Wisconsin Weekend: The Birkie, Eagles, Films, Ice Castles and Caves, Car Shows, Fishing Shows and Battles, and more!

Winter’s been pretty pushy this February and this coming weekend is the final one of the month! We have plenty of snow for fun-filled things to see and do outside (after all, it’s Birkie Week!) and fun events and activities inside if you prefer a little more climate control. Check out these great things to do and see as you road trip across Wisconsin. Hit the road, explore the state, and enjoy!

Burn some calories along the many candlelight ski and snowshoe walks in plenty of parks across the state; observe and celebrate bald eagles along the Mississippi in Prairie du Chien; fish outside at the Battle on Bago or explore the sport inside in Madison; take in international films in Beloit or the latest new car and truck models in Milwaukee; explore ice castles in Lake Geneva, ice caves in the Kickapoo Valley, or even partake in some turkey bowling in the North Woods. The options are many!

And with all the snow we’ve been having, we’re generally looking at excellent conditions for skiing, snowboarding, or even tubing at Nordic Mountain in Mt. Morris (on the newly-covered Highway 152), Little Switzerland in Slinger, Granite Peak at Rib Mountain over Wausau, Devil’s Head near Merrimac, Tyrol Basin outside Mount Horeb, Wilmot Mountain along the Wisconsin-Illinois line near Twin Lakes, and elsewhere around the state. There’s always a LOT to do… Here are some State Trunk Tour event picks as you explore this weekend. Pick Some Roads and GO!!:

Hayward to Cable: The American Birkebeiner

US Highway 63 and the Birkie

The “Birkie” dates back to 1973, when 35 determined skiers gathered on the starting line for the American Birkebeiner. This weekend, the main event of the Slumberland American Birkebeiner Cross-Country Ski Event, North America’s largest and most prestigious X-C ski marathon. 12,000 skiers of all ages, genders and nationalities participate in the 51K Birkebeiner, the 24K Kortelopet, Prince Haakon 13K, the children’s Barnebirkie, Junior Birkie, Elite Sprints, and Family Fun Ski. The Barkebirkie in Hayward, where people line the streets, big-time. Other fun events include the Barkie Birkie Skijor and Giant Ski Competition (six people on one pair of skis. What-what?? It’s a busy time in Hayward and along U.S. 63 to Cable, but definitely a fun time, too! More….

Beloit: Beloit International Film Festival

Beloit International Film Festival

The 14th annual Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) starts Friday and runs through March 3! The BIFF draws thousands upon thousands of film lovers, and writers and directors from around the world for viewing, workshops, and more, all celebrating the power of independent film from around the globe. Check out over 100 films in venues ranging in size from 40 to 400 seats and meet scores of filmmakers who come from throughout the U.S. and around the world. The New York Times has listed the festival as a unique alternative to other big international film festivals such as Sundance and Tribeca. I-39/90, I-43, U.S. 51, and Highways 81 and 213 all bring you to Beloit, which is weaving quite the comeback story right now! More…

Prairie du Chien: Bald Eagle Appreciation Days

Wisconsin Weekend: Bald Eagle Watching Days

Prairie du Chien hosts Bald Eagle Appreciation Days at Hoffman Hall in the city and at locales around town Friday and Saturday, February 22-23. You can view eagles along the beautiful Great River Road (Highway 35) and up and down the Mississippi River flyway around Prairie du Chien, check out live Bald Eagle and raptor programs, educational exhibits and displays, birding experts on hand, outdoor viewing of Bald Eagles through spotting scopes, life-size Bald Eagle nest, craft activities for children and more. Across the river, Effigy Mounds Winter Film Festival will also be going on that weekend and the Villa Louis on Prairie du Chien’s St. Feriole Island will be open for tours. Stop and get some tasty fish and other morsels at Valley Fish & Cheese right where Highway 27 starts in the downtown area, too! U.S. 18 and Highways 27, 35, and 60 all bring you to Prairie du Chien. More…

Milwaukee: 2019 Greater Milwaukee International Car & Truck Show

Greater Milwaukee Auto Show banner

Check out the newest models of car, trucks, and while admiring the finest classics at the Greater Milwaukee Auto Show, now called the 2019 Greater Milwaukee International Car & Truck Show! The auto industry showcases the new cars of the 21st century at this annual family event at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, right along U.S. 18 where Highway 145 ends along 6th Street at Wells. Over 400 vehicles will be on display; you can take at least 30 of them for test drives. While there, check out the Bennett Coachworks Showcase, featuring the hottest antique and custom vehicles in Milwaukee. The Rod Hot Showcase will be available the second weekend, March 1-3, with plenty of hot rods on display. The ADAMM Showcase will feature classic convertibles and stunning art cars. Kids can enjoy the Test Track, which runs Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Friday. You can also enjoy mini-golf on their Tricky Trails Golf Links, or even Zipline over the auto show floor! More…

West Allis: World of Wheels

World of Wheels in West Allis

Check out Milwaukee’s largest indoor custom classics show Friday through Sunday, featuring America’s finest Hot Rods, Customs, Trucks, and Motorcycles. On the World of Wheels Celebrity Stage, you can meet WWE Superstar Becky Lynch, NASCAR racer Tony Stewart, John Schneider (yes, Bo Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard) and Horny Mike from Kount’s Customs. There’s also a Pin-up Girl Contest and the Pinstripe Legends Charity Auction benefiting Children’s Hospital. It all happens at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center at the corner of Highways 59 & 181 (84th & Greenfield) in West Allis, just south of I-94 and U.S. 18 and east of I-41/I-894/U.S. 45 and Highway 100More…



Madison: Wisconsin Fishing Expo

Wisconsin Fishing Expo logo

The Wisconsin Fishing Expo arrives at Exhibition Hall in Madison’s Alliant Energy Center Friday through Sunday with over 125,000 square feet of exhibits! The Expo continues to expand with kayaks and other silent watercraft and more options for fishing- and hunting-related wildlife art and goods. Interact with mom-and-pop fishing vendors with gear that anglers can’t find at box stores and find out more from leading national brands in the fishing industry. Over 20 boat brands will have representatives there, and plenty of youth activities will keep the kids busy and happy, from mock fishing to minnow races and a casting competition. It’s all at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center, easily accessed via the Beltline (U.S. 12/18) off John Nolen Drive (Exit 263) or Rimrock Road (Exit 262). U.S. 14 & 151 are close by. You can also come through downtown via U.S. 151 and follow John Nolen Drive down the causeway.  With portions of Lake Monona on either side of that drive, you’ll definitely be in a fishing mood when you arrive! More…

Oshkosh: Battle On Bago

Battle on Bago is the Midwest’s largest ice fishing tournament and the family and fishing event of the year! The 12th annual Battle on Bago (winter version, there’s a summer one in June) takes place on Lake Winnebago Friday and Saturday. There’s a Friday Fish Fry on the ice – weather permitting – with live music. Saturday’s Ice Fishing Tournament features over $275,000 in cash and prizes! Contestants will be allowed to ice fish Lake Winnebago and the Upper River Lakes: Lake Poygan, Lake Winneconne, and Lake Butte des Morts. Along with fishing, check out the heated tent and enjoy a great fish fry and other food from 5-10pm, plus live music from 7:30pm-11pm Friday night. The Raffle will be held on Saturday at 5pm. FREE Admission to all non-fishing events! I-41, U.S. 45, and Highways 21, 26, 44, 76, and 91 all bring you to Oshkosh for the fun. More…

Racine: Home Expo

Racine Home Expo

The 35th Annual Racine Home Expo show runs Friday through Sunday and features home improvement company products and services in Racine and surrounding counties around southeastern Wisconsin. Check out home interiors, energy saving features, landscaping, home improvement seminars, prizes and explore hundreds of exhibits of the best in home remodeling products and services, for indoors and out! Meet the experts, shop and compare, see the latest in products, styles and colors. Festival Hall is right in the downtown area of Racine, off Main Street near the Harbor. Highways 20 & 32 run within a block, Highway 38 arrives just a few blocks north, and Highway 11 brings you to Racine from points west. Downtown Racine is about 10 minutes east of I-41/94. You can also check out Monument Square, the Racine Art Museum within a few blocks, great shopping and restaurants (we love the Kewpee burgers!), the Racine Brewing Company tap room, and much more! More…

Lake Geneva: Ice Castles Wisconsin

Ice Castles Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is beautiful and fun enough already, but with the Ice Castles on the beach this winter it gets even better!

Six days a week until the weather says otherwise (and it’s been plenty cold lately!), the massive ice castles compound can be explored and enjoyed by the whole family. One of the most unique and amazing facts about the Ice Castles is that they are literally built by hand. They grow more than 5,000 icicles each day that they harvest and sculpt together.

These Ice Castles create life-size winter playgrounds, with illuminated inside the castles at night with color-changing LED lights that twinkle to music. You can explore ice-carved tunnels, fountains, slides, frozen thrones, and towering ice formations. This is truly something to dazzle the entire family.

This mega-complex of ice is right on Riveria Beach in downtown Lake Geneva, right along Wrigley Drive. Conditions are continuously updated on their Facebook page. U.S. 12 and Highways 50 and 120 bring you to Lake Geneva – these are definitely worth the drive! More…

Check out the State Trunk Tour on Wisconsin Public Radio!
Several weeks ago, State Trunk Tour founder Eric Paulsen got to talk with host Rob Ferrett on the “Central Time” show on Wisconsin Public Radio. They discussed what the State Trunk Tour is all about and took live calls – a lot of people definitely like and appreciate good Wisconsin road trips and exploring this fascinating state of ours! Hear the interview in our latest State Trunk Tour Podcast or on your iHeartRadio app, or here:

More for your Wisconsin Weekend

There are MANY more events to check out on this Wisconsin Weekend. Explore history, enjoy parks, experience shops, bars, and restaurants, and have FUN! In true State Trunk Tour fashion, Pick Some Roads and GO!!!



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The State Trunk Tour Logo for Wisconsin highways and great trips

Wisconsin highways, road trips, attractions, quirks… just what IS the State Trunk Tour?

The State Trunk Tour is all about Wisconsin highways, drives, road trips and celebrating the fun of the Badger State by selecting state highways and riding them end to end, reporting everything along the way.

Wisconsin’s state highways – the first system of numbered highways in the world (first done in 1917 – which means 2017 marked its 100th anniversary!) – connect all sorts of points of interest, attractions, cities, towns, recreation trails, scenic byways, lakes, rivers, bridges, historical sites, geographic markers, taverns, antique shops… you get the idea.

Hear our discussion about State Trunk Tour on Wisconsin Public Radio!

Wisconsin truly is one of the most fun and unique states in the country. We’re in the smack dab in the middle of the northern and western hemispheres. We have plenty of “world’s largest” entries: the musky, the corkscrew, a talking cow, an indoor water park, a six-pack, and a can of chili are just some of them. Wisconsin also claims a number of “world’s firsts” and inventions including the snowmobile, malted milk, the hamburger, hydroelectric power, outboard motor, rail-to-trail, and a bunch more.

We have two Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, and beautiful drives along all of them. Dynamic cities like Milwaukee and Madison offer incredible options for things to do. Vacation hot spots like Wisconsin Dells, Lake Geneva, Door County, Minocqua, Eagle River, and Hayward draw people from all over the country. Quaint, relaxing towns like Ephraim, Shullsburg, Hudson, Bayfield, Princeton, Green Lake, Oconomowoc and more offer great boutique shopping and plenty of charm.

Follow one of our Wisconsin highways end-to-end – or in sections – and enjoy everything along the way. Sample Featured Routes below or pick your own from the State Trunk Tours menu. We’ll help guide you, provide fun history, insight, and trivia, and welcome your feedback and additions as we continue to build our web and mobile sites. We’re on a new platform, adding and updating more routes, attractions, photos, points of interest and more constantly, so check back often. Updates will be sent out via Facebook and Twitter, of course!




"Coast to Coast covering Circuses, Canoes, and Coulees (and more)"

State “Trunk” Highway 33 is a "coast-to-coast" state highway, connecting La Crosse on the Mississippi with Port Washington's scenic harbor on Lake Michigan. From the big blue waters of the Great Lake to the beautiful coulees framing La Crosse, you encounter hairpin turns in what seems like a mountain range, Baraboo's famous Circus Museum, ski slopes of Cascade Mountain, the natural wetlands of Horicon Marsh, and some of the best canoeing in the nation along the Kickapoo. It's a great cross-section of southern Wisconsin....

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Highway 17 in Phelps on a State Trunk Tour

"Angling up through Snowmobile Country and the North Woods"

STH-017"Angling up through Snowmobile Country and the North Woods"

WisMap17Quickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 17...

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Mt. Morris Mill sign

"Highway 152: Seven Miles from the Christmas Tree Capital of the World to Mount Morris' Nordic Mountain"

Wisconsin Highway 152 is a brief State Trunk Tour route that runs from Wautoma (which bills itself as the "Christmas Tree Capital of the World" to the tiny town of Mount Morris, which hosts camps, forests, and the Nordic Mountain Ski Area. On this brief connector route you can enjoy some nice scenery, a 19th century dam and mill, and some nice topography amidst this glaciated area of central Wisconsin....

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Highway 27 between Rising Sun and Fairview

"Whipping up and down Western Wisconsin"

State “Trunk” Highway 27 runs for almost 300 miles, from the wilderness of Brule River State Forest fifteen miles from the Lake Superior shore, through a slew of rural towns, up, down and around western Wisconsin's rugged landscape, all the way to the banks of the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien blocks short of the Iowa border. Scenery, serenity and small-town charm abound on this route from top to bottom....

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Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report

Real Racine Events Guide 2019
Visit Port Washington
Visit Marshfield via State Trunk Tour
GO Chippewa Falls