"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 :)
Many places in the Madison area are decorating their establishments with lights for their patrons to see them at night. It is a fundraiser idea that has been getting more popular over the years. The Henry Vilas Zoo jumped on the bandwagon this year with their first Zoo Lights event. We went on the first night while it was still warm outside.
This event was well attended for its first night, the weather helped too. Madison radio station Z104 was also there that night. Many animal lights too of course, very cute!
See all the displays in our video!
The Vilas staff and volunteers did an awesome job in their inaugural year of this great new event. We look forward to seeing what they will do next year!
We have not been here for awhile, our last visit was in 2011. The Waunakee Rotary Club works hard to put up this fine display every year. As you pass under the lighted archway, they hand you a booklet full of recipes and a candy cane and thanks you for stopping by. They appreciate your donation to support the club and pay for the lights to put up next year.
This year with our new mini-video camera we made a video of our drive through the park.
We also got closeups of the displays too. It was larger than 5 years ago.
They outdid themselves this year, we plan on returning next year!
It was our last chance to see Candy Cane Lane, it ran only between Nov. 27-Dec. 27. It’s actually a rather area of highly decorated houses on 96th to 92nd Ave in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee. This event is also a fundraiser for the MACC Fund. We just saw a small area, as it was raining out.
You can tell the area by tree marked to look like candy canes.
Let’s go see some of the houses! The rain made a pretty reflection of the Christmas lights on the street.
This one was cute, the snowman was singing in synch to music.
The view down the street, many cars after dark.
And a biking Santa!
Near this location were volunteer collecting money for the MACC Fund.
We had a great time here and it will be back the day after Thanksgiving next year.
For many years we have been wanting to see the Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens for their BIG Holiday Light Show. We arrived by 3:18 to get a parking spot, we know the lot would fill up fast. Thankfully, the weather was warm. The price for adults is $5, children age 3 and up.
The gardens have a sculpture dedicated to World Peace near the entry.
It was now 4:00, time to go in. The crowd was quite thick by this point and we were near the front of the line. Beautiful tree inside, one of their “selfie stops”. There were many scattered throughout the walk, in the video is a picture frame stop.
The first attraction was inside the building, a model train display.
Also music by local musicians. We listened for a bit before dark before going out to see the lights.
It’s time! This is the biggest light show that I know of in Wisconsin with 370,000 lights. Our jaws dropped. We began the walk at 4:26 PM and didn’t get back to the beginning until 6:07 PM. The luminaries lighting the edge of the path are 1/2 gallon milk jugs, very creative! It’s a 20-acre garden, and lights of all colors were everywhere! We got back to our starting point just 15 minutes before the rain began!
The beginning of our walk with the last remaining light fading from the sky.
Some photo highlights of the garden.
Look back towards bridge.
The photo does not do this justice, this view was especially breathtaking.
Also a Santa House, Santa was an animated figure (see video).
For your viewing pleasure, join us on our walk through this amazing garden of light.
Be sure to check out the gift shop to get the perfect gift.
We had an amazing evening here and hope you get the chance to see this great event for yourself.
After two years, we have returned to the ever-popular Holiday Fantasy in Lights. The displays are never set up the same each year, and I notices ones I saw in the past were not there this time. See the 2013 Holiday Fantasy in Lights here. The electricians have regrouped under a new name, “The Electric Group” and changed their opening display accordingly.
The event also has a low-power radio station on 1610 AM playing Christmas music and info about the displays and sponsors. I found you could hear the station from almost 10 miles away under the right conditions.
Tonight was the opening night and Madison Parks was sponsoring hayrides for visitors. There were two wagons constantly traversing the park, a popular attraction this weekend only!
It was a warm evening of 48°F, so the walk through the park was comfortable. Lets go see the displays, some of them new this year in our new video with the radio station’s soundtrack. It is almost 15 minutes.
To learn more about the history of the lights, see the 2013 version.
That was fun! The Memory Tree blinks and flashes to a definite rhythm. Tune into 88.1 FM to hear what song the tree is in synch with. It changes every week. This week its “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee. people can sponsor a bulb to remember a loved one who has passed on before the holidays. Fill out form here.
Companies are not the only ones allowed to sponsor a display, you can too!
The Polar Bear and Rocking Horse are among the oldest displays, going back to the beginning.
As you reach the end of the tour, you reach the donation booths. Donations not required but are gratefully accepted. Put your donation in the red box and the friendly volunteer at the booth will hand you a candy cane and thank you for coming.