 - Discover Wisconsin History in Eau Claire The Wisconsin Historical Society's Wisconsin History Tour, a statewide program, opens at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire May 2. The program centers on a handcrafted traveling exhibit and history-related programming featuring history and stories the State Historical Society has been gathering since its founding in 1846. The exhibit will be on display through May 30. On May 12-16, the Tour, hosted by noted author Jim Draeger, brings authors, genealogists, archivists, architects, and archeologists to present special programs on: genealogy, history discussions, and a "Your Stuff, Your Story" opportunity to share personal collections and artifacts. On May 12 a Writers Forum features authors: Michael Perry, Jerry Apps, and John Hildebrand at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center (The State Theater.) The free forum will focus on how writers capture a "sense of place" and write about personal history and experiences in captivating ways. The Writer's Forum is free, but reservations by May 8 are suggested at wihist.org/writersforum5-12- 15. Find schedule details at www.wisconsinhistorytour.org. After its Eau Claire stop, the Tour heads to Superior, Waukesha and beyond.

BIRDS & BLOOMS AT THE BAY -- AND MARSH

BIRDS & BLOOMS AT THE BAY -- AND MARSH

HORICON MARSH

BIRDS & BLOOMS AT THE BAY -- AND MARSH HORICON MARSH

May 8-11 Pack your binoculars for the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival. Hosted during the peak of the spring bird migration, this festival is the perfect time to observe more than 300 various species of birds. Enjoy the birding bus, boat, bicycle and hiking tours which challenge participants to identify multiple species. For more adventure, be sure to take part in the night sounds bus tours or children’s bird scavenger hunts. PH:

MAY 14-16 Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival AND

MAY 14-16 Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival AND

MAY 15 June 14 Bayfield in Bloom

MAY 14-16 Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival AND MAY 15 – June 14 Bayfield in

More than 300 species of birds flock to the Bayfield Peninsula so it’s no surprise that birding enthusiasts follow them there! Considered one of the top birding destinations in the Midwest, Chequamegon Bay hosts three days of birding and outdoor activities at the peak of spring migration at the Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival. Headquarters for 100 events and outings is Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center just west of Ashland. Come for “birding by ear,” photo expeditions, wildflower walks and seminars. For details: PH 800-284-9484; www.birdandnaturefest.com . But hang around! The annual “Bayfield in Bloom” festival runs May 15 to June 14. Enjoy 50,000 blooming apple blossoms and daffodils in the town Smithsonian Magazine tagged as one of the best places to visit in America this year! The event kicks off with a live Wisconsin Public Radio broadcast of “Garden Talk” on Friday, May 15 and Bayfield in Bloom Expo, featuring horticultural experts and a variety of products for your own garden. And don’t miss Bayfield’s Annual Garden Tour for the chance to see Bayfield’s best gardens on June 7-8. Details: PH:

715-779-3335; www.bayfield.org .

MUSHROOM MADNESS

Morel Mushroom Festival Muscoda May 15-17 There’s a “Fungus Among Us!” - Morel Mushroom Festival Muscoda, Wisconsin Just the thought of Morel Mushrooms gets gourmets salivating, so you won’t be surprised to hear that this festival brings them in from as far as New York, California and even Russia! Welcome to the 33rd Annual Morel Mushroom Fest May15-17. Get there early to buy some to take home. Vendors gladly share favorite recipes. Stop by Mushroom Headquarters for fried mushrooms and mushroom brats and sip a Wirtz Morel Microbrew. And we didn’t mention helicopter rides, flea market, chalk drawing, horseshoe tournament, chainsaw carving, maple syrup and tours of ancient Native American effigy mounds! And fireworks Saturday! PH: 608-739-3182; www.muscoda.com

CHOCOLATE…CHOCOLATE!

May 22-25 ChocolateFest Burlington If you love creamy milk chocolate, sweet dark chocolate or any other delectable chocolate treat, then look no further than the Chocolate Fest in Burlington. This tasty festival offers a weekend of fun, games, cooking demonstrations, chocolate carving and more chocolate than you could ever imagine. Bella Cain band will be rocking ChocolateFest this year on Sunday, May 24 at 8 p.m. Enjoy events like chocolate eating contests, the Chef Meltdown competition, a Chocolate City Flash Mob, Family Feud: Choco-style and so much more. This year’s theme, “The World of Chocolate” is baking up a surplus of samples and sweet fun. On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Burlington-Chocolatefest/58283089382 262-763-3300; www.chocolatefest.com

BEER FOREVER - BRATS FOREVER – BEER TOO!

BEER FOREVER - BRATS FOREVER BEER TOO!

MAY 1-10 MADISON CRAFT BEER WEEK

BEER FOREVER - BRATS FOREVER – BEER TOO! MAY 1-10 MADISON CRAFT BEER WEEK

Raise a Glass to Women Brewers at Madison Craft Beer Week - Madison

beer and I will conquer the world,” said German Kaiser Wilhelm. He was a bit too early for The 5th Annual Madison Craft Beer Week (MCBW) May 1-10, but don’t let that stop you from a few conquests. Festival organizers are hard at work creating a “Common Thread” brew for the celebration and the Kaiser might appreciate that this collaborative brew was conceived and brewed entirely by the women in the Wisconsin brewing industry - female head brewers, owners and microbrew lovers! Bring on the world! From May 1-10 pub crawls, bike tours, beer education classes, “meet-and-greets” and beer cook-offs will cover Dane County. In addition, more than eighty Madison area restaurants, pubs and breweries will host more than 350 special beer events welcoming beer beginners as well as connoisseurs. “The craft beer culture here is extraordinary,” said co-founder Jeff Glazer. We think the Kaiser would have agreed. For full details visit www.madbeerweek.com Then, set forth to conquer!

“Give me a woman who loves

World’s Largest Brat Fest – Madison May 22-24

Madison is cooking up some fun Memorial Day weekend and a whole lot of brats. At the World’s Largest Brat Fest, guests gather in the heart of downtown Madison to enjoy brats, live music, and even more brats. But this festival isn’t all about the delicious cooking. The annual event raises money to benefit more than 100 local charities that help staff the event. Chow down while listening to free live music or play a little “Bratteyball,” the fest’s version of volleyball. 608-236-2031; www.bratfest.com

MAY 29 -31 KOHLER 7 th ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF BEER

Celebrate the history of brewing with beer fans and breweries from around the country on May 29-31, at Destination Kohler. The Village of Kohler comes alive with festive bands, food pairing events, tastings, a beer run, home brew competition, and flowing taps at the Midwest’s premiere beer festival. The new-to- market brews headlining this year’s festival include: Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits Company (San Diego, Calif.), Deschutes Brewery (Portland, Ore.), Seattle Cider Company (Seattle, Wash.), Une Annee Brewery (Chicago, Ill.) and UINTA Brewery (Salt Lake City, Utah). Celebrated fest favorites include presenting sponsor Shock Top (St. Louis, Mo.), Goose Island (Chicago, Ill.), Hinterland (Green Bay, Wis.), Leinenkugel’s (Chippewa Falls, Wis.), New Glarus Brewing Co. (New Glarus, Wis.) and Sheboygan County’s own 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. (Sheboygan, Wis.) A complete list of breweries is available online at www.DestinationKohler.com/beerfestival. On Friday evening the sun will go down as the tunes crank up at Hops at the Shops ($42), a new al fresco pub crawl-style event, on the Lakeside Patio at The Shops at Woodlake Kohler from 8-10:30pm. This year Cheers to Beers ticket holders can add on the V.I.P. (Very Important Pours) Beers and Cheese Event ($24) to get exclusive tastings of high-end and limited-availability brews hosted at the Kohler Design Center from 7-8pm on Saturday. Signature events include the Lobster Boil ($55) at The Wisconsin Room, Beer Pairings Dinner ($123) at Forbes Four Star Immigrant, the Kohler Beer Run (early registration $39.40/$49.40) hosted by Shock Top Brewing Co. and Race Day Events, Beer and Bloodies Tasting Event (a la carte pricing) at the Shock Top Beer Garden, Beer & Chocolate Pairing ($26) at Craverie Chocolatier Café, Shorts and Chefs ($45) on the Lakeside Patio at The Shops at Woodlake, Cheers to Beers ($75) at the Kohler Design Center, a farm-to-table inspired Beer Lovers Brunch ($36) at The Wisconsin Room and Home Brew Competition ($28). Festgoers and the general public can toast the Kohler Festival of Beer at the all-day outdoor Shock Top Beer Garden on Saturday from 10am to 8pm sampling a variety of seasonal brews. A list of events is available online at www.DestinationKohler.com/beerfest. Tickets are available at www.KohleratHome.com or by calling 1-800-344-2838 with prices starting at $26. Complimentary tastings and experiences are scheduled throughout the weekend. TheKohler Festival of Beer Weekend offers hotel packages that include accommodations for two nights on May 29-31, and tickets to most tastings & events. PH (855) 444- 2838 or www.DestinationKohler.com

LOVIN’ THE WATER SPORTS

LOVIN’ THE WATER SPORTS MAY 23 Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day – Spooner
MAY 23 Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day – Spooner

MAY 23 Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day Spooner

With 15,000 lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, Wisconsin can certainly be called “canoe country!” So, of course, Wisconsin has an official “Canoe Heritage Day.” To make a splash on the date, exhibitors travel from across the state and region to Spooner and The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum. Join them and hundreds of paddle lovers to see canoes and wooded watercraft in all shapes and sizes. It’s Wisconsin, so expect some tasty craft brews, delicious food and swingin’ live music. PH:715-635-2479; www.wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org

IT’S A SPORT IN WISCONSIN!

 

MAY-JUNE The PICKERS ARE COMING THE PICKERS ARE COMING

!

(Info based on a report by Maureen Wallenfang in the Post Crescent April 17)

America’s most famous junk hubters - "American Pickers" Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are headed to Wisconsin in the first two weeks of June. Some people they’ve contacted say they're ready to poke around interesting collections anywhere in the state. Coming from Iowa, they cross the country searching for rusty treasure, antiques and artifacts to buy and then resell in Wolfe's American Archeology. shops. They “film” the searches for the hit show "American Pickers " which runs on the History channel (new episodes at 8 p.m. Wednesdays.) Wallenfang reports that “ A producer specified the pickers only want to see large, private collections. They don't go to stores, flea markets, auctions or any businesses open to the public.” Here’s the full list http://algomachamber.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/AP-Flyer.pdf Of course in Wisconsin they’d love to find Houdini items, vintage sports collectibles and taxidermy. They do not buy farming or agricultural items, tools or glassware. If you think your junk is special, it might be worth a call 1-855-OLD-RUST or email americanpickers@cineflix.com. Include your name, phone number and description of your collection.

MAY 1 -3 Pickers Delight! 100 Miles of Great River Road Garage Sale-ing MN and WI

- You may find

Mark Twain’s notebook, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s lantern, rare Red Wing pots, an Ice shanty, a hockey stick or underwear left by some Grumpy Old Man. You never know what will fall out of the attics or get pulled out of an old trunk on “The 100 Mile Garage Sale!” This once-a-year event brings pickers and bargain hunters from all over the USA to follow the Mississippi River and the beautiful Great River Road to 15 towns - from Fountain City, Wisconsin north to Prescott then over the river to Hastings, Minnesota and south down to Winona. Thousands of individuals and businesses participate. There are no complete maps showing all sales, but they’re easy to spot: look for signs, pink balloons or ribbons. Serious hunters start early and continue through Sunday, May 3. The sale runs, rain or shine with most hours set 8am-5pm. PH:715-594- 3555 or visit www.100milegaragesale.org For some listings http://www.100milegaragesale.org/garage-

sales/

And hey - Happy bargaining!

MAY 9 -- Watch Motorsports Mayhem Richland Center

If you’re looking for fast-moving motorsports action, you’ve found the motherlode! This family-friendly frenzied fest May 9 will have everything from the Richland Ridge Runners “Loud Pipes” contest and snowmobile grass drag races to tractor pulls and a wild madcap “Twisted Metal Demolition Derby.” Loud Pipes contest at 9AM is open to Snowmobiles, ATV and motorcycles. You don’t have to be a racer to enter this noisy competition at 9AM. (Call Jim Anderson 608-604-0957) There’s a zip line and bounce house for kids and helicopter rides are available. You can even meet the “grillologists” and backyard gourmet enthusiasts Mad Dog and Merrill, who will be producing their nationally-syndicated TV show, “Midwest Grill’n” live. Admission is $10, 12 and under free. Camping is available nearby and a shuttle will serve area motels. PH: 608-604-5068; www.hybridredneck.com

May 24 & July 11 Lawn Mower Races Fifield

Breathes there a homeowner on a lawnmower with soul so dead that he or she hath never said, “I wonder how fast this baby could go with a few more horsepower?” Well, in Fifield, Wisconsin, they act on those musings and then some! They love their lawns, but they love the breeze in their face even more. Each year the town proves its quirky nature and fun spirit by hosting Lawn Mower Races. Just as you’d imagine, drivers race their lawn mowers (yes, blades removed!) around a 1/6-mile oval dirt track in a fast-paced competition that share DNA with Indianapoplis Motor Speedway. This event is so popular it now has two summer dates. The Town of Fifield, Wisconsin is located at the intersections of Hwys 13 & 70 in Price County and is a gateway community via scenic State Highway 70 through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The Forest covers 100 square miles of the 152 square mile Township of Fifield. 715-762- 4739; www.tn.fifield.wi.gov

LOOKING AHEAD - JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH!

LOOKING AHEAD - JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH!

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival Little Chute June 5-7, 2015

LOOKING AHEAD - JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH! Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival – Little Chute June 5-7,

Fest-goers can get their fix with a cheese curd eating contest, competitive cook off with a cheesy secret ingredient and a big cheese parade. Check out celebrity guest grillers and TV personalities Mad Dog and Merrill who are sure to be cooking up something cheese-licious!920-788-7380; www.littlechutewi.org

31st Annual Sparta Butterfest Sparta June 11-14, 2015

Drawing thousands of people statewide,

Sparta Butterfest celebrates Sparta’s heritage as historic award-winning butter makers. Activities like milking contests, butter making demonstrations and the always popular Butterfest parade, there is no shortage of family fun during this four-day festival.608-269-4123; www.spartabutterfest.com

Beer, Bacon & Cheese New Glarus June 13, 2015

Stroll through downtown New Glarus for the annual

Beer, Bacon & Cheese festival. Pick up an event wristband and enjoy unlimited sampling of craft beer, specialty meats and artisan cheeses. Save room for nspired foods like bacon jam burgers, beer cheese soup, cheese pie with bacon, and fudge with bacon. 800-527-6838; www.swisstown.com

FARM BREAKFASTS May & June

A Wisconsin Dairy Month tradition – these family friendly breakfasts are a good way to “meet your (dairy) maker!” – Enjoy a delicious breakfast on the farm and meet the people (and some of the animals) that bring the food to market. Here’s a list of more than 30 events statewide, May to the end of June.

AND WISCONSIN LAND OF THE FREE

 

JUNE 6-7 FREE ADMISSION TO STATE PARKS & FREE FISHING WEEKEND

4-Pack of Fun WeekendStatewide June 6-7, 2015

 

Enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family at Free Fun Weekend, when all admission stickers to Wisconsin State Parks are waived both Saturday and Sunday. Grab your hiking boots and explore one of Wisconsin’s 42 breathtaking state trails, including the 50th anniversary of Elroy- Sparta State Trail. Pack your pole for free fishing statewide without a trout stamp or license, or bust out your ATV and enjoy free access to public trails throughout the weekend without a trail pass.608-266-2621; http://dnr.wi.gov

JUNE 6-7 Carp Fest and Wisconsin Carp Fishing Championship Two Rivers

Join world-class carp anglers in “Carp Town,” aka Two Rivers, for Carp Fest and the Wisconsin Carp Fishing Championship. Not only do competitors of this catch and release tournament get a chance to be a Wisconsin State Carp Champion, but they compete for a spot on Team USA in the World Carp Championship. Watch from the shoreline as anglers reel in this year’s biggest catch or enjoy live music, food and plenty of family-friendly activities.920-973-0761; www.trba.info

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FREE TRAVEL GUIDES:

WISCONSIN DEPT. OF TOURISM- Free: 800-432-8747 (TRIP)

http://www.travelwisconsin.com

FREE GUIDES: “Activity Guide” Campground Directory, Lodging Directory, Highway Map, Golf, Birding, Attractions

OTHERS IN WISCONSIN: (all free)

Calumet County Guide 920-849-1442 www.travelcalumet.com Chippewa County Travel Guide 866-723-0331 www.ChippewaCounty.com Door County Visitors Guide 800-527-3529 http://www.doorcounty.com/web/contact.asp Fox Cities Area Guide 800-223-6667 www.foxcities.org Grant County Travel Guide 608-348-8888 www.Platteville.com Green Bay Visitor’s Guide – 888-867-3342 www.GreenBay.com Green County Travel Guide 888-222-9111 www.GreenCounty.com Kenosha Area Visitors Guide 800-654-7309 www.KenoshaCVB.com Kewaunee County Guide 800-290-4299 www.VisitKewauneeCounty.com Madison Area Visitor Guide 800-373-6376 http://www.visitmadison.com Mineral Point Travel Guide 888-764-6894 www.MineralPoint.com

Minocqua Area Destination Guide 800-44-NORTH www.minocqua.org Racine Real Racine Guide - 800-272-2463 www.realracine.com Sauk Prairie Visitors Packet 800- 683-2453 http://www.saukprairie.com/visitorspacket.html St. Croix Valley & Polk County Guides (ask Sue for both) 800-222-7655 www.VisitrSCF.com Superior & Douglas Country Travel Guide - 800-942-5313 www.VisitSuperior.com OTHERS NEIGHBORING STATES, REGIONAL, ETC Chicago Office of Tourism: Free Guide & App - http://www.choosechicago.com Illinois Travel http://www.enjoyillinois.com/brochures/ Iowa Tourism http://www.traveliowa.com/ 888.472.6035 or 515.725.3084 Lake Michigan Circle Tour and Lighthouse Map 1-800-442-2084 or at www.WMTA.org

Lanesboro, Minnesota Visitor Guide

Michigan http://www.michigan.org/ Minnesota Tourism Travel Counselors at explore@state.mn.us, or 1-888-TOURISM (1-888-868-7476). Minnesota Mississippi Valley Bluff Country (on-line) http://www.ExploreMississippiBluffs.com Mississippi Valley Partners (WI-MN) www.mississippi-river.org 1-888-999-2619 Red Wing, Minnesota www.redwing.org 1-651-385-5934 800-498-3444 Wabasha-Kellogg, Minnesota www.wabashamn.org 1-800-565-4158 West Michigan Travel Guide - 616-245-2217 www.wmta.org/publications-24/ Winona, Minnesota Visitor Guide (800) 657-4972 www.VisitWinona.com BEFORE YOU GO: Avoid disappointment. Always check for schedule changes before heading to events. For more events- four good sources: www.WisTravel.com, www.Wisconline.com, www.TravelWisconsin.com or http://hwy23events.wordpress.com

800-657-4972