"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 :)
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.
Our last visit to Woodstock was for Groundhog Day in 2015, we looked forward to another great celebration! We arrived the night before, a beautiful clear evening with no snow on the ground. Two years ago we had a big snowstorm on Feb 1. After an easy ride down, we stopped for dinner at the Tip Top Cafe’, actually Taqueria La Placita Taco house.
The bright light in the window is the actual Tip Top sign in the Groundhog Day movie.
We sat in the same spot where Phil enjoyed that large breakfast in the movie.
Groundhog Day morning we headed to the Square (Gobbler’s Knob) to see the prognostication. The place was packed! We were entertained by Corky Siegel and Die Musikmeisters before the prediction. He predicted 6 more weeks of winter. We also sang Groundhog carols.
We were armed with a go pro-like camera mounted on a bike helmet to get over people’s heads and I took photos with my new Canon Rebel T6i camera. Watch it below!
Afterwards we headed to the Moose Lodge for the Groundhog Breakfast and entertainment. It was packed too, a sell-out crowd! We got treated to choral performances by the Woodstock High School Choir. Richard Henzel also reprised his clock radio voice from the movie.He also did it at the Prognostication, he does both voices now since his co-star has not returned in a long time.
I made a batch of groundhog cookies to contribute to the celebration and a cd for the Inner Square committee of GH Day 2006 when WGN came to cover the event. Watch it all below. The Groundhog picture is from the winner of the Woodstock Independent GH day poster contest. Cute!
After a wonderful breakfast, we joined the crowd for a Bob Hudgin’s-lead Groundhog Day Movie Walking Tour. Joining him was Rick Bellairs, our friend and one of the Inner Square Committee members. This tour was bittersweet as the Bob was going to retire from giving this tour after this year. Bob was in charge of organizing all of the places where the movie was going to be filmed. He had many anecdotes and told us about a couple of sites not on the guide. That was the tree the boy fell out of and the tunnel seen during the police chase after stealing the groundhog. He had been leading it since 2005 and it was time for someone else to pick up the mantle. Maybe Rick was his understudy too 🙂 I also recorded a video of this historic tour to share with all of you. Thanks Bob for keeping the movie alive 25 years later!
That was an incredible tour (and cold!) We headed to the Public House for lunch and toasted our sodas to World Peace.
We got some souvenirs at this delightful bookstore on the square, Read Between the Lynes. Their helpful staff can help you find the perfect gift or treat for yourself.
Our last stop was the Woodstock Public Library to see artifacts from the movie on display, my cookies were served there to the whole community, sweet!
Richard Henzel was there too, we chatted a bit and took a selfie too. Very nice man and a great conversationalist.
We had a perfect Groundhog Day in Woodstock, one we wish we could repeat.