"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
Willy Street as it is known by the locals, is one of Madison’s most unique and fun neighborhoods.
This street has special meaning to me, since it is where my husband Al was living when we met in 1997. He lived here with his older brother, who is no longer with us, he passed in Sept. 2005. We sure miss him and he embodied the spirit of Willy St.
Joe and Al in May 2005, photo taken here.
They host a variety of festivals throughout the summer that we have enjoyed many times.
Central Park Sessions – August and September. Check for dates. It benefits 7 non-profits doing great work throughout the city of Madison.
Our favorite way to end the summer! Here is their parade from 2016.
We will start our tour at the top of the street, art is also a major fixture of this street and close by. The large metal tree in the median across from this sign called the Communitree. Created by metal artist Erica Koivunen and her husband, Blacksmith Aaron Howard, this tree fits right in this unique neighborhood.
A new smaller tree is now in the Willy Street Park, installed in 2016 called “Enlightened Self-Interest.
There is is a lot to cover about this fascinating street, the culture here is quite diverse and people welcoming and friendly. In many yards and windows I saw this sign, proving this. Also this sign on a fence.
They also care for our four-footed friends.
Willy Street supports a large array of small business and strongly objects to major chains there. The ironic thing, many of these businesses I profiled here now have multiple locations because they have been highly successful!
An example is the story of the Willy Street Park is legendary. A fast food chain wanted to put a restaurant there, but the residents of Willy St. protested this and as a result, the Willy Street Park was born. It is maintained by a group of volunteers, it is a beautiful place to rest and reflect year-round.
Artwork adorns the street on the sides of many buildings, neatly encapsulating the character of this neighborhood.
This isn’t on Willy but nearby on Paterson, still considered part of the street culture. Also imagined by metal artist Erica Koivunen and her husband, Blacksmith Aaron Howard. They are called, “Dream Keepers”.
Found on a sidewalk.
Also visit the Williamson Street Art Center. They offer art classes to the public. They have done murals all over southern Wisconsin for over 20 years.
This establishment was a favorite place for Al’s brother Joe to visit. Not just a bar, they also have great music groups come in to play as well. At night, the neon comes on in the glass-block windows is a beacon on the street.
The view is just as pretty inside.
We were there on Feb. 16 to play Jeopardy! with the crowd and this nice man told us about the first owner and it was his idea for all the neon lights. His name was Richard “Dick” Storey and he was a big UW supporter. He passed away 12-29-12.
Across the street from Mickey’s. Get hydroponic growing supplies here and home brewing equipment here. They closed in Madison in February of 2018. There are still four locations in Chicago, Bolingbrook, and Roselle, IL. Also Waukesha, WI.
If you would rather buy your alcohol, Star Liquor has a great selection. It closed 4-4-18.
This concludes our visit to this charming and friendly street in Madison. We hope you had as much fun as we have!
The snow is melting and thoughts are turning toward spring at Olbrich Botanical Gardens! The theme for the show is different every year, this year it was a kitchen theme. Many commented it was their best spring flower show ever!
The display window looked festive with a menu of treats.
A major contributor to the displays at this show was Deconstruction, Inc. A great use of reclaimed materials!
And now the main room where the show is. During your visit they have a card showing all the flowers featured in the show. Quite a variety!
The whole room view.
Now let’s see each display individually, all are creative! In the last couple of years Al has caught the photography bug too and his work is also featured here also.
To the left of the table…
Window to the Garden
Relax by the Fire
The “flame” inside the fire display is made up of neon flickering flame bulbs. Good effect, take a look!
Dinner is Served!
The table is made of wood cross sections instead of long boards. The chandelier is made of sticks and has a “vintage” light bulb inside.
Another table setting inside a pond, good for a hot summer day.
Relax at the Spring Flower show, soon it will look like this outdoors too!
It may be winter outside but inside it’s spring at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The turnout was high at this popular event. There even was musical accompaniment by the Collage saxophone Quartet. You can hire them to play at your venue!
The Conservatory was inviting with 80ºF temps inside.
Let’s go into the exhibition room, so beautiful!
Large display, so many varieties!
After enjoying these orchids, there was another room with vendors selling them too.
Not only orchids were for sale, also orchid themed mementos. Pictures by Charlotte Fung Miller, Chinese Brush Art.
It has been 5 years since our last visit to Lake Geneva, and Winterfest looked like a lot of fun! Events centered around The Rivera and the road going by the lakefront building. It was a cold, windy and sunny day and there was a large crowd.
View from the balcony.
Adding to the festive mood was music by Lake 96.1, a local radio station. We could hear it throughout the festival because of the speakers placed throughout the snow carving display area.
The snow sculptors were not just locals, they came from all points around the country and even other countries. Lake Geneva is home to the U.S. NATIONAL SNOW SCULPTING COMPETITION. Read more about this event in the official Guide. We were quite impressed with the quality of work.
Enjoy a slide show of the many sculptures that we saw, as well as the other activities.
They were all wonderful, but these were the winners.
Team Wisconsin 2
2nd Place – Team Wisconsin 1
3rd Place – Team Maine
Two activities were enjoyed by people on the lake as well. Snowmobile rides were given.
We also enjoyed lunch at the Paoli Brat and Bread Haus. We had the Chicken Pot Pie, very delicious! We enjoyed the music at The Hop Garden while we ate. The Cherry Pie A la Mode was wonderful too. Owner Cherri Bell makes everyone feel like an old friend upon meeting. Thanks for the great lunch in such a festive atmosphere!
Quite an enjoyable afternoon was had by all, we took a stroll up the street to check out other fall scenes. The Paoli House Inn had many pumpkin sculptures out front.
Gresham is a small close-knit Village of 586 located just northwest of Shawano. On our way home from our visit to Shawano we decided to have a quick lunch here. On the city limits we saw the Miles of Art sign, the event going on this weekend. See the MAP of where art is on display in Shawano County.
Delightful view downtown, their maroon clock sets the scene.
Lunchtime! We heard about this delightful place called Pa’s Ice Cream Shoppe and wanted to try it.
Their menu, how do you choose?
That dipped ice cream cone was amazing. Good thing it was a cool day!
After lunch we looked at some of the other businesses nearby. Shanti’s Art Studio near the clock is across from the ice cream shoppe.
With Halloween on the way, an old building becomes a haunted house called Panic Chambers Hotel. Looks scary!
Shawano really knows how to celebrate autumn with their family-friendly Octoberfest. We didn’t see the parade since we were in Keshena for dinner that night. We were there bright and early on October 1 and enjoyed some Polka music by Polka Dynamics.
Many crafters were selling cute autumn-themed decor too.
A favorite part of the festival were all the scarecrows and decorations on Main Street. Here are some of them!