Calendar of Events › Holiday
January 24, 2020 – February 9, 2020
The Lantern Festival at the Racine Zoo is a spectacular nighttime event, covering the zoo with incredible works of art! From tigers, lions, pandas, exotic flora, and a colossal dragon, Racine Zoo will be transformed into a world of illumination with custom-made lanterns. To top it off, an array of food and drink options will make the Lantern Festival a truly unforgettable event.
The Racine Zoo Lantern Festival continues in 2020 to run on weekends through February 9th.
Lantern Festival Hours:
Fridays – Sundays: 5pm – 8pm (Last entry 8pm. Zoo closes at 9pm.)
Ticket Prices: $5!!
Kids 2 and under are admitted free.
**Children 15 and younger need to be accompanied by a paying adult**. Also, note a $2.50 processing fee may be added if you pay with a credit card at the gate. But still, that’s a great deal!
Racine Zoo Lantern Festival Address:
2131 N. Main Street
Racine, WI 53402
December 31, 2019 – January 1, 2020
The Plymouth Arts Center, touting Plymouth as the “Cheese Capital of the World,” is doing its 12th annual Big Cheese Drop and New Year’s Eve party again this year, dropping (not cutting) the Cheese at 10pm instead of midnight to make it a family event! The Sartori Company is donating free cheese gift bags to the first 250 families in attendance so you’ll already be off to a delicious start.
Enjoy live music from Bella Musik & the Honeygoats, plus free hot cocoa at the bonfire that lights up around 8:30 pm in the Plymouth Arts Center Plaza. At 10 pm, witness the Sartori Big Cheese Drop as they lower a large wedge of cheese from a crane. The music then continues in the building until 2020, with a free champagne toast at midnight and a free Cheese appetizer table donated by the Sartori Company. Feel free to bring your noisemakers, hats and good cheer! Visitors are welcome to bring an appetizer or dessert to share, and a cash bar will be available.
This should make national news (again), since it’s been on the list for the top 10 things to do on New Year’s Eve for many years. All the details are on the Plymouth Arts Center website. While in downtown Plymouth, admire all the cool murals and decor along the historic downtown blocks, filled with great shops, restaurants, bars, and more.
Why is Plymouth the “Cheese Capital”? Well, it’s rooted in the fact that the price of cheese in the United States was designated at the Wisconsin Cheese Exchange in downtown Plymouth, beginning in 1918. The Cheese Exchange pricing and standards were the platform for cheese pricing until 1956. During these decades Plymouth became known as “Cheeseville” because of the cheese storage facilities, the processing of cheese and shipping of product throughout the country. Today, over 15% of the cheese consumed in the U.S. goes through the city.
Address for the Big Cheese Drop in Plymouth for New Year’s Eve:
Plymouth Arts Center
520 E. Mill Street
Plymouth, WI 53073
Back to StateTrunkTour.com
December 31, 2019 – January 1, 2020
Forget the “Big Apple” – go “Big Cherry”! The 3rd annual Door County Cherry Drop takes place this New Year’s Eve in Sister Bay to ring in 2020. This new event takes place after the 6th annual “In With a Bang!” New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show, the only major fireworks show on the Door Peninsula. And really, what better way to say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020 in Door County than by dropping a giant cherry up to the stroke of midnight?
Begin with the fireworks, scheduled for 8:00 pm on Tuesday, December 31, at the Sister Bay Marina along Highway 42. They’re promising the biggest finale ever for the fireworks this year – even though they say that every year. Before and after the fireworks show, check out the village restaurants and bars for their celebration menus and specials. The fireworks are sponsored by the Village of Sister Bay.
Top off your evening with the 3rd Annual Door County Cherry Drop, presented by one of our favorite Wisconsin radio stations, FM 106.9 The Lodge. Enjoy live music and libations at both Husby’s & Sister Bay Bowl, and then The Lodge will warm up the event with the biggest party tunes of all time starting at 10:30pm, broadcasting live from both Husby’s and The Sister Bay Bowl. Shortly before midnight, the giant sparkling cherry will drop in Sister Bay and welcome in 2020. You should too! The party continues for a while because, as you know, you have to keep it going for a while once a new year begins.
Find out more about the event in my State Trunk Tour podcast discussion with Jaime Forest from the Door County Radio Group! Listen on your free iHeartRadio app here or right on this page via Spreaker below:
You’ll find the festivities for the 6th annual In With A Bang! Fireworks show and the 3rd annual Door County Cherry Drop along Highway 42 in Sister Bay, where Highway 57 ends. You’ll probably want to stay overnight, so find lodging and other resources at ComeToSisterBay.com.
Door County Cherry Drop & In With a Bang! Fireworks Show Address:
December 26, 2019 – December 31, 2019
Carp Fest: New York drops a lit ball at New Years’ Eve; Prairie du Chien drops a carp!
Yes, Prairie du Chien drops a real carp on New Year’s Eve. The carp, caught in the Mississippi, is named “Lucky”, and then frozen until New Years’ Eve. Lucky is then adorned with makeup and lights and lowered via crane. As soon as they ring in the New Year, people can kiss Lucky for good luck.
How’s that for a New Years’ Eve fish story?
Prairie du Chien, always down for a good, expanded party, has taken the original New Year’s Eve “Droppin’ of the Carp” and expanded it to a multi-day event with a variety of activities, many of which are quite family-friendly. There’s a a bowling party on Friday, December 27th at the nearby Leisure Time Sports Bar, followed by a Euchre Contest on Monday, December 30th at Hoffman Hall.
The BIG party for Carp Fest is the New Year’s Eve party that takes place on the west edge of downtown Prairie du Chien on St. Feriole Island Park by the Mississippi River. It starts at 9pm and culminates with the “Droppin’ of the Carp” a little before midnight to ring in 2020!
A earlier version of the carp drop for children and families – featuring “Lucky Carp Jr.” – takes place indoors at Hoffman Hall (1600 Wacouta Street.) The Family “Droppin of the Carp” takes place New Year’s Eve from 5pm – 6:30pm at Hoffman Hall featuring Arts & Crafts, Face Painting, Miniature Dairy Goats, and Carnival Games. You can also meet the Carp King & Queen, meet Master Gardeners & Bixby The Rabbit, and Exotic Animals from Ridgetop Rescue. Of course they’ll have noisemakers and hats, plus Carp Corn, Pizza, and Hot Carp Chocolate (yes, we’re curious too…) for $1 each. This event is sponsored by Valley Fish & Cheese, a State Trunk Tour favorite located just east of the Mississippi River bridge where eastbound Highway 27 begins. Check out the shop, owned by “Sturgeon General” Mike Valley, and its incredible selection of fresh fish, meats, cheeses, uniquely Wisconsin items, and more!
Carp Fest Address:
St. Feriole Island
900 W. Blackhawk Avenue
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821
Back to StateTrunkTour.com
December 14, 2019
A Pinecrest Christmas brings holiday cheer to Pinecrest Historical Village, a beautiful and attractive 19th century village featuring actual historic – and generally relocated – original Manitowoc County buildings. A Pinecrest Christmas takes place Saturday, December 14th with a ton of events.
Help decorate the tree with the Sorenson family and participate in their holiday traditions. Head on over to the Print Shop to learn the art of printing while making your own holiday cards! In the Two Creeks Town Hall, enjoy decorating Christmas cookies and sipping hot cider during breaks from dancing to live music. While the kids visit Santa in the decorated Visitor Center, adults can shop for unique gifts in the Museum Store. Pinecrest Village is the perfect place to enjoy the simple traditions of the holiday season!
Kids can enlist in the American Junior Red Cross, print their own postcard, view the latest camera technology, and more! Check out the historic buildings too, from an original bank, tavern, and schoolhouse to a town hall – all originals from around Manitowoc County.
Pinecrest Historical Village will be trimmed for the holidays, and wood-fired stoves will beckon with the promise of warmth and good cheer. Be sure to meet their 20th-century Santa and his reindeer for your one-of-a-kind holiday photo from noon to 2 p.m.
Timed Performances for A Pinecrest Christmas, at Niles Church:
Lincoln Singers, Noon – 12:30 pm
Mishicot Soundwave, 1pm – 2pm
Baked goods, hot cider, and hot chocolate will be for sale, in support of youth education programs. The Museum Store will offer historically themed gifts for all ages.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children age 5 to 17, under age 5 is free
To get to Pinecrest Historical Village, follow County JJ west from I-43 and U.S. 10/Highway 42 (Waldo Drive) about six miles. Or follow County S to JJ north from US 151 just east of Valders. And of course, there’s plenty to explore in Manitowoc and Two Rivers, and throughout Manitowoc County any time of year!
Address for A Pinecrest Christmas:
Pinecrest Historical Village
924 Pinecrest Lane
Manitowoc, WI 54220
December 6, 2019 – December 22, 2019
The Timm House was built in 1873 as a Greek Revival “stick style” home for one of the founders of New Holstein, with an addition competed in 1892. This year’s Timm House Christmas offers a once in a lifetime chance to view a collection of “Oz” related items which have been collected by a local historic society member over a 45-year period. You won’t see this in Kansas, or anywhere else!
As in past Timm House Christmases, the first floor of the restored Victorian residence has undergone a holiday transformation. During the month of December each first floor room is decorated to depict an element of the famous children’s book series and hit 1939 movie that introduced us to the “Land of Oz.”
The 2019 tour theme is “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” celebrating the 80th anniversary of Robert Lewis May’s 1939 story which introduced Rudolph. 2019 is also the 70th anniversary of Gene Autry’s singing rendition of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” which was the #1 hit single record during the 1949 Christmas season.
The 2019 Timm House Christmas will feature all of the restored Victorian home’s downstairs rooms decorated with specific Rudolph artifacts and other Christmas decor related to the famous reindeer. Local musicians will also be on hand to play Christmas carols on the Timm family’s 1894 Steinway Box Grand piano. And, as always, there will be something tasty in the Timm House kitchen.
Dates for the self-guided Timm House Christmas tours continue on weekends in December: the 6th-8th, 13th-15th, and the 20th-22nd. Friday hours are 5 to 8 pm. Saturday and Sunday hours are from 11 am to 3 pm. Admission for ages 13 and over is $5.00, age six to 12 is $2.50 and five and under are admitted at no charge.
Admission for adults is $5, children 12 and under are $2.50.
A Timm House Christmas Address:
1600 Wisconsin Avenue
New Holstein, WI 53061
Note for outside of Christmastime: adjacent to the Timm House, the Pioneer Corner Museum is open on Saturday & Sunday, 1 – 4 pm from the first weekend in May through the final weekend of October. Admission is $7.00 for a single ticket to either the Timm House or Pioneer Corner Museum. A $10.00 combo ticket provides admission to both the TH and PCM. Admissions purchased with a combo ticket do not have to occur on the same day. Combo ticket for a child, 12 & under, is $5.00.
Special appointment tours are also available by calling (920) 898-5746.
December 2, 2019 – December 4, 2019
The annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will once again rumble through Wisconsin on part of its journey through the northern U.S. and Canada! Check out fun stops with beautiful lights and entertainment – the stops will take place along its CP route in Wisconsin from Monday, December 2nd through Wednesday, December 4th!
Here’s the train’s scheduled stops and duration through Wisconsin, from Sturtevant through the Milwaukee area and on to La Crosse, with plenty of stops in between! A big chance this year is there will be no stop in downtown Milwaukee; however, they did add a stop in Caledonia, in northern Racine County. Basically, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train follows the same route as the Amtrak train – but it will really catch your eye and fill you with holiday spirit. Enjoy!
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Schedule:
|Sturtevant||9900 East Exploration Ct., Amtrak Depot||2019-12-02||6:50 pm||7:00 – 7:30 pm||7:35 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Caledonia||County G & 5 1/2 Mile Road (Depot Tavern)||2019-12-02||8:00 pm||8:15 – 8:45 pm||8:50 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Wauwatosa||Harwood Ave Crossing||2019-12-03||4:00 pm||4:15 – 4:45 pm||4:50 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Hartland||Level crossing at Cottonwood Avenue||2019-12-03||5:30 pm||5:45 – 6:15 pm||6:20 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Oconomowoc||Silver Lake Street Railway Crossing, north side||2019-12-03||6:40 pm||6:45 – 7:15 pm||7:20 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Watertown||Brandt Quirt Park parking lot, adjacent to track||2019-12-03||7:50 pm||8:00 – 8:30 pm||8:35 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Columbus||Amtrak Depot||2019-12-03||9:05 pm||9:15 – 9:45 pm||9:50 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Portage||CP Yard adjacent to Averbeck Street||2019-12-04||1:00 pm||1:15 – 1:45 pm||1:50 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Wisconsin Dells||100 West La Crosse Street, Amtrak Depot||2019-12-04||2:30 pm||2:45 – 3:15 pm||3:20 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Mauston||Division Street railway crossing||2019-12-04||4:00 pm||4:15 – 4:45 pm||4:50 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Tomah||205 North Superior Avenue, Amtrak Depot||2019-12-04||5:25 pm||5:30 – 6:00 pm||6:05 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|Sparta||Corner of South Water Street and Milwaukee Street||2019-12-04||6:40 pm||7:00 – 7:30 pm||7:35 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
|La Crosse||Amtrak Station, 601 Saint Andrew Street||2019-12-04||8:45 pm||9:00 – 9:30 pm||9:35 pm||Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles, and Kelly Prescott|
Closest State Trunk Tour Highways to each stop (hint: Highway 16 hits basically of them from Hartland on west!):
Wauwatosa: Highway 181, US 18, I-41, I-94
November 29, 2019 – December 29, 2019
The WPS Garden of Lights brings the magic to the Green Bay Botanical Garden for the 23rd year on weekends from November 29th through Christmas Day and daily from there through December 29th. Check out more than 300,000 twinkling lights. Discover a spectacular array of botanical-themed light displays featuring an enchanted icicle forest, glistening flowers, a dazzling 60-foot walk-through caterpillar, and much more. The show is topped off with northeastern Wisconsin’s tallest and brightest shining tree. Enjoy this stunning winter landscape by foot or take a horse-drawn wagon ride.
- Explore a quarter of a million twinkling lights in botanical-themed light displays
- Whisper your holiday wishes in Santa’s ear
- Indulge in a tasty treat or beverage from the Winterberry Café (they don’t allow carry-ins)
- Enjoy a model train exhibit set up by the G-Gagers Train Club
- Warm up by the campfire
- Shop for holiday gifts in the WPS Trellis Gift Shop
- FREE parking in NWTC Lots F/G and shuttle ride to the Garden
You’ll find the WPS Garden of Lights inside Green Bay Botanical Garden along Larsen Road, just off Packerland Drive. It’s about a mile west of I-41, between Highway 54 and Highways 29/32. I-43, U.S. 141, and Highways 57 and 172 all bring you to Green Bay, too.
WPS Garden of Lights Address:
Green Bay Botanical Garden
2600 Larsen Road
Green Bay, WI 54303
Other Special Dates & Features:
Friday, November 29 | 5–9 pm
Children 12 & under in the same household receive FREE walking admission with one paid adult. Wagon rides are an additional $5 per person (child & adult). Discount available at the door the night of the event only. Special features include a meet and greet with Mrs. Claus, letters to Santa and Face Painting by Lori from 5:30-8 pm. Santa will be available for pictures from 5-9 pm.
Letters to Santa with Mrs. Claus & Elves
Friday, November 29 and Every Saturday before Christmas | 5:30–8 pm
Come inside and meet Mrs. Claus. Bring your letters to Santa or write one at the Garden to place in his North Pole Mailbox, then visit with two of Santa’s elves to receive a free candy cane.
Photos with Santa
Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday before Christmas | 5–9 pm
Santa is making his rounds to check-in on every boy and girl and has not forgotten about our visitors at the Garden! Be sure to stop by to see him and get your photo taken by Ambrosius Studio.
G-Gagers Train Club Display
Every Event Night | 5–9 pm
The G-Gagers Train Club displays their holiday model train exhibit each night of the event.
WPS Trellis Gift Shop
Every Event Night | 5–9 pm
Shop for holiday gifts, home décor, locally handcrafted art and unique gardening items. Visit the WPS Trellis Gift Shop for your holiday gift giving needs or get something special for yourself.
October 25, 2019 – October 26, 2019
Norskedalen hosts Ghoulees in the Coulees October 25th-26th, 2019, providing a fun, yet scary and haunting, experience for the whole family in this beautiful natural and cultural area near Coon Valley in southeastern La Crosse County.
At Ghoulees in the Coulees, you can take a half-mile walk through chilling and thrilling spook stations along one of their wooded trails lined by hundreds of carved, lit pumpkins. Once you navigate this, you’ll regain your wits and end up with a treat and hot apple cider at Bekkum Homestead, a historic homestead over 100 years old, illuminated only by the light of the moon and jack-‘o-lanterns.
Along with the hike, you can enjoy storytelling, fortune-telling, grabbing a snack around the roaring fireplace, and walking through the haunted barns and other buildings. While it can be fun for kids of all ages, you may want to plan earlier hikes while it’s still light out for the very young and “faint of heart.” Earlier hikes around 5-7pm, hikes are less scary (the spooks do not try to scare you, but may offer a high-five, handshake, or wave). Conversely, 7-10:30pm, hikes are SUPER SCARY. They mean it! Chilling ghost stories designed to give you goosebumps will also be told at the end of your hike, making regaining your wits tricky for some. Fortune tellers will also be there to peer into your future.
Norskedalen’s Ghoulees in the Coulees Haunted Hikes take place Friday and Saturday October 25th & 26th, with start times from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Tickets for the hikes are $10 per person, $15 after 10/22/18. Advance reservations are required.
You’ll find Norskedalen (which means “Norwegian Valley”) along County PI between Highway 162 and U.S. 14/61 just north of Coon Valley in southern La Crosse County. It’s a beautiful drive through the Driftess Area, right as the trees drop the rest of their colorful leaves.
Address for Ghoulees in the Coulees:
Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center
N455 O Ophus Road
Coon Valley, WI 54623
June 29, 2019
Live music includes headliners Hairball on the WIBA-FM Metro Family Rock Stage; the 96.3 STAR Country Stage features Lee Brice, Dylan Scott, and Dylan Schneider.
More entertainment line-ups will be announced soon, since it’s June already…
At dusk, Festival Foods presents the Shake the Lake fireworks display, which will take place over the lake but light up not only the water, but the shoreline, downtown, The Capitol, and more in one of the highest-rated fireworks displays in the Midwest.
Shake the Lake runs Saturday, June 29th along John Nolen Drive (U.S. 151) and the Lake Monona shoreline. It’s a quick drive from The Beltline (U.S. 12/14/18), and U.S. 51 or Highways 30 or 113 from the east side. While there, check out the beauty of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace, a crown jewel on the Madison skyline and a key stop along the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail!
Admission is free; there’s also the optional iHeartRadio Rooftop Party, providing a GREAT view of the fireworks, food stands, bars, and more activities for a $17 admission fee.
Shake The Lake Address:
1 John Nolen Drive
Madison, WI 53703
April 20, 2019
The Racine Zoo’s annual Eggstravaganza is 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20th at the zoo, right along Highway 32 north of downtown, along the beautiful Lake Michigan lakefront.
Children and parents are invited to have fun hunting for the six “cluck-cluck” doors, playing themed games, enjoying two bouncy houses, cookie decorating and crafts, as as well as up-close animal encounters with the Racine Zoo Animal Ambassadors. Of course, food and beverages will be available for purchase. The Easter Bunny will be on hand to pose for photos at an additional $5 charge.
This “hoppin’ event” will feature:
• A hunt for 6 cluck-cluck doors throughout the Zoo to collect candy
• A photo with our special guest…the Easter Bunny! (digital photo will be emailed to you)
• Bounce houses
• EGG-cellent games
• Fun crafts and yummy snacktivities
• Easter Egg and Cookie Decorating
• Egg Dig
• Hoppin’ Dance Party
• Trunk Hunt (“Easter Style” of Trunk-or-Treat)
EggStravaganza Admission Rates:
Zoo Members: FREE
Child 3-15: $6
Seniors 62 & Older: $7
2 & Younger: FREE
You’ll find the Racine Zoo, which is fun any time of year, just north of downtown Racine along Highway 32. Highways 11, 20, and 38 also bring you close. Nearby, you can enjoy North Beach and the shopping, restaurants, and fun to be had in downtown Racine including the Racine Art Museum and Monument Square. To the north, the Wind Point Lighthouse beckons for a beautiful look at history and Lake Michigan; and in various locales around town, you can explore Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture including the famous Johnson Wax Research Tower, Wingspan, and more. Kids might also love the historic fire station along 6th Street near City Hall and interactive exhibits at the Racine Historical Museum. All of the action is about 9-10 miles east of I-41/94; good north-south road trip alternates – if you want to avoid interstate construction zones – include U.S. 45 and Highway 31.
EggStravaganza Address (Racine Zoo)
2131 Main Street (Highway 32)
Racine, WI 53402
March 9, 2019
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Milwaukee winds through downtown from noon until about 1:30pm on Saturday, March 9th! It’s the 53rd Annual Shamrock Club of Wisconsin St. Patrick’s Day Parade with live Irish music, dance, food, beverages and more all afternoon. We’re pretty sure you can find corned beef, for example…
*** STT Tidbit: Milwaukee’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates back to 1843; it’s the 6th oldest such parade in the nation. **
Check out one of the best St Patrick’s Day Parades in the country and the grandest parade in Wisconsin. The Parade will feature 140+ units and includes local politicians and celebrities, floats, bagpipe and marching bands and Irish and Celtic organizations. It’s the perfect event for the whole family, because on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish!
Before the parade, there’s an 8:30am mass at St. Patrick’s Church at 723 W. Washington Street just south of downtown. After the parade, the Shamrock Club Post-Parade Party will take place at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center at 2133 W. Wisconsin Avenue, just west of downtown and the Marquette University campus. It’s Milwaukee’s Largest Family Parade Day Party and features four stages of entertainment. There’s a $2 admission fee ($10 family maximum) and children 10 and younger are free. There will be plenty of food and beverages too!
The parade itself starts at noon on 3rd and Wisconsin and finishes at Water and Highland. It will actually go over portions of U.S. 18 and Highway 32 in the city. I-43/94 and Highways 38, 57, 59, and 145 also bring you within blocks of the parade route.
The Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day Parade website has full details on all the events. It’s definitely a fun way to spend a Saturday and prepare for St. Patrick’s Day (and week, based on the timing of the parade!)
Milwaukee’s Largest Family Parade Day Party
Four stages of entertainment
$2 admission | children 10 & younger free
Family maximum cost is $10
Food & beverages
December 8, 2018 – December 9, 2018
East Troy’s classic electric railroad runs between East Troy and Mukwonago, once part of a much longer interurban line. You can enjoy train rides much of the year, but during the holidays the East Troy Christmas Train makes it extra festive.
The East Troy Christmas Train takes you from the East Troy Depot – which also holds a cool little train museum – to Santa’s workshop located at the Elegant Farmer just outside Mukwonago, pretty much on the Walworth-Waukesha County border along County ES… once the main road (as Highway 15) between Beloit and Milwaukee before I-43 was built. You’ll recognize the “smiley face” on the barn!
At the Elegant Farmer, long known for their great pie and bakery, children can visit Santa and get a photo, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, and more. The total experience lasts about two hours, including the rides back and forth and an hour at The Elegant Farmer. Boarding is only done at the East Troy Depot and they do recommend advance reservations. Find out more on reserving a space here.
Adult tickets run $18.50. Tickets for Children (3-14) are $16.00, Toddlers (2 and under) are $8.00. Children ages 3 and up receive a gift. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you bring a non-perishable food item with each member of your party, you’ll receive a 10% discount on tickets at the Depot. All donated items will benefit the East Troy Food Pantry. You can buy the tickets in advance at regular price and receive your discount when you arrive at the East Troy Depot with your donated items.
Tickets may be purchased online in advance, or at the Depot starting Saturday, November 24th on Saturdays and Sundays through December 16th. The Depot opens at 8:30am, last ride departs at 3pm.
East Troy Christmas Train rides depart at 9:00am, 1030am, Noon, 1:30pm, and 3pm. If you would prefer to purchase tickets over the phone, call (262) 642-3263; if no one answers, you can leave a message and they’ll return your call.
All of the details and advance ticket purchases can be made on their website.
You can get to the East Troy Depot via Highway 20 or Highway 120, just north I-43. It’s called Church Street just north of the historic town square.
Christmas Train rides run Saturday and Sunday, November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-9, and 15-16.
East Troy Christmas Train Address:
2002 Church Street
East Troy, WI 53120
December 7, 2018
Reedsburg’s downtown strip comes extra-alive Friday night, December 7th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm with Downtown Reedsburg Living Windows. Transforming the city into a center of Christmas spirit, the 9th annual Living Windows evening features store windows coming to life. This year’s theme: “All I Want for Christmas Is…”
As in years past, the evening’s festivities will include caroling by some of the local churches, refreshments, fire barrels to warm you, and horse-driven wagon rides. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Cornerstone Building to greet the children from 6:30pm-8pm. Say hi, get photos, and bring your Christmas wish list – hey, you never know!
Follow the luminaries to each participating business and enjoy a free family fun night celebrating the sights and sounds of Christmas. Make sure to pick up a brochure guide at the Cornerstone Building or other stops along the way so you don’t miss any of the activities.
Downtown Reedsburg Living Windows Address:
Main Street (Highways 23/33)
Reedsburg, WI 53959
December 7, 2018 – December 8, 2018
Baraboo’s Very Merry Holiday Fair brings together over sixty artisans, authors and purveyors of good things to eat. This festive holiday show celebrates it’s 10th year in the historic Baraboo Arts Banquet and Convention Center. The Artisan’s making the goods will tell you how each piece is created. Consider joining them for this Very Merry Event and other holiday happenings in downtown Baraboo, the seat of Sauk County.
A Very Merry Holiday Fair Hours:
Friday , December 7, 2018, Noon to 6:00 pm
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 9 am to 4 pm
FREE ADMISSION both days!
Friday, December 7, 2018
• Shop All Three Rooms
• 60 Artisans
• Holiday Shopping Bags for first 500 patrons
• Special gift drawing for first 100 patrons
• Wine and Dine in the Artisan Cafe
• Wine tasting
• Drawing for Gift Certificates
• Purchase “Mini Picassos” from Boys and Girls Club
Saturday, December 8, 2018
• Shop All Three Rooms
• 60 Artisans
• Shopping Bags for first 500 patrons and more
• Drawing for Gift Certificates
• Purchase “Mini Picasso’s” from Boys and Girls Club
• Wine tasting
• Wine and Dine in the Artisan Cafe
• Enjoy many Holiday events throughout Baraboo
Baraboo is right along U.S. 12 and Highway 33, where Highway 113 comes in. You can check out the Circus World Museum, the Al Ringling Theater, the Ochsner Park Zoo, and more. Of course, the beautiful Baraboo Hills are nearby, and Wisconsin Dells isn’t too far away!
A Very Merry Holiday Fair Address:
December 6, 2018 – December 30, 2018
The Janesville Holiday Light Show at Rotary Botanical Gardens is an annual holiday highlight in Janesville, the “City of Parks.” Follow the illuminated garden pathways on an evening stroll through the 20 acre botanical gardens, where the wintry garden paths are brought to life with 425,000 twinkling lights, 100 beautifully decorated trees, over 2,500 luminaries, 500 dangling icicle lights hung from the tallest trees in the Garden and more. Santa makes periodic stops (get the dates HERE), and they have other events like Silly Scarf Night, Holiday Sweater Night, and more.
Back by popular demand are the Selfie Stops & Photo Opps, with fun props and amazing backdrops that offer holiday photo opportunities both indoor and out. Step inside to enjoy a warm beverage as you watch the 200′ electric model train display, hand-sewn quilts, festive local musicians and holiday shopping.
This event repeats:
Dec 6, 2018 – Dec 9, 2018
Dec 13, 2018 – Dec 16, 2018
Dec 20, 2018 – Dec 23, 2018
Dec 27, 2018 – Dec 30, 2018
Admission is $5 for people age 3 and up, kids 2 and under are free.
Take advantage of their FREE shuttle service, beginning at 4:15pm each day of the show. By using the free shuttle service you can avoid traffic congestion on Palmer Drive and the hassle of searching for a parking spot. The shuttle picks up visitors at Dawson Field and drops them off at Rotary Botanical Gardens. The shuttle will run throughout the duration of the Holiday Light Show. Dawson Field is located minutes from Rotary Botanical Gardens, at 920 Beloit Ave, Janesville, Wisconsin, 53546.
Janesville Holiday Light Show at Rotary Botanical Gardens Address:
1455 Palmer Drive
Janesville, WI 53545
November 24, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Caledonia in northern Racine County features the Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights, hosted now through December 31st at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp Resort along Highway 38. The first Carnival of Lights took place in 2009 and it has grown in popularity every year since as more and more families experience the magic that the owners, the Isaacson family, have put together.
Every display at the Christmas Carnival of Lights is one-of-a-kind; all in all, it takes five weeks to set it all up. Each year you’ll find something new to see – and as it keeps growing, there are now over 1.5 million lights in the trees!
Relax in the comfort of your car as you wind your way through the campground,with lights on all sides and high above in the trees. Check out one-of-a-kind hand-crafted displays featuring elves, reindeer, forest friends, beloved children’s characters, Santa himself and more – it’s like stepping into one of your favorite Christmas movies.
Check out their “one horse open sleigh,” too… well, more than one horse. This one seats 43 guests in tiered and comfortable seating. Some nights you can even ride with the big jolly guy, Santa! Make reservations for the sleigh here.
Santa is in the workshop every Wednesday 6:00-8:30pm through December 23rd. Kids are invited to sit on his lap, have their photo taken and tell him what they hope to see under the tree on Christmas morning. Photos with Santa are $8 each.
Believers age 12 and under can write Santa a letter on the nights they cannot meet him in person and we’ll make sure he receives it. Santa then emails a personalized letter back to each child! (Deadline for receiving a response is December 20.)
Also new this year in Santas Workshop is “Evy the Evergreen”. Evy is a 7 foot tall, magical Christmas tree. He talks, leads friends in Christmas Carols and tells stories like “The Night Before Christmas”. Evy is available every night to visit with friends and spread Christmas cheer.
Enjoy a variety of beverages available at Santa’s Workshop, including hot chocolate, apple cider, lattes, mochas and more.
Admission is $20/car – up to 8 people per car. Larger passenger vans, campers, limos, and mini buses are $30; large buses or motorhomes are $35. They take cash only, but there is an ATM on site. The Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights will partner with the Ronald McDonald House Charities for the holiday season, donating $1 per car, up to 4,000 cars.
Sunday – Thursday: 5-9 pm
Friday – Saturday: 5-10 pm
Open every day except December 25, Christmas Day
Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights Address:
You’ll find Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park along Highway 38 in northern Racine County. It’s about three miles south of Highway 100, a little over two miles east and north from I-41/94, and three miles west of Highway 32.
November 16, 2018 – November 17, 2018
The Menomonie Fine Arts & Crafts Fair lets you enjoy the finest in arts and crafts shopping when original work takes center stage on all three floors of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts downtown. Treat yourself to Victorian holiday decorations, jubilant music, and the magic of the season!
The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts annual Fine Arts and Crafts Fair features the work of more than 30 local and regional artists and fine craftspersons. Their work includes jewelry, painting, pottery, photography, sculpture, woodwork and more.
The Menomonie Market Food Coop will provide victuals for your dining pleasure! (“Victuals”, huh? Somebody used a thesaurus!)
Menomonie Fine Arts & Crafts Fair Address:
Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts
205 Main Street East
Menomonie, WI 54751
November 16, 2018 – November 18, 2018
Kick off the holiday season early in Sturgeon Bay during the annual Christmas by the Bay event happening November 16-18. Enjoy live holiday music provided by Hervy Hodges, Josh Gregory, and Michael Raye beginning at 6pm on Friday, November 16 at Community Foundation Square (222 N. 3rd Ave.). At 7pm, Mayor Birmingham will lead the tree lighting ceremony countdown. Live music will be conclude at 8pm. From 6-8pm, free horse-drawn wagon rides will be available (sponsored by Door County Eye Associates and Sherry’s Hallmark Shop). The pick up location is Door County Eye Associates. During Friday evening’s festivities, stroll throughout Sturgeon Bay to enjoy several holiday open houses in stores for special deals, snacks, and beverages. Listen to the Sturgeon Bay High School City Rhythm Show Choir spread holiday cheer along Third Avenue Friday evening.
The fun continues Saturday, November 17 starting with the holiday parade at 10am. Line up along the streets of Sturgeon Bay and have a holly jolly good time cheering the floats pass by. Wave to Santa as he rides by on his sleigh. The holiday festivities continue 11am-2pm at the Door County Historical Museum where kids of all ages and families can get their picture taken with Santa. After getting your picture taken with Santa, hop on a Door County trolley (sponsored by Door County Medical Center) for a free ride around town or a horse-drawn wagon ride. Pick up location is at Door County Eye Associates.
The weekend comes to a close during breakfast with Santa at Stone Harbor Resort on Sunday, November 18 from 9-11am (for reservations please call 920-746-0700).
Sturgeon Bay is an easy ride along Highways 42 or 57 from the rest of Wisconsin. Check out all sights in town and as much of the rest of the Door Peninsula as possible when you go!
Christmas By the Bay Address in Sturgeon Bay:
107 N. First Avenue
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
November 15, 2018 – November 18, 2018
The La Crosse Center hosts the 55th Annual La Crosse Holiday Fair Thursday, November 15th – Sunday, November 18th, South Hall will be filled with over 130 arts and crafts exhibitors hailing from all over the Midwest.
The Holiday Fair is designed to be an enjoyable time for everyone. South Hall is decked out with a Christmas/Winter Theme and Holiday music will be playing throughout the hall. Santa and Rudolph will be there, and door prizes for lucky winners every hour.
Thursday, Friday: 12:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, Friday: 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m
Admission is $2.00 per adult; kids ages 12 and under are admitted free with an adult!
La Crosse Holiday Fair Address:
La Crosse Center
300 Harborview Plaza
La Crosse, WI 54601