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Williamson (Willy) Street in Madison-Formerly “Implement Row”


Willy Street Sign

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.

The Marquette Waterfront Festival -June

La Fete de Marquette – July

Orton Park Festival – August

 Willy Street Fair   – September

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.

Communitree on Willy St.

A new smaller tree is now in the Willy Street Park, installed in 2016 called “Enlightened Self-Interest.

In this building is Machinery Row Bicycles, a great store to service or buy a new bike.  Also Sardine fine dining.

Machinery Row Bicycles in Willy

Sardine restaurant

A little further and across the street is “Alexa”, another sculpture.

Alexa Sculpture and plaque on WIlly

At the former Madison Candy building is Ground Zero Coffee and the Eldorado Grill.

Join us on a visual tour of Willy Street as Al rode his bike down the street, describing the many businesses there. Also see the street at night, quite colorful!

To learn more about what Willy Street has to offer, visit these websites:

Visit Willy Street

Common Wealth Development

Willy Street Blog

Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center

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.

A corny mural.

Mother Fools Coffeehouse has a designated wall for permitted graffiti that changes at least monthly.

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.

One mural they have done in 2009 is “The History of Willy Street in the 70’s”.

The many small businesses on this street are part of the charm, also pleasing to the eye. Here are few of them.

Fat Pinky Glass

A favorite place during the Willy Street Fair, they make glass objects to a rapt audience while you watch.

Mad Cat Pet Supplies

A favorite place for cat toys at well as other other pets, they are a favorite in Madison. Also on Monroe Street at Knickerbocker Place and Mineral Point Rd.  This is the original.

At night, enjoy their custom neon in the window.

Nature’s Bakery Co-Op

Great bread and granola made here. It is employee-owned and supply many local grocery stores including the Willy Street Co-Op further down the street.

Another place making great bread as well as full meals is

Madison Sourdough

We enjoyed lunch there in 2016.

Enjoy upscale dining at:

A Pig in a Fur Coat

Willy Street Co-Op

Now open in three locations, this is the original, they first opened in 1974 and we ourselves are members. Get food free of GMO’s, gluten or other additives. We are members!

In the back is a straw-bale wall, built by the community. See it getting built below. And the finished wall, it has held up quite well in our harsh weather!

They sometimes have a cookout outside on a nice day, tied into supporting a local cause.

The performing arts are also represented on Willy Street by the

Broom Street Theater

It is hard to see since it is recessed behind the trees. I have seen a show there before, time for another one!

Crystal Corner Bar

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.

 Weary Traveler Freehouse

An always busy place, we need to stop here at some point.

Roman Candle Pizza

This is the original, opened in 2007, now in 6 locations total!

Have a broken clock or a watch needing a new battery? Visit Brumley’s Old Clock Shop. Be there on the hour to hear all the clocks chime!

On the subject of fixing things, you can get your clothes fixed/altered at:

Schwa Tailor Shop

Lazy Jane’s Café

A very popular place, we had breakfast here once.

Willalby’s Café

A relaxing, friendly place. We have eaten here a few times.

Next door is Ha Long Bay, serving up Thai and Vietemese food.

Batch Bakehouse

A large bakery where you can get a wide array of items. I love the mixer outside with the bowl filled with flowers in the summer, adding some beauty to the storefront.

Gayfeather Fabrics

Serving Willy St. since 1999, stop in for a wide selections of fabrics for your sewing needs. Located at 1521 Williamson.

Mickey’s Tavern

Willy St. ends with another castle-like building, complete with turret and flag on top.

Brew and Grow

Across the street from Mickey’s. Get hydroponic growing supplies here and home brewing equipment here.

If you would rather buy your alcohol, Star Liquor has a great selection.

This concludes our visit to this charming and friendly street in Madison.  We hope you had as much fun as we have!

Winterfest in Lake Geneva


2-4-17

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Rivera in Lake Geneva

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.  Winterfest crowd at Lake Geneva

View from the balcony.

View from Rivera balcony of Winterfest

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.

96-1-logo

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.

First Place

Team Wisconsin 2

1st-place at Winterfest

2nd Place – Team Wisconsin 1

2nd-place at Winterfest

3rd Place – Team Maine

3rd-place at Winterfest

Two activities were enjoyed by people on the lake as well. Snowmobile rides were given.

Snowmobile rides at Winterfest

Also helicopter rides by MF Helicopters, LLC.

mf-helicopters-llc-banner-at-winterfest

helicopter-ride-at-winterfest

Lake Geneva is a great place to visit in any season. Celebrate winter at Winterfest!

 

 

 

 

Belleville UFO Day


10-29-16

ufo-day-2016-information

flying-saucer-wm

The Belleville UFO Day is a great excuse for the community to put on their Halloween best and look like an alien.  This festival became a yearly event for the last 30 years after a UFO was spotted by police on January 21, 1987 at night. Read about it here.

Al covered the whole event since I had a prior commitment.  The day begins at 10 AM with a Color Run, an increasingly popular event at many festivals nowadays.

color-run-at-ufo-day

Color Run in Belleville

After the Color Run is  a great parade, a green alien is their mascot.  Al recorded the parade, enjoy!

The weather was warm and sunny so that really posted attendance. After the parade people went to Library Park where the festivities were held.

UFO Day at Library Park

Get your kettle corn at Kernel Sullivan’s!

Kernel Sullivan Kettle Corn in Belleville

The gazebo was even decorated for the occasion!

library-park-gazebo-in-belleville

So many great costumes too.  Thanks Al for all the great pictures and video. Hope we can go together next year (in costume!).

ufo-day-costumes