November 16, 2018 – November 18, 2018
The annual – the 75th annual, actually – Holiday Folk Fair International is “America’s Premier Cultural Festival,” exploring the customs and traditions of the world’s diverse cultures. They all come together at the Expo Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis. Check out regional cuisine, enjoy lively music and dance and purchase beautifully handcrafted goods. Experience the sights sounds and tastes of the world during this 3-day event from Friday, November 16th through Sunday the 18th!
Check out their All Nations Theater, which features traditional music and dance from around the world. Enjoy traditional dishes at the World Cafe. Talented world musicians play at the Coffee House, where you can enjoy a beverage while listening to these different genres. Explore Heritage Lane, filled with unique traditions and customs through interactive exhibits. Shop the International Bazaar, where cultural artifacts are on display and on sale. And the Chef Stage features local chefs preparing traditional cuisines from around the world right before your eyes.
See their website for the full lineup on food, music, and more. Watch for additional specials, too!
You can easily get to the Expo Center at State Fair Park (the Zoo Interchange construction is getting closer to done!) via I-94 and Highways 59 and 181, with U.S. 18/Bluemound Road, Highway 100, and I-41/U.S. 45 close by. To reach State Fair Park from I-94 eastbound – the 84th Street/Highway 181 exit is now right in the midst of the newly reconstructed Zoo Interchange, just follow the signs. Easy peasy.
Holiday Folk Fair Hours:
Friday, November 16th: 2pm – 9pm
Saturday, November 17th: 10am – 9pm
Sunday, November 18th: 10am – 6pm
Holiday Folk Fair Admission:
$10 in advance, $12 at the gate
Senior Citizens (62+) and Children (6-12): $10 at the gate
Military Personnel and Children 5 and under get FREE admission
You can buy tickets online here.
Holiday Folk Fair International Address:
November 23, 2018 – December 29, 2018
The WPS Garden of Lights brings the magic to the Green Bay Botanical Garden for the 22nd year on weekends from November 23rd 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 24 | 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 23 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.
November 24, 2018 – November 25, 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 6, 2018 – December 8, 2018
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 Thursday, December 6th through Sunday, December 8th!
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! 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||2018-12-06||7:20 pm||7:30 – 7:55 pm||8:00 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Milwaukee||433 West St. Paul Avenue, Amtrak Depot||2018-12-06||8:35 pm||8:45 – 9:15 pm||9:20 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Wauwatosa||Harwood Ave Crossing||2018-12-07||4:15 pm||4:30 – 5:00 pm||5:05 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Hartland||Level crossing at Cottonwood Avenue||2018-12-07||5:45 pm||6:00 – 6:30 pm||6:35 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Oconomowoc||South Main Street Railway Crossing||2018-12-07||6:50 pm||6:55 – 7:25 pm||7:30 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Watertown||Brandt Quirt Park parking lot||2018-12-07||7:55 pm||8:00 – 8:30 pm||8:35 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Columbus||Amtrak Depot||2018-12-07||9:05 pm||9:15 – 9:45 pm||9:50 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Portage||400 West Oneida Street, Amtrak Station||2018-12-08||1:15 pm||1:30 – 2:00 pm||2:10 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Wisconsin Dells||100 La Crosse Street, Amtrak Depot||2018-12-08||2:45 pm||3:00 – 3:30 pm||3:40 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Mauston||Division Street railway crossing||2018-12-08||4:15 pm||4:25 – 4:55 pm||5:00 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Tomah||205 North Superior Avenue, Amtrak Depot||2018-12-08||5:30 pm||5:35 – 6:05 pm||6:10 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|Sparta||Corner of South Water Street and Milwaukee Street||2018-12-08||6:40 pm||7:00 – 7:30 pm||7:40 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
|La Crosse||Amtrak Station, 601 Saint Andrew Street||2018-12-08||8:45 pm||9:00 – 9:30 pm||9:45 pm||The Trews & Willy Porter|
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
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:
January 19, 2019
The 10th annual Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest brings a ton of brewers and cheesemakers from around Wisconsin and adjoining states to Madison, where you can meet and mingle with them while sampling hundreds of varieties. This is quite the warm, happy, and fun celebration right in the midst of winter.
The Isthmus is celebrating 10 Years of the Beer & Cheese Fest, and “still crushing it,” and they celebrate their Aluminum Anniversary with more breweries and cheesemakers than ever! Piano Fondue Dueling Pianos will perform and take requests; Silent Disco will also be there providing entertainment.
General admission tickets ($50) grant festival entry from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and include unlimited sampling and an Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest tasting glass. “Premium Tickets” ($85) allow for a more intimate atmosphere with early access to exclusive tappings & tastings from noon – 2 p.m. Premium Ticket purchases also include an official Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest t-shirt, a tasting glass, and a meal from their Food Court Cart inside the Alliant Energy Center. Either way, it’s a great afternoon experiencing some of Wisconsin’s best eats and drinks.
Tickets tend to sell out every year, so if you want to go, score them sooner rather than later. Of course, you must be 21 to attend. Shuttle rides are available from HopCat (222 W. Gorham Street), Great Dane’s Hilldale location (357 Price Place), and One Barrel Brewing Company (2001 Atwood Avenue.) Parking for the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall is accessible through the Main Gate and costs $7. A coat check (it’ll be January) will be available for $2. You can purchase tickets online here.
You’ll find the Alliant Energy Center on Madison’s south side, right off the Beltline (U.S. 12 & U.S. 18) near Rimrock Road and John Nolen Drive. U.S. 14, 51, and 151 and Highways 30 and 113 are all nearby.
Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest Address:
January 26, 2019 – February 3, 2019
Lake Geneva celebrates winter like no other place. Winterfest is a brouhaha of shopping, dining, music, magic, refreshments, and activities including thrilling helicopter rides over the town and lake. It’s capped off, of course, by the amazing designs and creativity of the U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition – right along the lake at the Riviera – where fifteen teams of the most talented snow sculptors and artists from around the country gather to compete for a national title. The entire competition is open to the public, so Winterfest attendees can actually watch the artists at work!
Of course, there’s a lot more to Winterfest. Check out the Human Dog Sled Race, the Abominable Snow Race, magic shows, helicopter rides, a chili cook-off, and incredible deals at local hotels and restaurants throughout the downtown and surrounding areas!
Winterfest activities focus on downtown Lake Geneva, which lies right along Highway 50. U.S. 12 and Highway 120 are close to the east and Highway 67 is a few miles to the west near Delavan. It’s easy to get to – and a total blast!
Lake Geneva Winterfest & U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition Address:
Downtown Lake Geneva/Riviera Park
201 Wrigley Drive
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
February 1, 2019 – February 2, 2019
The Snowflake Ski Jump Tournament brings in international competition for ski jumpers to Westby in Vernon County. Held Friday night and Saturday, February 1-2, 2019, competitors from five countries will compete on the Olympic-sized hill. Entertainment, food, and live music will also be part of the festivities both nights at the Snowflake Rod & Gun Club adjacent to the hill.
Thursday, January 31st
Hospitality Night: Rod & Gun in Timber Coulee: 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Friday, February 1st
Kick-off breakfast at Borgen’s Cafe: 7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Opening Ceremonies: 7:00 p.m.
Competition: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 2nd
Opening Ceremonies: 12:00 p.m.
Competition: 12:30 p.m.
Long standing jump and awards ceremony will follow competition.
Snowflake Ski Jump Tournament Address:
Snowflake Ski & Golf Course
E7940 County Road P
Westby, WI 54667
February 16, 2019
The Northwoods Blizzard Blast is a “flurry of winter fun for everyone” in Conover, between Eagle River and Land O’Lakes along Highway 32 & U.S. 45 in the heart of the North Woods! Activities in Conover Community Park include ice bowling, the Dogsled Dash, recliner racing, sledding, face painting, fireworks, horse drawn sleigh rides, snow carving, snowshoe baseball, and an Artisan Bazaar in the adjacent Conover Community Center.
The Blizzard Blast Bazaar hosts numerous artisans and exhibitors with hand-crafted items, talents on display, food and beverages, and more. Admission is free for the Bazaar all day.
All of this activity is in Vilas County north of Eagle River. Follow U.S. 45 & Highway 32 north from Eagle River, past where Highway 17 veers off for its ride to Phelps. Conover is about 15 minutes north of Eagle River, and Land O’Lakes (plus the source of the Wisconsin River in Lac Vieax Desert) is just north of Conover.
Northwoods Blizzard Blast Addresses:
Conover Community Park
4697 Park Circle, just off U.S. 45/Hwy 32
Conover, WI 54519
Blizzard Blast Schedule of Events in Conover (subject to updates and changes):
Wed-Sat SNOW SCULPTING COMPETITION -$100 prize! $25 (team)
9am-4pm ARTISAN BAZAAR Free
9am-4pm FACE PAINTING Varies
10am-4pm HORSE DRAWN SCENIC RIDES $2-$5
10:15am X-COUNTRY FUN SKI & TRAIL TOUR $10
10am-4pm SLAP SHOT HOCKEY-Shot on goal, win a prize! $1
10am-4pm ICE BOWLING-Bowl at strike, win a prize! $1
10am-4pm WINTER CARNIVAL GAMES FOR KIDS $1 each
10am-4pm PONY RIDES $2
10am-4pm YOUTH ARCHERY DEMO Free
10am-4pm SNOW ART FUN FOR KIDS Free
10am-4pm SNOWBOARD DEMO & INSTRUCTION Free
10am-2pm SNOWSHOE BASEBALL GAMES Free
10pm-4pm SNOWSHOE DEMO BY HIKER BOX Free
12pm-3pm KID’S DOGSLED DASH-win a Musher’s Medal $2
10am-2:30 RECLINER RACE QUALIFYING LAPS $1
3pm RECLINER RACE FINALS-$100 prize! (register by 2:30pm) $20 (team of 3)
4 pm TROPHY PRESENTATION Free
Sandwiches, S’mores, snacks, soda & beer are available all day.
Toasty bonfires and heated restrooms are located throughout the park.
February 22, 2019 – March 3, 2019
The 14th annual Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) runs from February 22 – March 3, 2019! Run in conjunction with Beloit College, the BIFF draws thousands upon thousands of film lovers, and writers and directors from around the world for viewing, workshops, and more. The “International” in the title isn’t just for show, after all.
The Beloit International Film Festival celebrates the power of independent film from around the globe. Local residents and visitors from across the nation fill venues ranging in size from 40 to 400 seats to view more than 100 films and meet scores of filmmakers who come from throughout the U.S. and around the world. This unique festival continues to grow and has caught national attention with the New York Times calling BIFF, “a festival with a unique goal of returning the spirit of film festivals’ golden era, when guests talked film all night with directors and writers who were on hand and available for questions.” The New York Times also listed the festival as a unique alternative to other big international film festivals such as Sundance and Tribeca.
For tickets, you can also use their (by their own words) Unwieldy Uber Ticket page. Venues include Bushel & Peck’s, Domenicos, the Hendricks Arts Center, La Casa Grande, Bagels & More, Schubert’s Luxury 10 Theater, even Beloit Memorial High School for some of the short films for kids.
Getting to Beloit is easy! Just follow I-43 from Milwaukee, I-90 from Madison or Janesville, or Highway 81 from Monroe and points west. Highway 213 also brings you in from points northwest. Then just follow the roads to the Rock River and the downtown area. Guide signs will help you find the way downtown. And be sure to check out all the amazing new developments in downtown Beloit and throughout the area!
Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) Address:
Various locations in Beloit, mostly downtown
Beloit, WI 53511