Picture Your Kenosha by Meridith Jumisko

Picture Your Kenosha by Meridith Jumisko

Explore your town!

Meridith Jumisko is Public Relations Director of Visit Kenosha. Contact her at MJ@VisitKenosha.com
Visitkenosha.com

 

The Season for Free Concerts

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

How many communities do you know that offer not one or two – but SIX free outdoor concert series? If you love music … live concerts … the outdoors … the word “free” … keep reading and get your lawn chairs ready! Here’s your free summer concert series itinerary to plan your week accordingly!

Each Tuesday from July 5 through August 30, Tuesdays At The Shell happens at the Sesquicentennial Bandshell at Pennoyer Park. This year’s lineup includes: Jill Plaisted Band, Mitch the Lip and Side Hustle Band, The Roundabouts, Ronnie Nyles Band, Good Vibes, Vinyl Remix, Yesterday’s Children, Doo Wop Daddies, and Boys and Toys. Fun fact: the bandshell was donated by citizens and dedicated on July 4, 1988 in commemoration of the 150th year of settlement of the City of Kenosha (which was officially in 1985).

Twilight Jazz is the concert series that takes place along the Lake Michigan shore on the grounds of Anderson Arts Center. Upcoming concerts are July 12, July 26, August 9, and August 23. The musical artists are: Ivy Ford Band, Street Jaxson Band, Yesterday’s Children, and Dave Sturino & Friends.

Wednesdays are packed with concerts. The Kenosha Pops Concert Band is in the midst of its 100thanniversary season. They perform at the Sesquicentennial Bandshell each Wednesday through August 3 – as well as on the Fourth of July. Lincoln Park Live! happens at Lincoln Park on July 13, July 27, August 10, and August 24. Watch for more details online.

Also on Wednesdays, Lakeside Lounge happens on the northeast corner of Kemper Center’s grounds on the lakefront (north of the Twilight Jazz location). Upcoming dates are July 20 (Ludlow Group performs), August 17 (Karma Shotgun), and September 7 (Jill Plaisted Group).

Veterans Memorial Park is the setting for Peanut Butter & Jam on Thursdays, July 7 through August 25. Please keep in mind, the afternoon show is a sneak preview when select members of the band perform an acoustic show. The full bands take the stage for the evening shows. This year’s lineup includes: Lil’Ed and the Blues Imperials, Libido Funk Circus, Classical Blast, South of Disorder, Scott Duboise & the 101 Ranch, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, Jonny Lyons & the Pride, and 7th Heaven.

And that’s not all! Bristol Woodstock happens on Thursdays at Bristol Woods Park in Bristol. The season has already started and continues through August 18. Upcoming acts include: JiMarth, Donnell Reed, Jesse Tyler Frewerd and Canary Canyon, The StanDard Jazz Project, Sam Rodewald, Sweet Sheiks, Micah Olsan, and Indigo Canyon. (While at this park, enjoy a hike or the ropes courses and axe throwing at Boundless Adventures!)

Also enjoy live music at Kenosha Public Market and Kenosha HarborMarket on Saturdays. It’s totally free to enjoy the music and browse the vendors’ offerings. Both markets are outdoors through October.

Access all the details for these concerts at VisitKenosha.com/FreeConcerts. Find music festivals, car shows, food and beverage events, and much more on our Visit Kenosha Events Calendar: VisitKenosha.com/Events. Be sure to use our website VisitKenosha.com – including our 2022 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide, FUN 101 list, blog, itineraries, and more – as a resource when looking for #KenoshaFun.

Planning a vacation in Wisconsin this summer? Stop at our I-94 Visitor Information Center / Wisconsin Welcome Center at I-94 and Highway 165 for local information, as well as brochures and guides for destinations throughout Wisconsin. This time of year, we staff the center seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. Event information is subject to weather and other changes.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Hosting Family This Summer

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Are you hosting out-of-town family or friends this summer? Let us assist! To begin, book them a hotel room! That way they’ll have their own space and you’ll have your own space! You can find a hotel at Visitkenosha.com/Stay. Next: what should you do with them? Maybe you are new to the area yourself and aren’t sure what the must-see stops are. Or you’ve lived here all your life and don’t know where to start!

At VisitKenosha.com, we feature a blog, a trip ideas and itineraries section, our digital Kenosha Area Visitors Guide (also available in print format), and our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for Under $10 – Many are FREE! that can help you plan your own fun-filled itinerary. Basically, our entire website is full of ideas! There is one itinerary in particular that I am referencing here: First Timer vs Old Pro. If your guests are visiting Kenosha for the first time, here are some must-see places to take them:

Lake Michigan! With nearly 90 percent of our Lake Michigan shoreline being publicly accessible, you won’t want to miss seeing this Great Lake. Climb aboard one of our Electric Streetcars to cruise the lakefront in style.

Also stop at the Kenosha Public Museum. The main exhibit, The Wisconsin Story, will introduce you to how our community was formed by glacial migration, the first inhabitants, and how our Schaefer and Hebior Mammoths are rewriting history books! If you have time, visit The Civil War Museum next door. The 360-degree film “Seeing The Elephant” is incredible!

Bring your guests to our Saturday farmers markets. Kenosha HarborMarket has been a staple in the area for two decades. Kenosha Public Market in Downtown Kenosha is the newest market addition. Both offer fresh produce, baked goods, local meats and cheeses, and more – year-round on Saturdays.

If your guests are adventurous, explore the area from the treetops at Boundless Adventures. If your guests are here on a Saturday or Sunday, between July 9 and Labor Day, spend a day at the Bristol Renaissance Faire! One of the most immersive experiences in the Kenosha Area is the Ren Faire. Grab a turkey leg, curtsey to the Queen, and prepare for a lot of 16th Century merriment.

If this isn’t their first visit to Kenosha – or if they are going to be in town for more than a few days – here are more #KenoshaFun ideas for you:

Take your Kenosha sightseeing to new heights. Climb the 72 steps to the top of the Southport Lighthouse for amazing views of Lake Michigan, Downtown Kenosha, and even the Chicago skyline on a clear day. While at this museum, go 300 more feet to the Kenosha History Center, and learn about Kenosha’s automotive history.

If you’ve explored Lake Michigan from land, it’s time for you to get your sea legs! Book a charter fishing outing with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association. You’ll learn a lot about Lake Michigan’s fishing history, the ecosystems in the lake, and how to catch, clean, and cook Lake Trout, Coho Salmon, and more.

Another way to get out on the water is aboard a standup paddle board, kayak, or duck-themed pedal boat at the Kenosha Community Sailing Center. Rentals are available through the summer. Root for the home team at a Kenosha Kingfish baseball game. Explore western Kenosha County a bit by catching an auto race at Wilmot Raceway.

Have fun with your guests and Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! Use our website at VisitKenosha.com as a resource. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Outdoor Dining Season

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Let’s be honest. You can do many things in Wisconsin during the winter months – but outdoor dining usually isn’t one of them. While there is the occasional restaurant with heated gazebos, true outdoor dining season – when all the tables and chairs come out – starts when the weather turns warmer!

More than 80% of the restaurants we work with offer outdoor seating of some sort – whether meals are served outdoors or there’s the simple option for you to carry your drink and/or meal outside! Here’s a small sampling of places with outdoor seating:

Two rooftop bars offer fabulous views of Downtown and Lake Michigan! The Apis Hotel & Restaurant has a full bar on its roof with an extensive list of wines, draft and bottled/canned beers including many local selections, a full range of spirits, a full cocktail menu, and a small food menu. The Crow’s Nest is on top of The Stella Hotel & Ballroom with signature craft cocktails, a light food and snacks menu, daily specials like Happy Hour, and live entertainment on select dates.

You’ll be right next to the water at these venues: The Lakeside Deck at Wyndham Garden – Kenosha Harborside features live music, food, and drinks. Sit on the huge deck at Harborside Common Grounds as you enjoy your morning coffee and watch the boats come and go. The KYC Bar & Grille has The Island Deck alongside the harbor with live music on select days.

Ashling on the Lough features a harborside patio and views of Southport Marina, perfect for a Saturday morning Bloody Mary. Further north, drinks are served on the patio beside Lake Michigan at HobNob. Enjoy a Brandy Old Fashioned at this supper club!

Meanwhile, Boat House Pub & Eatery has outdoor and indoor seating that overlooks Simmons Island Marina. At The Coffee Pot, you can dine outside in ‘The Garden of Eatin’ and feel the Lake Michigan breeze among fresh flowers, veggies, and lush palm trees. Not far away from there is Villa D’ Carlo Restaurant, with a seasonal patio area complete with a sidewalk garden.

Enjoy the outdoor dining terrace – which is a three seasons room – at Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar. Johnny’z Pour House offers backyard games and seating during the summer months. Kenosha Brewing Co. is known to throw parties on their patio with live music. Brat Stop has an outdoor beer garden, as well.

Tenuta’s Delicatessen and Liquors has their outdoor grill featuring Tenuta’s homemade Italian sausage and much more. The list goes on for who has sidewalk, street, parking lot, or backyard seating. Learn more about the places with outdoor seating at: VisitKenosha.com/OutdoorDine.

Do you like your outdoor dining in a festival setting? Mark your calendar for these food & beverage festivals: The Pop-up Biergarten and Food Truck Rally at HarborPark is June 16-18. Taste of Wisconsin is July 28-30.The Sweet Corn Fest at Jerry Smith Farm is Aug 13-14. Cheese-A-Palooza is September 3 at the harbor. Great Lakes Brew Fest is September 10 at HarborPark. Kemper Center hosts its popular Oktoberfest on September 24.

And that’s not all! Bristol Renaissance Faire opens July 9 with a menu that offers way more than those famous – and delicious – turkey legs. Kenosha HarborMarket and Kenosha Public Market are open each Saturday – and feature some prepared foods with international flavors.  Access the Visit Kenosha Events Calendar at VisitKenosha.com/Events.

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! Use our website at VisitKenosha.com as a resource when looking for locally owned restaurants and shops as well as attractions, recreation opportunities, events, and hotels. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

(This article first appeared in the 6/2/22 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Summer event season is here! Yes, I realize it’s not yet astronomical summer – or even meteorological summer. However, at Visit Kenosha we consider the Wisconsin Marathon (which was May 7) as the kickoff to summer event season! Here is list of upcoming events to add to your calendar. This is just a sampling and does not even include all the outdoor concerts!

Wilmot Raceway hosts the Monster Truck Throwdown May 21-22 – and auto races most Saturday nights. The Tuesday Night Bike Races at the Washington Park Velodrome start May 24. On May 27, Classic Car Cruise-in Nights start at the Kenosha History Center. This happens on the last Friday evening through September.

The Kenosha Kingfish baseball team’s season opener is on May 30 at historic Simmons Field. The Outta Sight Kite Flight is June 4-5 at Kennedy Park. Free fishing weekend is also June 4-5; no fishing license or trout/salmon stamps are required in Wisconsin. Calling all boaters: the Blessing of the Fleet is June 5 at the Kenosha Yacht Club. June 5 is also The Good Old Summertime Art Fair at Civic Center Park.

Babies on the Farm occurs June 11-12 and June 18-19 at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm. A new event happens June 16-18 at HarborPark Celebration Place: a Pop-up Biergarten and Food Truck Rally. The Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast is at Elfering Farms on June 18. A Father’s Day Car Show is at Baker Park on June 19. The Kenosha Art Market happens on the third Sunday of the month, June through October, at Union Park.

July 3 is a day full of fun: the Firecracker 5K, 10K, 1 Mile – presented by the Kenosha YMCA – happens in Downtown Kenosha. It’s also the day of the Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade, which has the theme “America the Beautiful”. Celebrate America takes place July 3-4 at the lakefront, featuring fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Bristol Progress Days is July 8-10. Be part of the Bristol Renaissance Faire’s 35th anniversary celebration; the new season opens July 9. Kenosha’s Secret Garden Walk is July 9. Country Thunder Music Festival brings country artists to Twin Lakes July 21-24.

The Kenosha Homecoming Car Show is July 26-31. Automobile manufacturing took place in Kenosha for more than 100 years – and that legacy is celebrated during this event. A series of events will take place at various locations. The big car show/swap meet is on July 30 at Kennedy Park. There were close to 1,000 cars on display in 2017, when the show was last held. It’s believed that there is no larger AMC show in the world. The Kenosha History Center organizes this event.

Taste of Wisconsin kicks off Thursday, July 28 and continues through Saturday, July 30. The event features specialty food and beverage vendors, live music, and more. The Peacetree Music Festival is August 5-6 at the Sesquicentennial Bandshell at Pennoyer Park, while the Tribute Island Music Festival is August 5-7 at the Wyndham Garden – Kenosha Harborside.

Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm hosts Sweet Corn Fest on August 13-14, while the Kenosha County Fair is August 17-21. On August 20, Picnic in the Park occurs at Petrifying Springs Park and the HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival happens on the lakefront. The Kenosha Classic Cruise-In fills Downtown Kenosha with classic cars on September 3.

Go to our Visit Kenosha Events Calendar at VisitKenosha.com/Events for details on these events and more. Be sure to check the calendar often; we continue to add events as the information becomes available. All information is subject to change. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Tourism Week Free Days

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Sunday, May 1 through Saturday, May 7, is National Travel and Tourism Week. It’s an annual celebration of the U.S. travel industry’s contributions. Tourism plays a significant role in our community. It provides jobs, lowers personal taxes, improves our local economy, and provides a positive community image, which is critical for economic development.

We encourage you to Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local during this week – and all year round! The same things that visitors love about our community, residents love as well. We thank you for your loyalty in supporting our small, independent, locally owned shops and restaurants as well as our incredible museums, art galleries, recreation spots, and other attractions.

While our mission is to bring visitors to the community, we are also a resource for residents. We encourage locals to use our visitors guide and website, as well as their own experiences to find #KenoshaFun and to share with their friends and family. Visit Kenosha has partnered with local venues to help you BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN during Tourism Week Free Days. Take advantage of many special offers. You’ll find all the details at VisitKenosha.com/TourismWeek. Here’s the general information:

Sunday, May 1, you can ride the Electric Streetcar for free. Hop aboard a beautifully restored authentic electric streetcar for a scenic trip along the Lake Michigan shore as well as through historic districts and Downtown Kenosha. Sunday hours are10:35 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Monday, May 2, is a day for the dogs. The three dog parks in the Kenosha County Parks system will offer free single day admission. The parks are Carlisle Family Dog Park at Petrifying Springs Park, Harris Family Dog Park at Old Settlers Park, and Warren Close Bark Park at Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park. Dogs must have current license/vaccinations. The parks are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

PLUS, visit K9 Kibble for a Free Large Biscuit for your dog on May 2. Monday hours are 12 to 6 p.m. Did you know the shop offers free consultation services regarding food and other issues your dog may be having?

Tuesday, May 3, The Civil War Museum offers free admission to its main exhibit “The Fiery Trial”, which is an immersive exhibit with a 360-degree film “Seeing The Elephant”. The other areas of the museum are free all the time. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 4, enjoy one free coffee at these three locations: The Buzz Café, Harborside Common Grounds, and The Daily Dose Café. Find the specific size of coffee and hours the offer is valid at VisitKenosha.com/TourismWeek.

Thursday, May 5, free tower climbs will be offered at the 1866 Southport Lighthouse, which is part of the seasonal Southport Light Station Museum. Must be 8 years or older to climb. Thursday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, May 6, free GPS and Explorer Backpack rentals will be offered at Pringle Nature Center, which is located at Bristol Woods Park. Check out a pre-programmed GPS unit to hunt for Geocaches in the park, or a family-friendly Explorer Backpack filled with all the tools you need for a fun exploration. First come-first serve. Driver’s license or ID required to check out. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 7, get a free pack of seeds at Feed & Seed. Located at 7115 38th Street, it’s owned and operated by Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm.

Discover more ways to Shop, Dine, and Play Local at VisitKenosha.com. The Visit Kenosha Events Calendar is at VisitKenosha.com/Events. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

(This article first appeared in the 4/21/22 issue of the Smart Reader)

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There are many events on the Visit Kenosha Events Calendar to enjoy this month. As you are out and about, be sure to take photos for our Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest; go to VisitKenosha.com/Photos for all the details.

The inaugural Downtown Kenosha Small Business Bunny Hop is on Saturday, April 9 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Visit the 31 participating businesses to collect Easter eggs. Candy and sticker filled eggs will be available for children, and eggs featuring coupons and special offers will be available for adults. Some of the places will also be offering additional activities or deals during the event. Shop, dine, and explore as you gather eggs!

Please be courteous and only take one egg per person at each venue you visit so as many people as possible can participate in the event. Eggs are available while supplies last. The event also includes a giveaway. Spend $50 in Downtown Kenosha during the event and enter to win a $200 Downtown Kenosha Gift Card! Go to VisitKenosha.com/BunnyHop for the list of participating businesses and details on the giveaway. This event is presented by Visit Kenosha with support from area businesses and the Lakeshore Business Improvement District.

Also on April 9, Boundless Adventures opens for its fourth season. The six-acre, eco-friendly aerial adventure park is located in Bristol Woods Park. With nine courses of four different difficulty levels, there is something for everyone ages 7-97. Each course offers the thrill of a zipline while you face a diverse array of bridges and ladders between the tree platforms. Depending on the difficulty level, your balance, strength, stamina, and agility will be tested.

Lou Perrine’s Gas and Groceries opens its second location on April 5 at 8004 22nd Avenue. On April 20, the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held with the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce at 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend. There will be samples of bagels, HoHo Cake, and more. Oh, did I mention? An Einstein Bros. Bagels is located inside the store! Also, just like Lou Perrine’s original Sheridan Road location, Kenosha’s Favorite Sweet Treat Mama P’s HoHo Cake will also be available at the new, second location.

Brighton Dale Links has two events teed up this month. The Spring Scramble is on April 23 at 9 a.m.Meanwhile, the Spring Senior Scramble is April 29 at 9 a.m.; golfers must be 55 or older to enter. Both events are a 4-person, 18-hole scramble. The entry fee includes the greens fee, cart, boxed lunch, and prizes.

The Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival is on April 30 at Brat Stop and the attached Parkway Chateau. The event is from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a fundraiser that benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. The fun-filled event features a variety of Wisconsin cheeses, some of the most sought-after beers from Wisconsin and beyond as well as great live music. Tickets are available online, as are hotel packages which include a hotel stay and festival tickets.

On April 30, a new season of dirt track racing begins at Wilmot Raceway. The 3/8-mile clay, semi-banked oval is located at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. This year’s schedule includes the Monster Truck Showdown on May 21 and 22 and the Badger 40 World of Outlaws Sprint Cars on July 9.

Find all the most up-to-date details on these events and more on the Visit Kenosha Events Calendar at VisitKenosha.com/Events. Discover more ways to Shop, Dine, and Play Local at VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

(This article first appears in the 4/7/22 issue of the SMART READER)

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101 Ways To Have Fun In Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

It started as a media sample story on our website in 2010. Just a one-time list, to show the media how many fun and affordable activities are in the Kenosha Area. Soon the list caught on – in the community and with visitors. We started to update it twice a year – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months. We produced two lists in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic-induced changes. This month, we unveiled our 23rd FUN 101 list.

 

The Spring / Summer 2022 FUN 101 is now available online: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!). We consider FUN 101 to be a supplement to the Official Kenosha Area Visitors Guide. It’s seasonal – giving the who, what, where on spring and summer activities and events. Why should you take a look or two or three at FUN 101?

 

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and use the list as a resource. Discover – and/or re-discover – what affordable adventures are right here in Kenosha. Call it a staycation or make it a Saturday field trip. I know the third graders in your life study Kenosha. Check out the places they are learning about. You could create a scavenger hunt from this list: for your family, for a kids’ play date or birthday party, or for a scout troop.

 

Perhaps you are new to the area and wondering how to spend your leisure time. Check out the FUN 101 list – it will give you 101 ideas! (Let me share a secret: there are more than 101 places. If you count the five beaches listed in #4, two golf courses in #65, two swimming pools in #69, and so on. But shh … let’s keep that our little secret!)

 

If you’re a first-time or frequent visitor to the Kenosha Area reading this, we welcome you to our community. We often hear from visitors how affordable the area is to visit (i.e. no parking fee in Downtown Kenosha, no fees to use the beaches along Lake Michigan in Kenosha, free museums), and how they enjoy their time here. Just by looking over the list, you will get a feel for the affordable and fun offerings we have.

 

For the second time, FUN 101 has categories to make the information a bit easier to digest. This edition’s categories are: Life By The Lake; Streetcars, Trains, and Automobiles; The Rest Is History; Music To Our Ears; Artsy Side; Say Cheese; Outdoorsy Pursuits; and More #KenoshaFun. The first one is – you guessed it – all about our Great Lake. The second category covers car shows and more transportation-related activities. The history category includes our museums, guided historic district tours, and self-guided mansion tours.

 

The music category features SIX free concert series. Also included are the dates for the Pike River Benefit Concert Series. Artsy Side talks about our art galleries and public art. Say Cheese includes both cheese shops AND fun photo opportunities that will have you posing for selfies and exclaiming, “Say Cheese!”. Outdoorsy Pursuits is self-explanatory. The last category covers many items – including popular summer events.

 

By no means is this list all-encompassing of everything there is to see and do in the Kenosha Area. Even our 104-page visitors guide can’t cover EVERYTHING! We are confident that both are a fair representation of the #KenoshaFun that visitors will find in Kenosha.

 

Find the complete list at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101 and discover more ways to Shop, Dine, and Play Local at VisitKenosha.com. Use the Visit Kenosha Events Calendar at VisitKenosha.com/Events for the most up-to-date event information. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

 

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com
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Put Some Spring Into Your Steps

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Once winter finishes doing its thing, it’s time to shed the winter coat and head outdoors to our parks. In this article, let’s look beyond the neighborhood parks and playgrounds to the more unique and unexpected park features.

Last October, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park Honor Plaza. This park serves as a tribute to veterans, and a center for the whole community to gather, reflect, and recreate. Along with the Honor Plaza, work completed last year included a new parkway entrance off Highway F, a parking lot adjacent to the Honor Plaza, and roughly three miles of new multiuse trails.

A statue to honor the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps sits at the entrance to Fox River Park. The CCC ran from 1933 to 1942 as part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to employ young men, aged 17 to 28 years old, in manual unskilled labor to remove them from the relief rolls.

At Fox River Park, the men built pavilions, roads, and parking lots; installed drainage; built stone walls; and planted over 130,000 trees and shrubs. The statue – purchased through the CCC Legacy Foundation which represents the alumni – was made possible by a donation from the John and Ruth L. Kloss Charitable Trust.

Another piece of trivia regarding the “New Deal” program: Both the clubhouse and golf course at Petrifying Springs Park were Works Progress Administration projects. The Works Progress Administration was one of many New Deal programs and projects.

Richard Bong State Recreation Area has a Nature Explore Classroom, an open-air classroom that’s a play space for visitors of all ages, abilities, and sensitivities. Follow the crushed gravel nature trail behind the Visitor Center to this area, which involves music and movement, messy materials, gardening, water exploration, nature art, climbing and crawling, dirt and sand digging, and invention.

Did you know Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum offers traditional maple syrup tapping and cooking field trips and family classes? This year marks 10 years since they started using “Mary’s Sugar Shack”, the iconic building used for the cooking and bottling process of their syrup.

Mary’s Sugar Shack was made possible by a generous grant from the Mary Frost Ashley Charitable Trust. Every spring, Hawthorn Hollow taps their Sugar Maples using the same techniques passed down for hundreds of years. The maple syrup is then sold on site.

The historic Kemper Center was an all girls school for over 100 years; the Sisters of St. Mary led Kemper Hall. Have you discovered the cool mosaic mural at this lakefront county park? The Kady B. Faulkner Building is on the east side of the property and was used as a bakery for the Sisters of St. Mary’s growing altar bread business.

Kady B. Faulkner, chairperson of the art department for the school and watercolor artist, created a mosaic mural on the building as a lasting memorial to the Sisters of St. Mary. She collected thousands of stones, pebbles, colored marbles, and pieces of glass from the nearby Lake Michigan beach. She created the mural – which depicts the making of altar bread and wine – between 1962 and 1964.

If you like to get in your 10,000 steps while exploring, check out many suggested scenic routes on our website: VisitKenosha.com/Steps. Find details on these parks and more places to Shop, Dine, and Play Local at VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. Please be aware that some businesses may sporadically adjust hours due to staffing issues and information is subject to change. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Dining and Giving Go Together

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

 

You still have time to take advantage of special discount menus and offers from more than 50 restaurants and food shops throughout Kenosha County! While February 27 is the last day of this year’s edition of Kenosha Restaurant Week, we hope your desire to support local businesses continues! Participating venues and menus can be found at VisitKenosha.com/RW.

As you enjoy the many options and delicious deals and cuisines during Restaurant Week, please consider making a donation to the Shalom Center or The Sharing Center, the official nonprofit partners of Kenosha Restaurant Week. Too many people don’t know where their next meal will come from and need a lift up. Please pay it forward!

Shalom Center is Kenosha’s only homeless shelter, largest food pantry, and longest running nightly meal program. The Sharing Center has been serving the needs of Western Kenosha County families since 1983: homelessness, housing, hunger, and more. You can find donation links to these very worthy organizations at VisitKenosha.com/RW.

We thank our dining partners for participating in Kenosha Restaurant Week – and would like to acknowledge those that added a charitable component to their menu. Of course, this is no surprise as locally owned business owners give back to their community in abundant ways throughout the year. From supporting youth sports teams and school fundraisers to donating food to seniors and those in need, they have generous hearts and helping hands!

 

Here are the dine and give opportunities during Restaurant Week that we are aware of:

Sazzy B is supporting the Kenosha County Food Bank with a food drive and donation jar. On February 21, Ashling on the Lough held Make-a-Wish Monday with 5% of sales going to help a child with cancer. Beef Jerky Experience Pleasant Prairie declared that 1% of sales from the first day of Restaurant Week would be donated to a local charity.

Fogata Mexican Grill, and Waterfront Warehouse are each donating $1 from every Margarita (regular price) sold during Restaurant Week to the Kenosha County Food Bank. Sandy’s Popper is giving 10% of all gift card purchases during Restaurant Week to the Shalom Center. Twisted Cuisine is donating $1 from all specialty cocktail orders during Restaurant Week to the Shalom Center.

Jersey Mike’s Subs Kenosha and Somers locations are donating $1 from every Giant Sub sold during Kenosha Restaurant Week to Safe Harbor Humane Society. Jersey Mike’s Kenosha/Somers will match the first $1,000 raised between the two stores to add to this donation. These two local franchises give back to the community throughout the year.

The Red Oak Restaurant will be donating $1 per guest to the Sharing Center during the days they’re open during Restaurant Week. Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill has said that 10% from Restaurant Week Specials food sales will be donated to Women and Children’s Horizons.

And that’s not all! Once again, Visit Kenosha has partnered with The Lettering Machine to produce Restaurant Week merchandise. This year we have a new design with Certified Kenosha Foodie messaging. Available through the online Visit Kenosha Swag Shop, one dollar from each Restaurant Week item purchased will be split between the Shalom Center and The Sharing Center. No profit will be made on the merchandise by Visit Kenosha. Go to VisitKenosha.com/RW or VisitKenosha.com/Swag to access the swag shop.

Since 2019, Visit Kenosha has been the sole producer of Kenosha Restaurant Week with participation open exclusively to our Tourism Partner businesses throughout Kenosha County. Find your #KenoshaFun at VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Dine Local During Kenosha Restaurant Week

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

It’s no secret that at Visit Kenosha, we highly encourage you to shop, dine, and play local all year-round. And February 19-27? Well, there is an extra special reason to Dine Local. It’s Kenosha Restaurant Week!

This is a nine-day celebration of our community’s delicious dining scene. Around 50 participating restaurants and food shops are creating their own discounts or special offers. There are specials for traditional in-person dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; carryout; take and heat items; and treats to take home.

During Restaurant Week, you simply visit/order from participating restaurants and ask for the special Restaurant Week menu. Be sure to check restaurants’ websites or social media for specific hours and reservation recommendations. The restaurants will be offering both their special Restaurant Week menus and their regular menus.

By dining during this week, it’s a way to show some LOVE to your favorite locally owned restaurants, pubs, and food shops. Remember that time you had family visiting from out of town, you didn’t want to cook, and you made a last-minute reservation at the restaurant a few blocks away? Show the restaurant your gratitude by supporting them now!

This is a great event for foodies; you can try a variety of food experiences at many different places. Some restaurants debut a new item or offer something that’s not always on the regular menu. Explore a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

Like a good deal? You’ll love this week! Mix up the routine by dining out (or getting carryout). Reconnect with friends over a delicious meal! Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and learn what great dining options there are right here in Kenosha County. Challenge yourself to go to three, five, or even ten different restaurants.

Take pictures along your food journey – whether for Instagram or to send grandma of the kiddos enjoying their dessert. Share your favorite Kenosha Restaurant Week pics on Instagram with @KenoshaRestaurantWeek tagged and don’t forget to use hashtag #KenoshaRW and the restaurant name (where the photo was taken) for a chance to win dining gift cards!

You can also enter your photos to our Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest (VisitKenosha.com/photos) to win dinner for two at a local restaurant. There’s another way to win dining gift cards and Kenosha Restaurant Week merchandise as well: like the Kenosha Restaurant Week Facebook page and watch for giveaways.

Support small, locally owned businesses who contribute to the local community and economy. These businesses are often family-owned, some for multiple generations. They keep going – through a pandemic and its repercussions of labor shortages, rising costs, and supply chain delays. Their businesses aren’t immune to what we experience at our own homes – broken appliances, frozen pipes, and other maintenance issues. Our community is full of entrepreneurs who have the grit and determination to overcome these obstacles and keep striving forward.

This event is possible thanks to the staff at the participating businesses – and ALL OF YOU who dine out, order meals to bring home, visit local food shops, and support our community during Kenosha Restaurant Week. And all year long!

As you enjoy the many options and delicious deals and cuisines during Restaurant Week, please consider making a donation to the Shalom Center or The Sharing Center, the official nonprofit partners of Kenosha Restaurant Week.

Participating venues and menus can be found at VisitKenosha.com/RW. Since 2019, Visit Kenosha has been the sole producer of Kenosha Restaurant Week with participation open exclusively to our Tourism Partner businesses throughout Kenosha County. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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New Year, New Guide

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

In my job – including serving as the “Ambassador of Fun” on WLIP on Wednesday mornings – I always need “stuff” to talk about, promote, and share with local residents and potential visitors. This time of year, I have the pleasure of writing about a new visitors guide, photo contest winners, and two big annual events!

Now available is our brand new 2022 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide. The only publication of its kind in the community, the 2022 Official Kenosha Area Visitors Guide is the largest visitors guide printed by our organization to date, with more than 100 pages of useful information, itineraries, travel planning tips, maps, and details about Kenosha fun.

It’s super exciting to have a new guide, as we continued to use the 2020 Visitors Guide last year. We work with around 150 local businesses and organizations – our Tourism Partners – that cater to travelers. We have gained many new partners since we published our last guide in 2020. Some are new businesses in the community, while others are just new to working with us.

What does it take to produce a visitors guide? Six months of hard work and dedication to produce the best product possible! We are committed to keeping our visitors and residents informed about where to Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local!

Let us be your resource for #KenoshaFun! To view the guide online or order a copy to be mailed, go to VisitKenosha.com/Guide. You can pick up a copy at one of our Visitor Information Centers. In Downtown Kenosha, we’re at 600 52nd Street, Suite 140 in the Harborview Office Center (open Monday through Friday, 8am-4:30pm). At I-94, we’re in the Wisconsin Rest Area at I-94/41 and Hwy. 165. The building is open 24/7, and staffed this time of year Tuesday through Saturday, 8am-4pm. You can also pick up a copy at the businesses we work with.

Meanwhile, congrats to the winners of our 2021 Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest: Rebecca Slye,Annette Stich, and Lindsey Krause. The photos can be seen – and the 2022 contest entered – at VisitKenosha.com/Photos. Each winner was awarded a dining gift certificate, courtesy of the contest’s sponsors Soon’s Sushi Café, The Red Oak Restaurant, and House of Gerhard. Year-round, we’re looking for photos taken at public places that visitors can enjoy.

And now, let’s talk events! The annual Snow Daze Festival happens on February 5, 1-4pm, in Downtown Kenosha. Enjoy the crisp winter air, see more than 40 ice sculptures on display, watch an amazing ice carving demo, ice skate, shop, and dine! The sculptures will remain up as long as the weather permits! On the same day, the inaugural Winter Warmer Beer Festival & Pint Run happens – presented by PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co. and other sponsors.

Get ready to show some LOVE to our locally owned restaurants, pubs, and food shops during Kenosha Restaurant Week. It happens February 19-27. Each participating venue is creating their own special offers. There will be a variety of specials for in-person dining, carryout, take and heat items, and snacks/desserts to take home. As menus are confirmed, they are being added at VisitKenosha.com/RW.

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! Find details on local events, attractions, shops, outdoor recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. Please be aware that some businesses may sporadically adjust hours due to staffing issues or winter weather. Events may change as well. Please call ahead or check social media. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We also remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Interactive Indoor Fun

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

In between outdoor fun at Wilmot Mountain and at our parks this winter, enjoy interactive indoor activities for all ages. If you’re feeling artistic, you can try hands-on activities that allow you to express your individual creativity. Learn a new skill or perfect your existing talents this year!

Visit Alpaca Art during open hours, choose a piece, decide on a design, paint your piece, and go back later to pick up your finished art. The ready-to-paint bisque pieces include dishes, platters, picture frames, vases, figurines, banks, boxes, and more. You can also make a reservation to host a party, field trip, or scout meeting at Alpaca Art. If you prefer, you can paint at home.

Pinot’s Palette is a paint studio that’s ideal for a night out, team building, or family fun. All materials and supplies are provided for the guided painting classes. Check out their calendar online, pick a design and date that catches your eye, book the class, and enjoy painting. A full-service bar is on-site. Upcoming classes include Snowflake Gnome, Winter Colors, Snowman’s Bliss, Dinosaurs In The Mist, and more.

Anderson Arts Center offers art and dance classes throughout the year, while Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace offers art classes and the Clay Studio. The Clay Studio is open to the public with some supplies available. Individuals must be 16 years old or older. No instructor is onsite, so participants must have experience working with clay. Only clay purchased at the studio may be used.

Are you familiar with Hot Mess Studios LLC in Downtown Kenosha? This makes for a fun date night or small group activity. Their advertising says: Life can get messy sometimes! Doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful! This is a safe place to come in and be your own artist. No judgements! No critics! Enjoy the process of creating splatters and leave with your Jackson Pollock inspired masterpiece.

Peacetree Originals, open during pop-up hours or by appointment, is a Bohemian style boutique specializing in jewelry, clothing, natural bodycare products, crystals, fair trade items, and local art. Here, you can create-your-own customized bracelet or necklace!

Have you ever wanted to act – or be a better public speaker? Let Maureen Cashin Bolog, who owns Actor’s Craft 7th Avenue Theater & Acting Studio, help you! Harness professional acting techniques to win your audience for acting and public speaking. Classes, workshops, and camps are offered for adults, teens, and children.

Interactive creative play can be enjoyed at many venues as well. Play Space in Uptown Kenosha is a family-owned indoor facility that provides walk-in open play for children crawling to 6 years old. Toys are provided. Play Space is available for birthday parties. Free kids’ interactive activities can be enjoyed at The Civil War Museum Resource Center and the Kenosha Public Museum Field Station. The free Dinosaur Discovery Museum features the interactive exhibit Little Clint: The Story of a Baby Dinosaur as well as Dino Digs.

Find details on local attractions, events, shops, outdoor recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. You’ll also find our Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 FUN 101: 101 Things to See & Do in the Kenosha Area for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!). As I write this, our 2022 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide is expected to come out any day. As you read this, you may already be looking at the guide online or in print.

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. And mark Kenosha Restaurant Week on your calendar: February 19-27.

Meridith Jumisko

Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

(This article also appears in the 2/12/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Merry & Bright continues in Kenosha. This is a collection of holiday events and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy all season long. Find out what holiday events will take place in the coming days – as well as how to Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local – at VisitKenosha.com/Holidays.

 

A favorite December tradition in my family is to drive around enjoying Christmas light displays! Drive through any neighborhood and you’re bound to see some! In case you missed the tree lighting ceremony last month, you’ll find the City of Kenosha’s Christmas tree at Fountain Plaza, west of the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Avenue. This year’s Christmas tree was donated by Kenosha residents Penny Stage and Rob Walker. Twelve hundred colored bulbs illuminate the tree.

 

Be sure to drive/walk through Downtown Kenosha to enjoy a variety of creative window displays! Numerous businesses participated in the 2021 Lightin’ Up Window Decoration Contest. The public voted November 26-27 during Lightin’ Up! Downtown and Small Business Saturday. The winners are: Voter’s Choice: Duck Duck Goose Children’s Shop, 5811 6th Avenue; First Place: Authentique, 625 57th Street; Second Place: Century Pub & Eatery, 5511 6th Avenue; and Third Place: Mike Bjorn’s Clothing, 5614 6th Avenue. While Downtown, be sure to shop, dine, and enjoy art galleries, museums, a comedy club, performance spaces, and more!

 

As you take photos of your experiences – perhaps of decorated storefronts, visiting Santa, ice skating at Veterans Memorial Park, or savoring the delicious local cuisine, send your best images to our Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest.  We’re looking for photos that capture the holidays, as well as of recreational activities, landmarks, nature, festivals and events, and attractions. The catch is that photos need to be taken at a public place where visitors can go.

 

Each photo submitted has the chance to be used on VisitKenosha.com and in other marketing to promote the Kenosha Area as a fun and exciting place for out-of-town visitors. At the end of the year, all photos submitted during 2021 will be judged. The individuals who submit the top photos will be awarded dinner for two at a local restaurant. Photos will be judged based on content and quality. Anyone is eligible to enter the contest, however the photos must be taken in Kenosha County. To enter the contest, log on to VisitKenosha.com/Photos.

 

Still shopping for presents? Purchase a Visit Kenosha Gift Card! These digital gift cards are powered by Yiftee and serve as a universal payment for dozens of area stores, restaurants, and attractions. Head to VisitKenosha.com/Swag to purchase the cards. When at a participating business, the gift card can be presented on a mobile device or printed out. The cashier will manually enter the card as if it were a Mastercard. Downtown Kenosha specific Gift Cards are also available in the online swag shop.

 

Find details on local shops, events, attractions, recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha’s two Visitor Information Centers are serving as collection sites for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Big Bundle Up. You’re invited to drop off new or gently used warm clothing items. All donations, accepted through January 7, will be distributed locally to those in need through the ELCA Outreach Center.

The I-94 Visitor Information Center is located at the southeast corner of I-94 and Hwy. 165. This time of year, it’s staffed by Visit Kenosha Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our organization also staffs a Visitor Information Center at 600 52nd Street, Suite 140. It’s open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

 

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

____________________________________________

Merry & Bright Continues in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

‘Tis the season and Merry & Bright continues in Kenosha. This is a collection of holiday events and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy all season long. Find out what holiday events are coming up – as well as how to Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local – at VisitKenosha.com/Holidays.

Merry & Bright is part of the “Shop Small” imitative – to continue last month’s Small Business Saturday throughout the entire holiday season, and beyond. Go to VisitKenosha.com/shopping/shop-small for ideas on where to shop small in the Kenosha Area. Apparel, home décor, flowers, plants, family games, pet products, Kenosha souvenirs, packaged Kenosha brews, natural health products, jewelry, specialty food items, illustrated novels and coloring books created locally, antiques, spirited gifts, books, and much more can be purchased in our community.

In addition to locally owned shops, keep in mind that art galleries, paint-your-own-art studios, and museum gift shops are more places to look for – or make – unique gifts. The Civil War Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and Kenosha History Center have fabulous gift shops. Be sure to check them out!
Three art galleries are located in the Union Park Arts District. Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace has the Artistree Giftable Art Show going on. Inside Artworks is The Pencillarium, which is a seller of new and vintage pencils from around the world. Nature’s Gallery just opened to the public at 711 46th Street.

Meanwhile, Pollard Gifts & Gallery at Rhode Center for the Arts has a great selection of gifts. At Anderson Arts Center, check out the Annual Winter Juried Exhibition, the collection of Nutcrackers on display, and the gift shop, which features unique one-of-a-kind handmade gifts by artisans. Create your own gifts at places like Pinot’s Palette, Alpaca Art Pottery Painting, the Clay Studio at Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace, Hot Mess Studios, and Peacetree Originals.

Sometimes, a gift card is the best gift to give. Especially if it’s valid at many locally owned shops, restaurants, and attractions! The universal Visit Kenosha and Downtown Kenosha digital gift card programs have just been launched in time for the holidays. Additional businesses are signing on to accept the universal gift cards each day (also accepted: a printed version of the card)!

The Visit Kenosha gift card can be used at many businesses throughout the Kenosha Area. Both gift card types are great gifts for visitors, college students, friends, family, and co-workers! Go to VisitKenosha.com/Swag to purchase the gift cards and also Visit Kenosha merchandise with the Shop Local – Dine Local – Play Local theme. We’ve partnered with The Lettering Machine to produce the merchandise; no profit is made by Visit Kenosha.

As you’re out shopping, consider those in need. Visit Kenosha’s two Visitor Information Centers are serving as collection sites for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s annual charity drive The Big Bundle Up. You’re invited to drop off new or gently used warm clothing items. All donations, acceptedthrough January 7, will be distributed locally to those in need through the ELCA Outreach Center.

The I-94 Visitor Information Center is located at the southeast corner of I-94 and Hwy. 165. This time of year, it’s staffed by Visit Kenosha Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The organization also staffs a Visitor Information Center at the location of its administrative office at 600 52nd Street, Suite 140. It’s open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Find details on local shops, events, attractions, recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(This first appeared in the 12/2/21 issue of the Smart Reader)
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Merry & Bright in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Various entities in Kenosha have come together to present Merry & Bright – a collection of holiday events and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy all season long. Our organization, Visit Kenosha, has created an online holiday hub for the who, what, where, and when on holiday events. You’ll also find information about how to Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! It’s all part of the “Shop Small” imitative to continue Small Business Saturday throughout the entire holiday season, and beyond. Bookmark this Merry & Bright website: VisitKenosha.com/Holidays and check back often for updates on how to have #KenoshaFun – holiday-style!

The holiday season really gets started with the City of Kenosha Christmas Tree Lighting on the day after Thanksgiving. On November 26, the entertainment begins at 3:45 p.m. on the west side of the Kenosha Public Museum. Candy Eisenhauer and Ivy Ford will perform holiday music. At 4:30 p.m., City Council President David Bogdala and Santa Claus will lead the countdown to light the City of Kenosha Christmas Tree.

This is immediately followed by Lightin’ Up! Downtown on the same day. Various activities occur between 5 and 9 p.m. throughout Downtown Kenosha. You can visit Santa Claus at Rhode Center for the Arts; explore Downtown Kenosha and view all the decorated storefronts (vote for your favorite window displays and enter to win a downtown prize package); enjoy special deals and offers; visit the DayBreak Church Cocoa Stand on the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and 57th Street; grab a bite to eat; write Letters to Santa with Mrs. Claus at Actor’s Craft; and more! Enjoy FREE Streetcar rides, too.

The holiday fun is far from over! Christmas at Kemper with the Gallery of Trees at Kemper Center and Historic Holiday at Durkee Mansion kicks off with the Gallery of Trees Opening Night Gala on November 27 and will continue for many days.

The Kenosha History Center will host Santa during select hours on November 27 and December 11.Both days, the neighboring Southport Light Station Museum will be open. There will be a Rouse Simmons Christmas Tree Ship presentation and the lighthouse tower will be open to climb, weather permitting.

The Lakeside Players production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever occurs Friday through Sunday, December 3 through December 12. There’s lots to do on December 4! The Kenosha Public Museum hosts International Holiday, while a Victorian Christmas happens at The Civil War Museum. Breakfast With Santa is at the Kenosha YMCA and the Holiday Boutique and Bakery takes place at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum.

The Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Cheer Crawl will take place December 8-11. The Kenosha Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert is December 11. A Cowboy Christmas is presented by RG Productions on December 12 at The Civil War Museum. And that’s not all! The Artistree Giftable Art Show continues at Lemon Street Gallery & ArtSpace through December 24. Kenosha Public Market and Kenosha Winter HarborMarket will present special holiday editions. Santa will make an appearance at The Stella Hotel & Ballroom. More events continue to be added to the website!

Also, don’t forget Small Business Saturday is November 27. Find where to shop here: Visitkenosha.com/shopping
At the bottom of that page you’ll learn how to enter to win The Ultimate Shop (And Dine) Small Kenosha Prize Package. The deadline to enter is November 28.

Find details on local events, shops, attractions, outdoor recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. You’ll also find our Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 FUN 101: 101 Things to See & Do in the Kenosha Area for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!).

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.

Meridith Jumisko

Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(This article first appeared in the 11/18/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Shop Small, Shop Local in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! The sentiment has never been more important than during this pandemic. Given how the pandemic continues – with supply chain, worker shortage, and health repercussions – Small Business Saturday on November 27 is even more important.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. According to the American Express website, “Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the country. Shop Small is a nationwide movement to celebrate small businesses every day and to help communities thrive and stay vibrant.”

Start planning now where you’d like to shop in the Kenosha Area on November 27. We have a page on our website at VisitKenosha.com/shopping/shop-small to give you ideas – including shops, art galleries, paint-your-own-art studios, and museum gift shops. Also watch our Facebook page at Facebook.com/VisitKenosha for a Small Business Saturday Giveaway we are doing, leading up to November 27.

Why should you shop small, shop local? Here are some reasons:

Small, locally owned businesses help distinguish Kenosha from other communities. They add character. They add charm. They can be found throughout the Kenosha Area – including Downtown. Some have been here for generations, while new shops continue to open.

These shops provide exceptional customer service. You’ll enjoy a unique selection of hand-picked products and offerings, as well as personalized service and attention from staff. The staff is frequently the owner. Often, products can be special ordered for you as well.

You’re supporting your neighbors, friends, and family. Shopping at local businesses also helps the local economy. The tax dollars stay local. These local businesses provide jobs – often to first-time, teen employees. Like everywhere else, businesses here face an employee shortage. Show your support as they continue to face many challenges!

The businesses support area school, community, and charity events. The owners want to make a difference in the community they live in and have their business in. Small businesses draw even more small businesses to open. In a community like Kenosha, where we continue to grow and change, small business and entrepreneurship are celebrated.

These small, independent, local shops and restaurants draw tourists to our community. Tourism provides jobs, lowers personal taxes, improves our local economy, and provides a positive community image, which is critical for economic development.

Shop at an actual store and you won’t have to worry about shipping delays this holiday season! Shop at an actual small, locally owned store and it will also give you a feel-good feeling! Check with the local stores regarding their online shopping, shipping, delivery, and curbside pickup capabilities. Even if it’s not advertised, they may be willing to accommodate your request.

Think of what your favorite places add to the community. The food choices, entertainment options, or shopping selections that are amazing and available right here in your own backyard. Remember, these business owners chose to invest in our community. They could’ve picked another one. They chose ours.

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local all year long and help us spread the word! Find details on local shops, attractions, events, outdoor recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. You’ll also find our Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 FUN 101: 101 Things to See & Do in the Kenosha Area for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!).

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.

 

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(This first appeared in the 11/4/21 Smart Reader Publication)

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Get Your 10,000 Steps in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Visit Kenosha is an organization that promotes the Kenosha Area to key travel markets in the Midwest using a number of strategies including print and digital advertising, social media, e-marketing, public relations, and customer care efforts. We always have been and will continue to be a resource to community members as well. Whether you are fairly new to the Kenosha Area or a long-time resident, you’ll find our website VisitKenosha.com and our Kenosha Area Visitors Guide to be quite helpful!

For instance, our website has both a Blog and a Trip Ideas & Itineraries section that are full of ideas on how to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town. For one itinerary, we’ve done the “leg work” for you and come up with a variety of 10,000 Steps routes that will make exercise time more fun! It is suggested that 10,000 steps is a good target number of steps to reach daily for the average person. This loosely translates to about five miles. Armed with a digital pedometer or mobile device, you can enjoy many attractions in the Kenosha Area. We encourage you to stop and enjoy all the great things around you while you walk on.

One of the routes is a Lake Michigan one. This may come as no surprise to you, but the Lake Michigan shoreline, and the many parks that adorn it, comprise the #1 attraction in the Kenosha Area. Nearly 90 percent of our lakefront is publicly accessible and features free parking, beaches, bike routes, and yes walking paths! This route takes you around the Kenosha Harbor to Simmons Island where you can enjoy two lighthouses, the Kenosha History Center, the seasonal Southport Light Station Museum, and our most popular beach in the summertime.

You’ll continue on through Downtown Kenosha and HarborPark where you’ll find sculptures on display, two museums, and plenty of great photo opportunities. As you head farther south, you’ll pass by Wolfenbuttel Park, which is named for our Sister City in Germany before you circle Library Park (one of our four historic districts). A stroll along Sixth Avenue, the heart of Downtown, will bring you back to the harbor area where you began.

The distance of this suggested route is 4.6 miles. To complete your steps: Visit the Southport Lighthouse (open seasonally), Kenosha Public Museum, and The Civil War Museum to get a few flights of stairs in! There are 72 steps to climb the lighthouse, and about two-dozen steps at each of the museums.

May I also suggest you stop and browse at some of the shops in Downtown Kenosha. It’s never too early to start – or finish – your holiday shopping! If nothing else, you can get some ideas and return later to make your purchases when you’re not out for a walk! Sixth Avenue alone includes such places as Total Cyclery, Jockey Factory Store, Sandy’s Popper, To & From Gift Shop, A Summer’s Garden Florist, Mike Bjorn’s Clothing, Duck Duck Goose Children’s Shop, Bellissima’s Boutique, and House of Nutrition & Wellness. EQUINOX botanical boutique and Blue House Books are among the shops on Sixth Avenue “A”. Beyond Sixth Avenue are still more shops!

The 10,000 Steps routes are at VisitKenosha.com/steps. Find details on local shops, attractions, events, outdoor recreation, restaurants, and more at VisitKenosha.com. You’ll also find our Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 FUN 101: 101 Things to See & Do in the Kenosha Area for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!).

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(This article first appeared in the 10/21/21 Smart Reader publication)

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101 Reasons to Love Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

It’s that time of year again … when our organization Visit Kenosha comes out with a new FUN 101 list! Now available online is our Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 FUN 101: 101 Things to See & Do in the Kenosha Area for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!). You can use this as a resource when planning a family fun day, scheduling a date night, or entertaining family from out of town. You can also challenge yourself to complete as many items as possible … or have a friendly competition with another household to see who can do more. FUN 101 is also a reminder of all the great affordable things your hometown has to offer.

We started producing the FUN 101 list in 2010. It didn’t take long before we started updating the list twice a year – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months. This new list is our 22nd one – and that includes the two we did for the spring/summer 2020 months (a pre-pandemic list and a COVID-19 version).

We decided to change things up a bit by adding categories to this new list. Reading 101 items can be a bit daunting to consume at once, so we’ve made it easier to navigate through the list. The categories are: Fall Outdoor Fun, Halloween Related, Winter Outdoor Fun, Christmas Activities, Arts & Cultural, Shopping, and More Fun.

The Halloween Related category includes:

Enjoy one-of-a-kind hand-painted pumpkin displays at Jerry Smith Pumpkin Farm. It’s FREE to view; prices vary for other activities. A long-time tradition in Kenosha, the Kemper Center Haunted House happens on Saturday nights, October 9-30, for $10 & under. Bring a flashlight and walk among the skeletons of the Dinosaur Discovery Museum when Dinos In The Dark takes place October 15, 22, and 29 for $10 & under.

On October 23, Dia de los Muertos happens at the Kenosha Public Museum. Celebrate the Day of the Dead with FREE games and craft activities. The family-friendly Candlelit Halloween Hike happens at Bristol Woods Park on October 29 for $6 & under. October 30 offers two FREE events for families: Trick or Treat on 6th Avenue in Downtown Kenosha and enjoy Trunk Or Treat On 63rd Street in Uptown Kenosha.

The complete FUN 101 list is available online at VisitKenosha.com/fun101 – and on the same page you’ll find a printer-friendly PDF version of the list. We also have a Halloween blog on our website with more events and activities listed: VisitKenosha.com/fallfun.

Find details on local attractions, events, outdoor recreation opportunities, restaurants, shops, and more at VisitKenosha.com. Also on our website, you can submit photos to our Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest for your chance to win dinner for two at a local restaurant and bragging rights! You can also sign up for two e-newsletters: the Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter and/or EventSource – Weekly Event Highlights.

If you’re planning a vacation anywhere in Wisconsin this fall, I highly recommend you stop at our I-94 Visitor Information Center, which is inside the rest stop at I-94/41 and Hwy. 165 East. This is near Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets. At the center, you can find local information, as well as brochures and guides for destinations throughout Wisconsin. The center is staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through October. The hours November through March are Tuesday through Saturdayfrom 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. Also keep in mind that all event information is subject to change.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Explore Kenosha’s Five Museums
By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

When did you last visit a museum in Kenosha? We have five within a one-mile radius of each other that educate, entertain, and inspire those who walk through their doors. I highly recommend you visit and re-visit all five! Here are a few highlights:

The seasonal Southport Light Station Museum is open Thursdays-Sundays, through October. It’s free to tour the 1867 Light Station keeper’s house, which details the historical importance of Kenosha’s harbor. My favorite room is the one with the local shipwreck exhibit, which details more than 40 shipwrecks buried near Kenosha. For a fabulous view of Lake Michigan, climb 72 steps up the tower of the 1866 Southport Lighthouse (must be 8 or older to climb; there is a fee).

Nearby is the free Kenosha History Center. Current special exhibits include “Premiums: A Hidden Record of Kenosha Business.” Sometimes the only evidence a small business existed can be found in our junk drawers in the form of pens, letter openers, matchbooks, and the like. These are “premiums” – a promotional tool which is often something inexpensive and given away for free. The museum is opening its junk drawers and revealing what’s been in the far back, hiding for decades. Also on display is “Though the Lens of a Photojournalist: A Tribute to the Life and Work of Al Fredrickson” Exhibit.

Meanwhile, it was 20 years ago this month that the Kenosha Public Museum opened its new, larger location in HarborPark. The free museum has recently unveiled a new look in its Field Station, which is designed to give kids an opportunity for hands-on exploration in the art, science, and history fields.  One of the many new additions is a kid size wood cabin trading post that kids can play in – they can even trade real animal furs for “food” and other supplies.

Current special exhibits include selections from the museum’s collections. The Asian Art exhibit includes prints and porcelain from the 19th and 20th Centuries, while the Inuit Art one features prints and sculptures from the Arctic Circle. Upcoming events at this museum include Dia de los Muertos on October 23. Celebrate the Day of the Dead with free family activities.

The Civil War Museum has a special exhibit on display through January 16: “Defending the Union – Immigrant Soldiers in the Civil War”. This exhibit explains why so many men from so many places joined the Union Army. Though from different continents, countries, ethnicities, and backgrounds, they all chose to leave their homelands in the mid-1800s to fight as Americans in the Civil War.

Also, the museum has a redesigned Resource Center with free family activities. There is a kid size cabin made out of giant Lincoln Logs, dress-up, a play schoolhouse classroom with desks and a chalkboard, Civil War era games, and more. The Resource Center is open 12-5pm Wednesday-Sunday.

Visit the Dinosaur Discovery Museum after hours to hear spooky stories of strange happenings: a Ghost Hunting event is held for high school students on October 15 and for adults ages 18 and olderon October 29.  Dinos In The Dark takes place October 15, 22, and 29. Advance registration is required for these events.

Find details on these and more attractions, as well as events, outdoor recreation opportunities, restaurants, shops, and more at VisitKenosha.com. In addition, check out the blog on our website. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. Also keep in mind that all event information is subject to change.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Many Events Coming Up Locally

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Sure, the school year has started. But that doesn’t mean that event season has ended! In fact, fun events happen in Kenosha year-round. Here are some of the highlights from this month’s calendar:

The free City of Kenosha Fall Festival takes place September 11 at Veterans Memorial Park. At the event, the Wisconsin Giant Pumpkin Growers will once again host a weigh-off, with prize money for the heaviest pumpkin. Also on September 11, the Walk in the Woods Art Fair takes place at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum. Admission is $10 per vehicle. (Cash only, please.)

More events on September 11 include: the Library Park Historic District Walking Tour (register with the Kenosha History Center), the Great Lakes Brew Fest at HarborPark Celebration Place, and the Old Settlers Oktoberfest at Old Settlers Park.

The Petrifying Springs Biergarten Oktoberfest is September 17-19. On September 17, the Remembering Garfield Goose and Friends program happens at the Kenosha Public Museum. It’s Kenosha Streetcar Day on September 18 with activities at the “streetcar barn” (Joseph McCarthy Transit Center) at 724 54th St. The Kenosha Streetcar Society presents this event that celebrates Kenosha’s streetcars.

Also on September 18, Blue House Books hosts the grand opening of its new store at 5915 6th Avenue A and the Fall Fun Festival & World Migratory Bird Day happens at Pringle Nature Center inside Bristol Woods Park. On September 19, the Kenosha ArtMarket takes place at Union Park.

It’s Free Military and Veterans Family Day on September 24 at Boundless Adventures. Active-duty military, reserve personnel, veterans, and their immediate families (up to four people) are invited to climb for free from 3 to 9 p.m. The park will remain open for the general public to climb that day, with civilian tickets available for purchase. All proceeds from the civilian tickets and other donations will help support local veterans. Details of how to register for this event are on our website.

Bloomin’ Bands happens September 24-25. Admission is free to this event that’s held on the Kenosha Moose Lodge #286 festival grounds. Enjoy great live music by Kenosha area bands and musicians. Bloomin’ Bands is brought to you by The Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha in partnership with Kenosha Cross Roads. Proceeds benefit the Extreme Room Makeover Project, which provides home renovations to meet the medical and physical needs of Kenosha children with disabilities.

The Kenosha County Fall Wheel Ride is September 25. Ride your bicycle from Kennedy Park to the Petrifying Springs Biergarten, starting at 9 a.m. This is a 12.6 mile round-trip bicycle ride. The event is free; riders are encouraged to register ahead of time.

On September 26, the Wolf Lake Trail 5K Run/Hike and 1 Mile Walk happens at Richard Bong State Recreation Area. It’s also the day of the Friendship Park Neighborhood Sidewalk Sale in Downtown Kenosha. Plus this month, the fall season begins at Jerry Smith Farm with the hand-painted pumpkin displays (no charge to view) and many family activities (there is a fee).

Find details on these and more events at VisitKenosha.com/events. Also learn about attractions, outdoor recreation opportunities, restaurants, shops, and more at VisitKenosha.com. In addition, check out our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!) and the blog on our website.

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. Also keep in mind that all event information is subject to change.

Meridith Jumisko

Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Support Local Businesses

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

As I write this on August 11, many Kenosha business owners (and homeowners) are faced with yet another challenge: a power outage due to the weather. For restaurants without a generator or another alternative, the food loss significantly affects their bottom line.

As the pandemic continues, locally owned restaurants, shops, attractions, and hotels still face many hurdles – including an employee shortage. That is why you may randomly see a business closed for a day or offering a reduced menu. Please continue to support them and be patient as they continue to navigate these unchartered waters. Be A Tourist In Your Own Town … and Shop Local! Dine Local! Play Local! Let us help you with ideas of what to do and where to go.

Visit Kenosha proudly represents and supports more than 130 businesses and organizations that cater to travelers. You can find information on these places at our website VisitKenosha.com. Our site is a resource for residents and visitors alike. The same things that visitors love about our community, residents love as well.

Our website has a super handy Trip Builder tool – just look for the ‘heart’ favorites symbol to build your own itinerary that you can share with friends or family to plan a day out and about in Kenosha! Whether looking for a restaurant with outdoor seating, that is kid friendly, or offers carryout, we have you covered. Find where to Shop Small, as well as where the farmers markets, specialty food shops, and more are located. Learn about beaches, outdoor recreation, art galleries, museums, theater, interactive studios, and other attractions. I highly recommend our Event Calendar as well.

For fresh perspectives, expert knowledge, and insider scoop on all things K-town, read the Visit Kenosha Blog and also the Trip Ideas & Itineraries section under the Plan Your Visit tab on our site. We have itineraries for Multigeneration Vacation, Couples Retreat, Two Day Tour, Switching Gears, Preserving History, The Man-cation, Girls Getaway, Get Your 10,000 Steps, and more.

Here are a few newsworthy items to share: Very soon, Blue House Books is moving to a larger location in Downtown Kenosha. Watch for more details! The expanded PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co. recently announced a new lineup of beers available for distribution in the market. Besides being available at their taproom at 628 58th Street, the beers are available on draft and in bottles at over 50 establishments throughout Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties.

For anyone who grew up in Kenosha with Al Fredrickson, you’ll especially enjoy the “Though the Lens of a Photojournalist: A Tribute to the Life and Work of Al Fredrickson” exhibit at the Kenosha History Center through October 15. The exhibit includes Al’s extraordinary black and white photos taken in Kenosha County, Waukesha County, and Milwaukee during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as unique shots of NASA shuttle launches, notable celebrities, and Wisconsin professional sports teams.

And for anyone who grew up watching Garfield Goose and Friends, you’ll want to be at the Remembering Garfield Goose & Friends event on September 17 at the Kenosha Public Museum. This is a fundraiser for Kenosha Community Media. Cartoonist, designer, and pop-culture historian Jim Engel will provide an illustrated talk about the golden age of television when Frazier Thomas and Garfield Goose were regularly seen on WGN-TV from Chicago.

Learn more about local restaurants, shops, attractions, and events at VisitKenosha.com. Also check out our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!) on our website. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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100 Ways to Enjoy the Kenosha County Fair

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

One of the events I look forward to most every summer is back: the Kenosha County Fair! It takes place August 18-22, 2021 in Wilmot. The 2021 Centennial Celebration of the Kenosha County Fair will include new contests, fireworks, special exhibits, and the return of the Fair Parade on Sunday. Postponed from 2020, the Centennial Celebration commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first fair, which was held in 1920.

I’ve been attending this fair with family members and/or friends since I was a kid; I have so many fun memories! We’ve seen country stars such as Sawyer Brown, Joe Diffie, and Mark Chesnutt on stage. I’ve eaten lots of cotton candy and lots of corn-on-the-cob. We’ve strolled through the animal barns – saying Hello to the cows we know from the Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast that rotates among local dairy farms each year. One year, we even rode on the Ferris Wheel from the Never Been Kissed rom-com movie that was making a special appearance at the fair. Yes, I was starstruck by a Ferris Wheel!

I’ve done my research on what can be expected at this year’s Kenosha County Fair and written a blog on 100 ways to enjoy the fair. Here are the first 20 items:

Be amazed by the Fireworks at 9 p.m. on Friday. Enjoy all the rides in the Carnival Midway. You may want to purchase the Wristband Special if you plan to go on many! Moo!!! Visit the Dairy Cattle and Beef Cattle. Check out the Barrel Room – the place for craft beer and wine.

Enjoy a variety of food vendors. Cotton candy, anyone? Many local service organizations also have food booths. Support a good cause while you dine! Don’t miss the corn-on-the-cob at the Knights of Columbus booth! Enjoy the Antique Farm Machinery Exhibit.

Pigs, Goats, and Rabbits. Oh my! NEW: enjoy the Milwaukee Flyers: an acrobatic, tumbling group made up of inner-city kids. See the Horses and Ponies that local 4-H kids are raising. Enjoy bobbing for apples, competing in wheelbarrow races, and more fun activities during the Ag Olympics on Wednesday. Wednesday morning, Open Class judging happens for Clothing, Knitting, and Crocheting. Wednesday is the Open Class judging for Home Furnishings, Photography, and Arts and Crafts, as well.

See Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department vehicles, equipment, and demonstrations during select hours of the fair. Flowers, Vegetables, and Plants are also judged on Wednesday in the Open Class Building. Kids can touch the farm animals in the Petting Zoo at the Discovery Barnyard. See the Open Class Swine Show and the Junior Fair Swine Show on Wednesday. Wednesday also features the Open Class Sheep Show and the Junior Sheep Show. Witness the Centennial Plaza Dedication on Wednesday.

Read the remaining 80 items on the Visit Kenosha website: VisitKenosha.com/blog. The fairgrounds are located at 30820 111th Street (Highway W). General parking is always free at the fair. Admission is $10 for ages 12 and over; $5 for ages 7-11. Children 6 and under are free. Senior citizens ages 65+ pay $7, as do active or retired military (must show ID). There is an extra grandstand fee for the races at the on-site Wilmot Raceway on Friday and Saturday nights.

Learn more about local events, attractions, shops, and restaurants at VisitKenosha.com. An extensive Event Calendar, our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!), and an informative blog can be found on our website. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Lighthouses Shine Bright in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

When you think of a harbor town, what do you think of? Beaches. Sailing Lessons. Amazing Sunrises. Kayaking. Charter Fishing. Shoreline Fishing. Marinas. Boating. We have all that and more in Kenosha. And don’t forget our two Lighthouses! August 7 is National Lighthouse Day. It’s a time to reflect on the roles that lighthouses have played in the past and in the present day. Explore the Southport Light Station Museum, one of Kenosha’s five museums in the downtown area, to learn more about these beacons of history and light.

The Southport Light Station Museum refers to the maritime museum inside the 1867 Light Station keeper’s house and the 1866 Southport Lighthouse tower that’s behind the house. These structures have been preserved and renovated so that they can now educate and be enjoyed by the public. Located at 5117 4th Avenue on Simmons Island, the seasonal museum and the nearby Kenosha History Center are operated by the Kenosha County Historical Society.

Exhibits inside the keeper’s house detail the historical importance of Kenosha’s harbor. You learn about Kenosha’s lighthouse keepers – including what they used to light the lighthouse before there was electricity. You also learn about the shipping and commercial fishing history of the harbor. Not to miss is the local shipwreck exhibit, which details more than 40 shipwrecks buried near Kenosha. On display is a model of the SS Wisconsin, which sank in Lake Michigan in 1929.

For a fabulous view of the lake, be sure to climb up the tower of the Southport Lighthouse. Its 72-step spiral staircase will take you to the lantern room for an unparalleled view of Kenosha, the surrounding area, and, on a clear day, the Chicago skyline. The tower stands 55 feet above the lighthouse grounds.

The Southport Light Station Museum is open Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 4 p.m. through October. It’s free admission for the keeper’s house tour; donations are welcome. The lighthouse climb costs $10 for ages 12 and over / $5 for children 8-11 years old. (Must be 8 or older to climb.)

Did you know that the Southport Lighthouse is the third government lighthouse built on Simmons Island, formerly Washington Island? The light station was the first navigational light a mariner would see upon entering Wisconsin from Chicago. It was operational until 1906.

Also, did you know you can light the Southport Lighthouse for a special person, occasion, anniversary, birthday or memoriam? Contact the staff of the Kenosha History Center to do so!

Meanwhile, the North Pier Lighthouse was built in 1906. It is now privately owned, but still serves as the active, operational lighthouse for the Kenosha harbor. The lighthouse is the home of the Kenosha Lighthouse Studio, a community destination for artists and art enthusiasts.  Residents and visitors are welcome to approach the lighthouse to take photos with the iconic red structure – one of Kenosha’s most recognized landmarks!

Learn more about local attractions, events, shops, and restaurants in our area at VisitKenosha.com. An extensive Event Calendar, our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!), and an informative blog can be found on our website. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to please be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.

Meridith Jumisko
Public Relations Director | Visit Kenosha
Downtown Visitor Information Center
600 52nd Street, Suite 140
Kenosha, WI 53140
O: (262) 654-7307 ext. 13
E: MJ@VisitKenosha.com

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Shutterbug Hot Spots in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha

Our website VisitKenosha.com is a resource for visitors and residents, alike. Take for instance, our Shutterbug Hot Spots Itinerary. If you’re looking for some iconic places to take a few photos, we have some suggestions. This comes in handy when you have friends visiting from out of town, when your third graders are working on their Kenosha project, or when you’re looking for cool family photo ideas (you know, for that Christmas card photo you always stress over at the last minute). It’s also a useful guide when it comes to submitting photos to our Picture Your Kenosha photo contest!

Our itinerary includes taking photos at the iconic red North Pier Lighthouse on Simmons Island or from inside the lantern room at the top of the Southport Lighthouse. Yes, you can climb the Southport Lighthouse tower during designated hours through October. Or take photos on the track at the historic Washington Park Velodrome (tip: NOT when bikes are speeding by you!) or while holding your catch during a Kenosha Charter Boat Association fishing excursion.

Take photos with the on-the-nose “Stop, Lake Michigan Ahead” sign at HobNob or with one of the famous neon signs at HobNob, The Coffee Pot, Big Star, or The Spot Drive-In. Take a pic with your favorite brew from one of our local breweries or biergartens – or with your favorite food at a local restaurant.

“Say Cheese” anywhere at Mars Cheese Castle – bonus points if photos include a cheesehead hat or a cow. Pose with a giant turkey leg at the Bristol Renaissance Faire before you devour it. The Faire is open Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day through September 6. Take a photo of your crew aboard one of the seven historic Electric Streetcars.

Pose with Abraham Lincoln – you’ll find him at Library Park, The Civil War Museum, and on the Carthage College campus. Bonus points if you find his plaque at Lincoln Park! Stand next to your favorite mural around town, like Starry Night at DeBerge’s. Position your family by the Hebior Mammoth – a woolly mammoth (excavated right here in Kenosha County) – at the Kenosha Public Museum.

Take a pic at one of the many outdoor concerts during the summer; with your toes in the sand at Simmons Island Beach; on a hiking trail at Richard Bong State Recreation Area; from the top of the snow tubing hill at Wilmot Mountain in the winter.
The Welcome to Wisconsin sign at the I-94 Visitor Information Center is a popular stop for photos. It’s a must-have photo souvenir if you have out-of-state family or friends visiting. I also see numerous people stop at the Wisconsin sign on Sheridan Road, south of 91st Street.

Take your pick from this list – or anywhere else in Kenosha County! Perhaps aboard the Lakeshore Pedal Tours, from a kayak on the Fox River Water Trail, while attempting a hole-in-one at Brighton Dale Links, of a race at Wilmot Raceway, or of your friends playing in the trees at Boundless Adventures. Then share your photos with the Visit Kenosha team by using our #KenoshaFun hashtag on your favorite social media platform!

Pick out your favorite pics and enter them in our annual Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest. Each year we select three winners who are awarded bragging rights and a dining experience for two at a local restaurant. We use photos on our social media accounts, in our Visitors Guide, on our website, and more. You can enter the contest at VisitKenosha.com/photos. Please keep in mind the photos need to be taken at public places that visitors can enjoy. Examples include photos of recreational activities, events, landmarks, and attractions. Note: please be careful and don’t climb in exhibits or on a sculpture for a photo.
Learn more about local events, shops, restaurants, and attractions in our area at VisitKenosha.com. An extensive Event Calendar, our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!), and an informative blog can be found on our website. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to please be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.

Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR
(This article first appeared here and in the 7/15/21 issue of the Smart Reader)
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Music To Our Ears
 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha  

Summertime is always music to our ears. Especially this summer, after the hiatus in 2020 for many events. One of the Kenosha area’s most distinguishing characteristics is the numerous free outdoor concert series that are offered. Not to mention some awesome music festivals! Nearly every evening there is a place to gather outdoors and enjoy great music. Here is a list of some of those places: 

 First up are the free concert series. Tuesdays At The Shell is appropriately named as it takes place on Tuesday evenings through August at the Sesquicentennial Bandshell at Pennoyer Park. Twilight Jazz happens on the lawn of the Anderson Arts Center on July 13, July 27, August 10, and August 24. 

 On Wednesday evenings, the Kenosha Pops Concert Band performs at the Bandshell through August 4. Lincoln Park Live! takes place at Lincoln Park on July 14, July 28, and August 11. 

 You have your pick of free concerts on Thursday evenings. Peanut Butter & Jam happens at Veterans Memorial Park in Downtown Kenosha, July 8 through August 26. There is also a lunchtime edition; please keep in mind some of the acts will be performing a scaled down acoustic show at  lunch. New this year is Lakeside Lounge at Kemper Center on July 22, August 5, August 19, and September 2.This will happen behind Kemper Center near the lakeshore. Also new is Bristol Woodstock at Bristol Woods Park: a free concert takes place Thursday evenings through August 5. 

 An additional music series – with an admission fee – is the Pike River Benefit Concert Series at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum on July 16 and August 13. On weekends, you can find live music at the Petrifying Springs Biergarten; there is no admission fee. Live music can also be enjoyed on weekends at the Lakeside Deck, which is located at Wyndham Garden – Kenosha Harborside. There is a fee.

 Then there are all the music festivals and events! On July 10, the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra presents a free concert at the Petrifying Springs Biergarten. Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Kane Brown, Dustin Lynch, and more country stars will be here July 15-18 for Country Thunder. (I’m a huge country fan and Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Reba, Alan Jackson, and LeAnn Rimes are among the acts I’ve seen at Country Thunder!) 

 The Peacetree Music Festival is at the Bandshell, August 6-7, while the HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival is on August 21. And don’t forget all the music at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, which is open for nine weekends plus Labor Day starting July 10, as well as at the Kenosha County Fair, August 18-22. Also, many local restaurants have live music to enjoy while you sip cocktails or dine out – so pay close attention to social media for upcoming dates and performers. 

 Learn more about these events, as well as about the local shops, restaurants, and attractions in our area at VisitKenosha.com. An extensive Event Calendar, our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!), and a blog can be found on our website. Planning a wedding, reunion, meeting, or other gathering? We have a section of our website just for planners! 

 With so many events coming back this summer, stay-in-the-know by signing up for our e-newsletters at VisitKenosha.com/newsletter. EventSource – Weekly Event Highlights is sent to your inbox weekly – typically on Mondays. The Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter highlights events, restaurants, attractions, shops, and more Kenosha fun. 

 Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to please be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. 


Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR
(This article first appeared here and in the 7/1/21 issue of the Smart Reader)
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Shop Kenosha Swag
 

Are you looking to show your hometown pride when you are out and about this summer? Or maybe you are shopping for gifts or souvenirs. Perhaps you have a family member headed off to college in a few months and want to send a bit of Kenosha with them. We have just the place for you to look for Kenosha merchandise. Following a name change (from Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau), a new logo, and a website redesign, Visit Kenosha has now released its own merchandise line.  

  Using a theme of Shop Local – Dine Local – Play Local, the organization has partnered with The Lettering Machine, a locally owned embroidery and screen printing shop in Downtown Kenosha, to produce a variety of items. This is an effort to spread the word that we have great locally owned/operated shops, restaurants, and attractions here in the Kenosha Area. The word local is the main focus on the design, showcasing the love our community has of all things locally owned and operated.   

Visit Kenosha’s online store features t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, canvas tote bags, can koozies, and more. Go to VisitKenosha.com/swag to browse the selection. No profit will be made on the merchandise by Visit Kenosha.  

Visit Kenosha has similarly worked with The Lettering Machine in the past to produce Kenosha Restaurant Week merchandise. Limited supplies of previous Restaurant Week merchandise can also be found for purchase in the Kenosha Swag Shop.  

The Lettering Machine works with many local businesses and organizations to produce, house, and ship their merchandise. Orders placed online can also be picked up at the business, 725 50th Street.  

Kenosha-themed merchandise can also be found at other venues, including art galleries, locally owned restaurants and breweries, and the gift shops at The Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, and Kenosha History Center. Local shops such as Modern Apothecary, To & From Gift Shop, and The Lettering Machine itself are also great places to find Kenosha swag.  

Meanwhile, if you are looking for #KenoshaFun this summer, be sure to consult our FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!)Visit Kenosha has been producing this list since 2010. It’s updated twice a year – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months. The Spring/Summer 2021 FUN 101 list is available at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101  

Use the FUN 101 list to discover – and/or re-discover – what affordable adventures await in the Kenosha Area. FUN 101 includes seasonal activities, attractions, shops, outdoor recreation opportunities, restaurants, landmarks, at-home experiences, and more. Whether looking for fun on a budget, what to do with your family this weekend, or ideas for a fun date night, check out the list!  

Learn more about the local shops, restaurants, and attractions in our area at VisitKenosha.com. The newly re-designed VisitKenosha.com was built with visitors in mind. Since more than half of Visit Kenosha web traffic comes from mobile devices, it was built mobile site first, and desktop site second. Additional inspirational planning tools like sample itineraries, favoriting, and a comprehensive filtering function are some of the highlights of the facelift. Users of the site will find helpful suggested content as they browse the pages, as well as convenient click to call, click to map, and click to book buttons. All this comes with a bright and clean layout that is easy to navigate.  

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.

Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR
(This article first appeared here and in the 6/17/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Multi-Generation Outings in Kenosha 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha  

As grandparents start to spend time with their grandchildren once again, it’s perfect timing that the staff at Visit Kenosha has put together an All in the Family: Multi-Generation Vacation Itinerary. You can use this itinerary for ideas on how to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! Here are different scenarios: 

All Together: When you’re all together, you’ll want to do things that are fun for everyone. The Kenosha Public Museum is a great place to start since there is a little bit of everything – art, natural history, science, and hands-on areas for kids. 

You can go fishing with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association to catch salmon and trout – or enjoy a relaxing ride on a sailboat with Sail Away Charters. If you prefer to stay on land, stroll along the Sculpture Walk at HarborPark to enjoy art and photo opportunities together. Or make your own works of art at Alpaca Art Pottery Painting. You’ll each be able to pick your own piece of pottery and paint your own design.  

Parent Time without Kids: If grandparents or an aunt and uncle can take the kiddos, parents get a break. A day could start with shopping downtown or a visit to one of our Farmers Markets on a Saturday. Adults can also enjoy a visit to one of four local breweries (Kenosha Brewing Co., Rustic Road Brewing Co., PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co., and R’Noggin Brewing), or visit the Petrifying Springs Biergarten for a giant pretzel and pint.  

Lunch at a coffee shop or rooftop bar overlooking the water is the perfect date day vibe before strolling along the boardwalk. Perhaps you’ll climb the Southport Lighthouse to add a bit of adventure to your time together. Sample flights of vino at Wine Knot, feast on incredible Tuscan-inspire seafood at Tuscany Bistro, share small plates at Twisted Cuisine, or enjoy a Chef’s Table experience at The Apis for dinner. You’ll never want the day to end.  

Grandparents and Kids: Time with your grandkids, or even nieces and nephews, is such a special treat. There is plenty to do to keep everyone occupied and happy. Start with some fun nostalgic activities, like taking a ride on an authentic Electric Streetcar. You can be dropped off at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum where you will find the Nation’s largest collection of meat-eating theropods!  

For lunch, enjoy an old-fashioned drive-in with classic burgers, shakes, and homemade root beer. You can choose between The Spot Drive-In and Big-Star Drive-In. Of course, if you’re like me with my nephews, you’ll want to get special treats, so shopping at Duck Duck Goose for games and toys is a must. As is an ice cream cone at Scoops Ice Cream & Candy or some specialty popcorn from Sandy’s Popper.  

Parents and Kids: You can head to the treetops as a family at Boundless Adventures. If you prefer to stay grounded, rent bikes at Total Cyclery and tour the lakefront on two wheels. Another classic family outing is a trip to the ballpark to catch a Kenosha Kingfish game at Simmons Field. If your crew is feeling creative, you might want to check out Pinot’s Palette to learn to paint together. 

Read the full itinerary and learn more about the local shops, restaurants, and attractions in our area that need and deserve support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com. Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. 

 

(This article first appears in the 6/3/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Enjoy Great Burgers in Kenosha
 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at Visit Kenosha  

Did you know that National Hamburger Day is coming up on May 28? Cheeseburgers get their own day in the spotlight: National Cheeseburger Day is September 18. We think every day is a good day for a good burger — with or without cheese! Visit Kenosha (formerly known as Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau) has put together a list of some of our favorite burger offerings at local establishments – with helpful tips of how to order.  

BIG STAR DRIVE-IN: You want to order: A cheeseburger with everything and a Root Beer in a frosted mug. Or for a heartier meal, a quarter-pound cheeseburger with everything!  

BRISTOL 45 DINER: You want: The Bristol 45 Bomb Burger with extra BBQ sauce on the side for your French fries and a chocolate malt.  

CAPTAIN MIKE’S: You want: The Burger of the Week — these burgers are designed with tons of seasonal flavor and fun. You only live once and these are only offered for a limited time! You just may discover your new favorite burger toppings!  

EL CAMINO KITCHEN: You want: The San Francisco Burger which features two 4 ounce beef patties, Cherrywood bacon, a three cheese blend, and house-made guacamole for the perfect blend of flavors at this fusion-style restaurant.  

JOHNNY’Z POUR HOUSE: You want: To visit on Wednesdays and Saturdays for The Basic Burger specials. Get one 4-ounce griddle-cooked patty with cheese, then stack on extra patties for just $1 each — with no limit to the patty-stacking!  

RON’S PLACE: You want: A 5×5 on a sesame bun with your favorite cheese, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato. You’ll find pickles, ketchup and mustard at your table. Get curly fries on the side.  

SPANKY’S BAR & GRILL: You want: A classic Spanky Burger is great, but the Spanky Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger is served on Texas Toast with four slices of crisp bacon and your choice of cheese. All of these burgers are made fresh daily with never-frozen beef and are grilled to order.  

THE GARAGE: You want: The Custom Job, aka a Build Your Own Burger! Stuff it, top it with all your favorites, and smother it in sauce! You can’t go wrong. Pair it with your favorite cold beer for a winning combination.  

THE SPOT DRIVE-IN: You want: A Double Cheeseburger with everything and grilled onions, French fries and a Root Beer Whirl (which is kind of like a Root Beer shake).  

WATERFRONT WAREHOUSE: You want: The Wisconsin’s Own Merkts Cheese & Bacon Burger with waffle fries and one of the awesome specialty cocktails from the bar.  

Did we miss your favorite burger establishment? Be sure to visit there next time you dine out or do carryout – to show them some extra love!  

We thank you for shopping, dining, and playing local. Learn more about the local shops, restaurants, and attractions in our area that need and deserve support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com.   

Visit Kenosha has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. Please note: available menu items may vary. 

 

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We are in the midst of National Travel and Tourism Week. Tourism Week is recognized nation-wide May 2-8 this year. Locally, the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors is partnering with local attractions and shops to provide FREE admission and other freebies during this week. We encourage residents to “Be A Tourist In Your Own Town”, while visitors can discover – and/or re-discover – the fun things there are to explore in the Kenosha Area as they take advantage of these free promotions.  

 The offers on the remaining days of this week are:  

 Thursday, May 6: One Free Preselected Plant at Equinox botanical boutique to the first 100 people. There is no purchase necessary. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 5901 Sixth Avenue A.  

 Friday, May 7: One Free Used Book at Studio Moonfall to the first 100 people. Choose from any of the used books that are at the shop. No purchase necessary. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 5031 Seventh Avenue.  

 Saturday, May 8: Free Ride on the Electric Streetcar. Hop aboard for a scenic trip along the Lake Michigan shore, as well as through historic districts and Downtown Kenosha. Weekend Streetcar hours are 10:35 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Capacity: 15 riders at a time. Stops include the Transit Center, 724 54th Street.  

  All week: Stop at the I-94 Visitor Information Center for travel information about Kenosha, other Wisconsin destinations, and FREE Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets VIP Coupon Books while supplies last. Coupon books are valid at many stores at the outlet mall property. The Visitor Information Center is staffed 7 days per week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 10519 120th Avenue (I-94/41 and Hwy. 165).  

 Earlier this week, the offers included another Free Ride Day on the Electric Streetcar, Free Single Day Admission at the three Kenosha County Dog Parks, Free Main Exhibit Admission at The Civil War Museum, and Free Admission at Play Space.  

 Let’s not forget there are many more free and affordable activities to do in the Kenosha Area as well, all year long. Our Spring/Summer 2021 FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!) can be found at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101. The list includes seasonal activities, attractions, events, shops, outdoor recreation opportunities, restaurants, landmarks, at-home experiences, and more.   

 The theme of National Travel and Tourism Week this year, which the U.S. Travel Association organizes, is the Power of Travel. The focus will be on the industry’s role in bringing back our vibrant communities, restoring the U.S. economy, rebuilding our workforce, and reconnecting America. (Source: www.ustravel.org)   

 While keeping that sentiment in mind, please remember the role of tourism when it comes to our community’s economy. Tourism provides jobs, lowers personal taxes, improves our local economy, and provides a positive community image, which is critical for economic development.  

 We thank you for shopping, dining, and playing local. Learn more about the local shops, restaurants, and attractions in our area that need and deserve support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com.   

 The Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. We remind everyone to remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. 

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15 Things To Do In Kenosha  

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

As I write this, I am adding events to the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Event Calendar. This is a positive change from this time last year, when I was removing events from VisitKenosha.com, our staff was recycling the Spring/Summer 2020 FUN 101 brochure, and we were a few weeks away from pivoting and creating a new Spring/Summer 2020 COVID-19 Edition.   

While we don’t yet know how 2021 will turn out, things are looking up. We have resumed producing our traditional FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!). The new Spring/Summer 2021 list can be found at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101. The list is currently only published online. 

Use the FUN 101 list to discover – and/or re-discover – what affordable adventures await in the Kenosha Area. Our new list includes seasonal activities, attractions, events, shops, outdoor recreation opportunities, restaurants, landmarks, at-home experiences, and more. Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and use this list as your guide! 

Here are the first 15 items on our new FUN 101 list: 

  1. Summertime is music to our ears. One of the area’s most distinguishing characteristics is that so many FREE outdoor concert series are offered. 
  2. Watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan. FREE  
  3. Enjoy a round of golf at Brighton Dale Links or Petrifying Springs Golf Course.  Ask about the 9-hole walking Super Twilight rate of $10.  
  4. Enjoy the Sculpture Walk, which runs along the harbor and features a dozen works of art. FREE    
  1. View our Great Lake from the 1866 Southport Lighthouse. There are 72 steps to the top! A new season of tours opens in May. $10 & under 
  2. Enjoy our online Kenosha Area Activity Book. It’s for all ages and includes trivia, coloring, puzzles, photo quizzes, and other activities – all related to Kenosha. FREE  
  3. The Wilmot Flea Market takes place on Sundays, April 18 – October 10 (excluding August 15and 22) at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. $2 & under 
  4. Lounge on a beach. Kenosha has five beaches on the Lake Michigan shore! FREE 
  5. Play at Kenosha’s inclusive, 100% accessible playground: The Dream Playground at Petzke Park. FREE  
  6. Come see our castle! Enjoy one-of-a-kind photo spots at Mars Cheese Castle. FREE  
  7. The Transparent Watercolor Society of America 45th Annual National Juried Exhibition is on display May 1 – July 31 at the Kenosha Public Museum. FREE 
  8. Looking for outdoor dining? You have many choices – including the Garden of Eatin’ at The Coffee Pot. Try the Homemade Corned Beef Hash! $10 
  9. Bring your pooch to play at one of our many off-leash dog parks. FREE to $5 depending on park  
  10. Kenosha Public Market offers in-person and online shopping. The market takes place each Saturday. KPM2GO is the weekly virtual shopping portal – with pickup on Saturdays. FREE admission 
  1. Walk, bike, or drive through Kenosha’s four historic districts. The birthplace of Orson Welles is in the Library Park district. FREE   

 

For 86 more things to see and do for $10 and under, go to VisitKenosha.com/FUN101. Since 2010, the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has produced the popular FUN 101 list. The list is created twice a year – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months. 

Learn about these and more local attractions, restaurants, and shops to support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.comThe Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has been Kenosha’s official travel resource since 1986. Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient

Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR
(This article first appeared here and in the 4/22/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Five Fun Local Outings  

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

It’s spring – which means it’s time to head outdoors to enjoy many fun activities right here in the Kenosha Area. Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and check out these five fun experiences with your family: 

Picture a morning fishing on Lake Michigan – where you watch the sun start to peek over the horizon, your captain and crew set the bait and cast the lines for you, you chat and watch lines bobbing in the water, and you reel in your own lunch or dinner. Beginners are welcome; no experience is necessary. The crew will help you every step of the way — from teaching you how to reel in fish and netting your catch for you to cleaning your catch and bagging your filets. Local restaurants – such as Boat House Pub & Eatery – will even cook your fresh catch for you.  

The Kenosha Charter Boat Association is getting ready for another great season of fishing. Call today to book your charter fishing excursion! Charters can be booked in five or six hour outings, and each boat can accommodate up to six guests. The captains and crew members will wear masks on request. 

If golf is more your style, head to Kenosha County’s Brighton Dale Links or Petrifying Springs Golf Course. “We have completed the renovation of the White Birch Course at Brighton Dale Links that included addressing the drainage, green surrounds and bunkers, and we’ve also had much of the underbrush in the wooded areas removed throughout Brighton Dale,” Dan Drier, PGA Professional and General Manager of Golf Operations for Kenosha County shared in a news release.  

“We are excited (to) show off our improved conditions and new continuous cart paths at Petrifying Springs Golf Course. We are really proud of our golf courses this season and excited for our guests to play them.” Daily fees and season passes have remained the same great value for the last 11 years, with options including unlimited golf, senior, and junior rates. Brighton Dale Links will host a Spring Scramble on April 24 and a Senior Scramble on April 30.  

For a bird’s eye viewclimb, balance, and traverse through the treetops of Bristol Woods Park when you visit Boundless Adventures. The aerial adventure park has opened for its third season. Like last year, there will be COVID-19 safety measures in place, including capacity limits and social distancing requirements. Reservations are required. Boundless Adventures features six acres of obstacle courses that vary in difficulty. There are nine courses with over 120 elements that range 20 to 40 feet above the ground. 

Shop for deals during Wilmot Flea Market’s 14th season, which gets underway on April 18 at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. It’s open Sundays through October 10 (excluding August 15 and 22)7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Concessions are available, including the popular Bloody Mary’s for which the market is known. Admission is $2 & under; there are no pets allowed. By the way, new and novice vendors are always welcome. 

Also at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds, a new race season starts May 1 at Wilmot Raceway. You can enjoy motorsports entertainment on select dates at this 3/8-mile clay, semi-banked oval. In any given year, you may see a future, current, or retired NASCAR superstar race here – three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has appeared in races at Wilmot in recent years!  

Learn more about these and more local attractions, restaurants, and shops to support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com. Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient.  
(This article first appeared in the 4/8/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR

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 Accessible Fun in the Kenosha Area 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Did you know the Electric Streetcars have wheelchair lifts and that Richard Bong State Recreation Area has an accessible fishing pier? Here is a sampling of accessible attractions in the Kenosha Area.

 As Kenosha’s first fully accessible playground, the Dream Playground at Petzke Park is a one-of-a-kind 15,000 square foot space for children of all abilities to play side-by-side. The playground is surrounded by a smooth, rubber surface for safe and easy navigationA wheelchair swing and a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round are just two of the many features. 

Portable mobility mats on the sand were introduced at Simmons Island Beach in 2020. The mats are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. In the summer months, parks department staff installs the mats daily after the beach is groomed in the morning and roll them up each evening for storage. A 150-foot section of mats extends from the north end of the boardwalk, and a 100-foot section of mats extends from the sidewalk on the north side of the beach house. 

At Richard Bong State Recreation Area, there is a fully accessible cabin and campsites, a wheelchair sand rover at the beach, an accessible observation ramp and fishing pier, and accessible hunting opportunities. The Kenosha YMCA features the fully accessible Miracle Field baseball field. Two pools – one with zero depth entry and one with a ramp – as well as workout facilities are all on the first floor. An elevator is available to access the second-floor walking track. 

At historic Simmons Field, areas of the ballpark seating are handicapped accessible and there are spaces for wheelchair access to view Kenosha Kingfish baseball games. The Team Store is also fully accessible. Meanwhile, some of the charter boats are handicapped accessible for a Lake Michigan fishing excursion. Mention when you book your charter with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association if you need one. 

At the Kenosha Public Museum, all the exhibits are fully accessible, as are the classrooms. At The Civil War Museum next door, all exhibits are accessible, including the 360-degree movie experience, Seeing the Elephant. There is access to an elevator at the back of the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, so don’t let the steps at the front entrance deter you. All exhibits are accessible. 

Wheelchair lifts are installed on all the Electric Streetcars. The beautifully restored streetcars travel a 2-mile loop, providing a scenic tour of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Sculpture Walk in HarborParkand two historic districts. You can take the streetcar to three museums – and numerous shops and restaurants are located within walking distance of the streetcar line in Downtown Kenosha. The streetcar also stops at the METRA train station. The fare is $1 and under for one loop. 

Speaking of Downtown Kenosha, the new parking structure is open to give you another option to park – in addition to various parking lots and street parking. It’s located along Eighth Avenue between 56th Street and 57th Street with the entrance along Eighth Avenue. Parking is free. No overnight parking is allowed between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Automatic gates are activated as vehicles enter or exit the garage to provide access control for vehicles entering and exiting the parking structure, as well as pedestrian safety.  

Learn more about the local attractions, restaurants, and shops to support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com. Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. Some amenities may be affected by the pandemic.

Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR

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Think Spring – and Summer – in Kenosha 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

It’s March! As we leave winter in the rearview mirror, what local activities are you looking forward to the most this spring and summer? Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town in the coming months. 

One of the first signs of spring in Kenosha is when Big Star Drive-In re-opens. Guess what? Big Star is now open! If you’ve been craving that Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Grilled Onions, a side of Cheese Fries, topped off with a shake … what are you waiting for? Another sign of spring is when you see boats traveling through Downtown Kenosha on their way to the marinas!  

There’s so much to look forward to … the return of golf at Petrifying Springs Golf Course and Brighton Dale Links. A fishing excursion with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association. Ziplining through the trees at Boundless Adventures. Enjoying live music at the Petrifying Springs Biergarten. The races at Wilmot Raceway. Concerts in the parks. 

Warmer weather will bring out the patio tables and chairs for outdoor dining. The rooftop bars will see life once again. Flowers, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, prepared foods, and much more will be available at outdoor farmer markets soon, too. 

You’ll be able to rent a kayak, fishing kayak, or stand up paddle board or even take sailing lessons from the Kenosha Community Sailing Center. New this year: pedal duck boat rentals will be available as well! Reservations are open now for another new activity: Lakeshore Pedal Tours, which will debut in June. This is a multi-passenger, open-air, pedal-powered, memorable rolling party, with its home base at the Kenosha Yacht Club.    

We are seeing event planners beginning to schedule their events. As of now, the City of Kenosha anticipates hosting signature annual events such as Outta Site Kite Flight, Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade, Celebrate America with the 4th of July fireworks, and the Peanut Butter & Jam Concert Series.

  

The Wisconsin Marathon is May 1, with modifications for participant safety. It will be a half marathon with staggered starts. Following an abbreviated 2020 schedule, the Kenosha Kingfish will return to playing 72 regular season games in 2021. Opening day at Simmons Field is May 31. Taste of Wisconsin and the Kenosha Classic Cruise-In Car Show are a few of the other events that have announced their 2021 dates so far.  

Perhaps you plan to take a day trip or vacation within Wisconsin in the coming months. Let us help you! The I-94 Visitor Information Center carries brochures and travel guides for destinations throughout the state. It’s located at I-94/41 and Hwy. 165 East (Exit 347). The Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau staffs the center November through March, Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and April through October, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you look forward to exploring Wisconsin’s parks, trails, forests, and recreation areas – including Richard Bong State Recreation Area right here in Kenosha County – you may be interested in the Wisconsin Friends Explore Challenge 2021. The Challenge begins on the Spring Equinox, March 20, and ends on the Fall Equinox, September 22. There are 22 challenges in 11 categories including hiking, camping, photography, community service at parks, paddle sports, and many others. You’ll find more details here:  https://sites.google.com/view/wisconsin-friends-explore/home. 

Learn more about the local attractions, restaurants, and shops to support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com. Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety guidelines that individual venues are setting; be patient. All events and activities are subject to change.

(This article first appeared in the 3/11/21/ Smart reader publication)

Meridith Jumisko
Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR
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PLAY LOCAL in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

“Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local!” It’s a phrase we continue to repeat during this pandemic. Please, if you can, consider supporting our local shops, restaurants, and attractions. Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and appreciate our local treasures!

As you enjoy the final days of Kenosha Restaurant Week, which goes through February 28, also get out and enjoy winter! It’s not every year we have this much snow! Downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, biking in the snow – what’s your winter pleasure? We have it all!

Throughout Kenosha County, there are numerous parks for sledding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing, as well as more than 200 miles of designated snowmobile trails. Many lakes are great for ice fishing. Yet there is only once place in Kenosha County that offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. It’s been here since 1938. Of course, I’m talking about Wilmot Mountain!

The popular winter attraction features 120 skiable acres, 25 trails, seven lifts, four progression terrain parks with a double high speed rope tow, and more. It’s a welcoming environment for all skill levels: from beginners to experts, and everyone in between. Equipment rentals, a repair shop, a retail shop, and dining options are available on-site.

The tubing area has 22 lanes of over 1,000 feet long. You don’t have to worry about transporting your tube to Wilmot Mountain, as tubes are waiting there for you. You also don’t have to haul your tube back up the hill because there are two surface conveyor lifts to take you to the top. Reservations are required for skiing, snowboarding, lessons, and tubing this season.  Learn more at wilmotmountain.com.

Perhaps all this snow inspires you to go snowshoeing. Until you remember you sold your pair of snowshoes at a yard sale a few years ago. No problem! You can rent snowshoes to use at Bristol Woods Park from the park’s Pringle Nature Center. Snowshoes are available by reservation (when trail conditions are suitable and staff are available) during established time slots, Fridays through Sundays.

Reservations must be made by 4 p.m. the day prior to the requested rental. The cost is $5; free if you have a “Friend of Pringle” membership. Groups can even rent a private time slot for a maximum of 10 participants at a time. For details: pringlenc.org/rentals.

When it comes to using your fat bike this time of year, check out Silver Lake Park. The park is home to 10 miles of mountain bike trails, which are managed by the Kenosha Area Mountain Bike Association. The trails are open year-round, weather conditions permitting. Check the daily status on this hotline: 262-857-1876. Learn more about the different trails at kenoshacounty.org/1654/Silver-Lake-Park.

If you’re more of a stay-warm-and-dry-inside winter person, that is OK too. There are plenty of options for #KenoshaFun. You can paint in-person or at home with Alpaca Art Pottery Painting or Pinot’s Palette. Shop the Warehouse Sale at Lemon Street Gallery. Enjoy exhibits at ArtWorks and Pollard Gallery. View nine solo exhibitions at Anderson Arts Center. Take in a show at the Kenosha Comedy Club. Experience the “Seeing the Elephant” 360-degree movie at The Civil War Museum. Visit the dinos at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum or the mammoths at the Kenosha Public Museum. These are just a few ideas.

Learn more about the local attractions, restaurants, and shops to support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.com. Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient.

Meridith Jumisko

Public Relations Director

MJ@VisitKenosha.com

(262) 654-7307 ext. 13

Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR
(This article first appeared in the 2/25/21 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Cheesy Cuisine in Kenosha
 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 

 This column is in honor of National Cheese Lover’s Day, which was recognized on January 20. We take our cheese dishes pretty seriously around here every day. We’re talking everything from fresh to fried cheese curds, from just about any food you can think of with a side of cheese to some truly elevated culinary delights that take cheese to the next level! As I munch on some white cheddar cheese popcorn from Sandy’s Popper, here are some ideas to get you started on a cheesy diet! 

Some of the cheesy creations to try include: Irish Grilled Cheese at Ashling on the Lough, Baked Mac and Crab at Boat House Pub & Eatery, Cheddarwurst at Brat Stop, Homemade Stuffed Shells at Casa Capri, Queso Fundido at Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar, The Wisconsin Burger at Spanky’s Bar & Grill, and Charcuterie at Buzz CaféThe Food Network Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, declared that Mars Cheese Castle’s grilled cheese is one of his top-eight sandwiches in the country!  

Captain Mike’s Beer & Burger Bar offers Build Your Own Mac & Cheese, Mac of the Week, Family Style Mac & Cheese to feed 4 to 6 people, and a Mac & Cheese Kit with all the fixingto create your favorite Mac & Cheese at home.  

I highly recommend you order the Saganaki at Twisted Cuisine – for the presentation alone! This dish features kasseri cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella, lemon, brandy, and grilled bread. Speaking of Twisted … the Executive Chef at Twisted Cuisine, Erica Buskirkwill be featured on Food Network’s Supermarket Stakeout on March 16 at 9pm CST. 

Another favorite of mine is Totchos at Johnny’Z Pour House. You can place a half order or full order and add chicken, beef, or impossible meat. An order includes lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives, thick bacon bits, cilantro sour cream, shredded cheddar and jalapeno cheese sauce served atop of your choice of tots, fries or corn chips. This dish has reintroduced me to tater tots – something I had not had since childhood.  

When it comes to cheese curds – how do you like them? Fresh or fried? Here is where you can find some of the best fried cheese curds: Boat House Pub & EateryBristol 45 DinerCaptain Mike’s, Century Pub & EateryCulver’s of Pleasant PrairieJohnny’Z Pour HouseMars Cheese Castle, Mason’s Eatery & PubRon’s PlaceRustic Road Brewing Co.The GarageThe Spot Drive-In, and Waterfront Warehouse. 

Fresh cheese curds can be found at: Brat Stop’s Cheese MartKenosha HarborMarket (which will be back in May), year-round at Kenosha Public Market on Saturdays and its online store KPM2GOMars Cheese Castle, and Tenuta’s Delicatessen. And don’t forget the cannoli at Tenuta’s! 

Speaking of great food … mark your calendar for Kenosha Restaurant Week, February 20-28. This is a nine-day celebration of our community’s delicious dining scene; more than 40 venues are participating. There will be COVID-conscious adaptations this year to give everyone a chance to enjoy the great flavors our community has to offer. You can expect to find a variety of Restaurant Week specials for Dine-In, Carry Out, Curbside Pick-Up, Delivery, Family-Style Meals, Take & Heat Meals, Heated Outdoor Dining, and/or Gift Cards. Find more details at VisitKenosha.com/RW. 

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Learn more about the local restaurants, shops, and attractions to support in-person or online at our website VisitKenosha.comPlease remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient. 

(This article first appeared in the 1/28/20 issue of the Smart Reader)

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Thank you, local business owners 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

I write this column as a heartfelt thank you and tribute to the small business owners of our community. May it inspire you, the readers, to continue to support these local shops, restaurants, and entertainment spots. And for that support, you have my gratitude as well. 

Dear Small Business Owner, 

You started with a dream to open your own business. As the dream became closer to being achieved, there was bound to be some hesitation or trepidation on your part. Did you have the right opportunity to make your dream come true? Enough passion and courage? An ideal locationThe financial means? The emotional support you would need? You may have had spreadsheets, checklists, goals, objectives, plans, and consultants to assist you with your decision making 

However, if you opened your business prior to 2020, there are some things you just couldn’t have been expected to plan for. When you signed your lease or took on a mortgage, you didn’t sign on to endure a global health pandemic and all its repercussions. You couldn’t predict the civil unrest that would happen. 

And yet, here you are. A person with a dream. Trying to make a living and put food on your table. Attempting to keep our friends and family employed. Wanting to make a difference in the community you live in. Running numbers again in hopes of being able to give to the local fundraisers and non-profit organizations you’ve supported for years.

 

If you opened your business in 2020, kudos to you! You likely started your planning well before the pandemic hit us – and it may have been too late to apply the brakes or you simply chose to bravely move forward. You have given us somewhere new to eata new place to shop at, or something new to do! 

Perhaps you are part of a family-owned business that’s been around for decades. You have the added pressure of not wanting the business to end with your generationYou have a legacy to continue, certain standards to live up to, a family to honor. 

We thank you all. For continuing to work through the challenges that 2020 brought us, and the challenges that continue here in 2021. Whether you add to our food choices, entertainment options, or shopping selections, we are grateful. We thank you, too, for adapting and incorporating safety and COVID-conscious decisions into your daily plans. 

We know that Kenosha is still the fun, friendly, affordable, and welcoming place that it has always been. We know that you – our shop keepers and restaurant staff – are ready and waiting. None of us want the businesses that we care about to go away. We want to continue to support you. The foodproducts, and services you offer are amazing and help make Kenosha unique

 So, now is the time. All hands on deck. We all need to visit your store or make an online purchase. We need to dine in, do take out, order delivery, or take advantage of the curbside pickup service you’ve started offering. We need to spread the word and tell our friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers about you. We need to do our part to keep the local small businesses going. 

Please hang on! We’re rooting for you! 

Sincerely, 

Your friends, customers, fans, and followers 

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient. Learn more about the places to frequent in-person or online on our website VisitKenosha.com.

(This also appears in our 1/15/21 issue of Smart Reader)
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Dine Local in Kenosha
 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
(this first appeared in the 12/17/20 issue of the Smart Reader)

Please consider patronizing Kenosha’s locally owned restaurants this holiday season – whether you’re looking for Dine-In, Carry Out, Curbside Pick-Up, Delivery, Take & Heat Meals, Heated Outdoor Dining, Gift Cardsor Online OrderingWe keep you up to date on their latest services at http://bit.ly/VKcovid19Let me introduce you or re-introduce you to some of Kenosha’s great locally owned restaurants. 

New restaurants this year include: Apis Hotel & RestaurantThe Down Town’R Saloonand El Camino KitchenPUBLIC Craft Brewing Co. moved to a larger location and now has a dining menu! Speaking of craft breweries, we also have Kenosha Brewing Co. and Rustic Road Brewing Company – both offer dining – as well as R’Noggin Brewing Co. 

Enjoy libations with your meal at Boat House Pub & EateryBrat StopBuzz Café, Ron’s Placetg’sJohnny’Z Pour House, Slip 56, Spanky’s Bar & Grill, Union Park Tavern, or Waterfront Warehouse. La Fogata Mexican Grill is known for its Margaritas! 

Do a warm beverage run to Harborside Common Grounds. Craving breakfast food at 5 p.m.? Head to Bristol 45 Diner. Craving pizza? Call Kaiser’s Pizza & Pub, Valeo’s Pizza, or Villa D’Carlo, which also has par-baked and frozen pizzas to take home. Casa Capri, the Italian American Supper Cluband Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill also offer great Italian food 

Of course, Tenuta’s Delicatessen is a go-to place for gifts and your holiday meal. So too is Mars Cheese Castle. Enjoy The Spot Drive-In year-round  and wait patiently for the opening of the Big Star Drive-In season to mark Spring! 

You may not think of places like House of Gerhard, The Red Oak Restaurant, The 1844 Table & Mash, and Twisted Cuisine offering carryout – but they do! Which means you can have a gourmet dinner in the comfort of your own home!  

Local restaurants generously give back to the community. Here are some recent acts of kindness: Captain Mike’s new food truck and Ashling on the Lough both offered meals to those in need on Thanksgiving, followed by Trolley Dogs doing the same earlier this month. Century Pub & Eatery has been donating food for seniors and those in need.  

Restaurants continue to adapt during the pandemic: Franks Diner, The Coffee Pot, and The Garage now accept credit cards. The Daily Dose Café started offering online ordering. Wine Knot is extending its outdoor dining season with four private gazebos. An owner of Mason’s Eatery & Pub purchased a Germinator Mobile Sanitizing and Disinfecting franchise with a business partner. Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar‘s safety measures include a temperature check machine from Germany. 

Also this year, Sazzy B received a Wine Spectator 2020 Award of Excellence, while HobNob was named a 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalist. In lieu of company parties, HobNob suggests employers purchase gift cards for employees to have a special night out at the popular supper club on their own – with private dining rooms and plenty of room for physical distancing.  

Here are three more foodie updates: Soon’s Sushi Café is expected to re-open very soon! The Lakeside Players Bowls and Books fundraiser is going on with a punch card (and optional mug) to purchase now to use in January for a free cup of soup with the purchase of a meal or sandwich at 13 local restaurants. And we are excited to announce that Kenosha Restaurant Week will take place February 20-28. Stay tuned for details!  

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Learn more about the places to frequent in-person or online on our website VisitKenosha.com. 

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Shop Local in Kenosha

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Small Business Saturday may have technically already taken place this year, but the sentiment should stay with us all year long: Shop Small! Please consider patronizing Kenosha’s locally owned, small shops, restaurants, and attractions this holiday season. You’ll enjoy a unique selection of products and offerings, as well as personalized service and attention from staff. Locally owned businesses are the backbone of a community. They distinguish one community from another; provide jobs; attract visitors; support area school, community, and charity events; and contribute to the local economy. This year more than ever, small local businesses need our support.

 

While Christmas during a pandemic may look different, that doesn’t mean there can’t be gifts! You may just have to be creative to reach those people outside your household! Have shops do the shipping for you; mail gift cards; look for restaurants and shops that email a virtual gift card to the recipient; purchase and wrap presents so there’s something under your tree and then save them for when you can safely see family (just remember where you put them!). And this is 2020. There is no shame in purchasing a gift or two or three for yourself! It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It could be as simple as a book … or chocolate.

 

To learn more about our locally owned shops, go to VisitKenosha.com. Apparel, home décor, flowers, plants, family games, pet products, Kenosha souvenirs, packaged Kenosha brews, natural health products, jewelry, specialty food items, illustrated novels and coloring books created locally, antiques, spirited gifts, books, and much more can be purchased in our community. Art galleries, paint-your-own-art studios, and museum gift shops are more places to look for unique gifts.

 

Before I go further, let me explain there are options when it comes to the method of shopping. In-person (mask up!) is one. Many small, locally owned shops also have online stores. Some places are showing their offerings virtually on Facebook and then you comment/message/call to place your order. Not online? That’s OK! You can call and the owner or staff member will be happy to assist you. Depending on the store, shipping, delivery, and curbside pickup could be options.

 

More gift ideas include: a gift card to a local restaurant/brewery. Some even offer apparel or other souvenirs. Many restaurants offer deals where you spend a certain amount on gift cards, you get a free gift card. You can also purchase gift cards or tickets for experiences, like skiing at Wilmot Mountain. Here’s a tip that may help you in the future: subscribe to online newsletters of the places you’re interested in to get the scoop on discounts and deals. I’ve found that Bristol Renaissance Faire, Boundless Adventures, Country Thunder, and Wilmot Mountain keep you informed like that!

 

When it comes to cooking your favorite holiday meals at home, try Kenosha Public Market on Saturdays, Tenuta’s Deli, Brat Stop’s cheese shop, and/or Mars Cheese Castle for ingredients. Whether looking for dessert for your table or sweet gifts, shop at these same places or visit Jack Andrea (delicious chocolate!), Sandy’s Popper, Scoops Ice Cream, Robin’s Nest Cakery inside Century Pub & Eatery, or Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery’s little red pie wagon at 51st Place and Sixth Avenue. And you better add Lou Perrine’s Gas and Groceries to the list. Have you had their Mama P’s HoHo Cake? Scrumptious!

 

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations.

For more info check out
https://www.visitkenosha.com/

Meridith Jumisko

Public Relations Director
MJ@VisitKenosha.com
(262) 654-7307 ext. 13
Tweer to @MJ_kenoshaPR
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We’re Ready When You Are 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

We’re Ready When You Are! This is a message our team at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has crafted after consulting with several of our partners in the community. The purpose behind the message is to let local residents and visitors alike know that local shops, restaurants, attractions, and hotels are open and ready to serve them in the ways that meet their needs.

We’re Ready When You Are! Whether you are ready to visit attractions, dine out, and shop in stores, or if you still are looking for delivery, online ordering, and virtual experiences, the Kenosha Area has you coveredCheck out VisitKenosha.com to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. We have a specific page – linked to from the home page – that lists changes to services at Kenosha Area tourism businesses due to the pandemic. Nearly every business we work with is OPEN! Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest scoop. 

 For those looking to go out, in-person events can be found at Hawthorn Hollow, Kemper Center (Christmas at Kemper opens later this month!), and entertainment venues such as Fusion, Kenosha Comedy Club, and Brat Stop. The Civil War Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, and Dinosaur Discovery Museum are open and also offer virtual events, lectures, and activities. Watch for the Lakeside Players to start another season of live entertainment at Rhode Center for the Arts. 

You can ride the Electric Streetcar, shop at the indoor Kenosha Public Market on Saturdays, or visit a dog park or disc golf course. Art can be viewed at Anderson Arts Center, ArtWorks, and Lemon Street Gallery. You can paint on-site at Alpaca Art Pottery Painting and Pinot’s Palette. Both places also offer options to paint at home. Once it’s cold enough to make snow, Wilmot Mountain will be open for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. 

Our locally owned restaurants are open for in-person dining or takeout. Many also offer delivery and/or curbside pickup. Likewise, while our locally owned shops are open, many also offer delivery, shipping, and/or curbside pickup services. Gift cards from local restaurants and shops are also a great option. Many restaurants and shops have a system in place to take food/product and/or gift card orders online. Jack Andrea, Mars Cheese Castle, Sandy’s Popper, and Modern Apothecary are a few of the great online shopping examples!

Just in time for holiday shopping, the Kenosha History Center has debuted its new online gift shop, in association with The Lettering Machine. Included are apparel in Kenosha, AMC, and Nash designs, as well as a selection of books from the museum’s gift shop. The Kenosha History Center has not yet re-opened due to the pandemic, and its sister museum – the seasonal Southport Light Station Museum – did not open this year. You can support the Kenosha History Center and a local shop at the same time with an online gift shop purchase!

Please consider patronizing Kenosha’s locally owned shops, restaurants, and attractions this holiday season. Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations.

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Snag Some Kenosha Swag 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Please consider patronizing Kenosha’s locally owned shops, restaurants, and attractions this holiday season. You’ll enjoy a unique selection of products and offerings, as well as personalized service and attention from staff. And if it’s Kenosha Swag you’re looking for, there are many options! 

Whether you’re looking for a hometown memento for yourself or you’re shopping for gifts for long-time residents who have now retired to Florida, college students who are missing home, or are part of a pen pal or exchange program with someone who lives in another country, here are some ideas of where you can find Kenosha Swag: 

The Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and Kenosha Public Museum carry a variety of Kenosha keepsakes between the three gift shops. You’ll find everything from museum, streetcar, and lighthouse postcards to magnets, books about Kenosha, City of Kenosha branded items, streetcar replicas, Kenosha posters, and more. The museums also carry items – including books, DVDs, toys, and jewelry  related to each museum’s mission. 

While the Kenosha History Center has not yet re-opened since the pandemic started this past spring, watch for an announcement soon on a new way to access many of their gift shop offerings. The museum’s gift shop has a large selection of books offering information about Kenosha’s history, as well as American Motors Corporation apparel, Southport Lighthouse apparel and figurines, a selection of postcards, and more. 

Jack Andrea has long been known as the “hometown headquarters” thanks to the shop’s own line of Kenosha apparel including K-Town baseball tees and the iconic “Kenosha is my Playground” designs available in a variety of styles. You’ll also find hand-painted Kenosha ornaments, historical Kenosha books, baseball hats, Kenosha tote bags, and other seasonal items, as well. 

Modern Apothecary is a locally owned and operated pharmacy and gift shop in Downtown Kenosha. They carry their own line of custom-made Kenoshathemed hooded sweatshirts, t-shirts, and tote bags, as well as postcards and Wisconsin hats. 

If you are looking for endless options, check out The Lettering Machine. This embroidery and screen printing shop offers grab-and-go designs, as well as custom creations for all your Kenosha swag needs. Choose from one of their many designs or bring your own ideas. You can turn anything into Kenosha Swag here — from pillows and purses to blankets and beanies. A variety of designs are available online – including Kenosha shirts created by The Lettering Machine in support of recovery efforts. 

Among Kenosha’s newest storefronts, To & From Gift Shop is no stranger to the appeal of Kenosha pride. Here you’ll find streetcar stickers, sassy Kenosha tote bags, and more. The inventory is always changing and expanding, so watch for new items to arrive. 

Kenosha’s art galleries are another great way to find Kenosha-themed greeting cards, ornaments, paintings, and more. Many restaurants also have apparel available online! 

Be sure to Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations. 

Check out VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop. 

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FUN 101 COVID-19 Edition 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Just as our local restaurants, shops, and attractions are adapting to the times, so is the team at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. We have just published our second COVID-19 edition of FUN 101. This time, it’s our Fall/Winter FUN 101 COVID-19 Edition: 101 Things to See & Do in the Kenosha Area.   

Is your household going stir crazy and looking for ideas of things to do? After your family vacation was nixed this year, could you use a staycation? Are you new to the area and wondering how to spend your leisure time? Do you need a reminder of some of the local places that could use your support right now? Be sure to consult our FUN 101 list! You could even create a family scavenger hunt from this list. We got you started with 101 ideas, what you do with them is up to you! Get creative!  

Since 2010, we have produced the popular FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!) in the Kenosha Area. The list started in June 2010 as a one-time sample story for media on our website. We wanted to show how much there is to experience here – at a very affordable price. In 2012, we started producing the list twice a year online and in brochure format – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months.  

Within days of receiving delivery of the brochures this past spring, numerous items on the original Spring/Summer 2020 FUN101 list were impacted by COVID-19, making the list obsolete. Conceding to the times, we threw that list out the window and created a COVID-19 edition in May.   

Like the May list, this new Fall/Winter list includes all price ranges – including many FREE items. The list is about seasonal activities, recreation opportunities, landmarks, and attractions, as well as ‘ supporting locally owned shops and restaurants. It’s about in-person activities, new places, to-go dining options, online shopping, virtual experiences, the great outdoors, and even non-monetary ways to support local businesses. The list is currently only published online; it can be found at www.VisitKenosha.com/FUN101 

Even with 101 items on the list, it’s still only a sampling. We partner with more than 130 local restaurants, craft breweries, museums, art galleries, retail establishments, recreation spaces, hotels, and attractions that come together to represent the many unique experiences that bring visitors to our community and give local residents a wonderful quality of life. Our local businesses are continuing to pivot and adjust to the trying circumstances that 2020 has presented. Let’s all do what we can to give them support to keep going.   

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town as you Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations.  

Check out VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop and more insider tips. 

Meridith Jumisko

Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Public Relations Director

MJ@VisitKenosha.com

(262) 654-7307 ext. 13

Tweet to @MJ_KenoshaPR

(This article first appeared in the October 24th 2020 issue of the Smart Reader publication)

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Positive Local Business News
 

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  

There is no doubt this is an uncertain time for Kenosha’s locally owned businesses and organizations. And yet, progress continues. Here is a sampling of what’s new this year. 

This was the first summer that the Kenosha Community Sailing Center (located at the Kenosha Yacht Cluboffered kayak, fishing kayak, and stand up paddle board rentals. Also this summer, the new Kenosha Public Market debutedIts indoor season starts October 10 at Lakefront Dugout, 620 59th Street. You can shop in person on Saturdays or via the KPM2GO Online Store.  

Exciting food shop updates include: a local franchise of Beef Jerky Experience has opened at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets. You can explore over 100 varieties of hand-crafted jerky! Also, Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery’s mini pies are now available in all 13 Sendik’s Food Market locations in the Milwaukee area. At the time of this writing, we’re awaiting news on where their next local physical location will be after their shop closed in late September. 

In restaurant news, El Camino Kitchen is now open at 9900 77th Streetoff of Highway 50. The restaurant offers a SoCal menu with Mexican favorites, gourmet burgers, wings, rice bowls, margaritas, craft beer, and more. Its sister restaurants are La Fogata Mexican Grill and Waterfront Warehouse, under the Roots Hospitality Group. 

The dining venue at The Apis Hotel & Restaurant has opened at 614 56th Street in Downtown Kenosha – complete with a rooftop deck. Led by Executive Chef Danielle Weybright, the focus is on fresh ingredients and shareable plates. Its sister restaurants are Buzz Café, Sazzy B, and The Garage, of the Grease & Honey Restaurant Group. Also new this year in the same neighborhood is The Down Town’R Saloon at 707 56th Street. The restaurant features Southwest cuisine, craft cocktails, and a rooftop bar. Its sister restaurant is Kaiser’s Pizza & Pub.  

Another historic Downtown Kenosha location is seeing new life: the former Barden’s building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 58th Street. Upper East has opened on the second floor. This is an urban wedding and events venue owned by Culinary Infusion, Inc., which also operates Circa on Seventh. On the first floor is the new location of PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co., which has relocated from down the block. The larger space allows the craft brewery to operate a restaurant and have five times its current brewing capacity. 

Our local museums also have news to share. Back in early March, before the Kenosha History Center closed due to the pandemic, a Bain wagon was welcomed into its permanent collection. During the late 19th century, the Bain Wagon Company of Kenosha was one of the largest wagon companies in the world. (This museum has not yet re-opened.) 

The Kenosha Public Museum has re-opened with new visitor policies in place for safety. A new exhibit at the museum is open through October 30: Masters of Their Era – Prints from the Ronald L. and Mary K. Ruble Collection. The show features prominent regional and international artists significant to the advancement of modern printmaking. Selections from the show, along with additional prints, will be donated to the museum. 

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations. 

Check out VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop. 

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Support Local Small Businesses
By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

A lot has happened and changed in our community since my last column. Yet something that never changes is the need to support locally owned, small businesses.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create nearly two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Locally owned businesses are the backbone of a community. They distinguish one community from another, provide jobs, attract visitors, and contribute to the local economy. Local businesses also support area school, community, and charity events. Many are family-owned with multiple generations on staff.

In my experience as a shopper, the owners of small businesses are dedicated to providing excellent customer service. They are often working on-site, whether it’s greeting you at the door, cooking for you, pouring your drink, serving you ice cream, making your popcorn, wrapping your purchase, or facilitating a custom product order.

It’s typically the owner that chooses what to carry in the business. They are the ones meeting with potential vendors, going on buying trips, or taking down barns to salvage wood. That last one is what Scott Buell does for his reclaimed business Against the Grain Creative Concepts. Sisters Barb DeBerge and Kim DeBerge emphasize they seek out interesting handcrafted gifts and accessories to reflect their customer’s unique style at DeBerge’s Framing and Gallery.

Locally owned restaurants often source their fresh ingredients locally. They may grow their own produce like Villa D’Carlo does or select it at a local farmers market like Chef Danielle Weybright from The Apis Hotel & Restaurant does. The Apis also grows ingredients in their kitchen. Live micro greens adorn the walls, which are then cut fresh to garnish most dishes. Homemade, handmade, and made-from-scratch are often the terms used to describe the menu items of local restaurants. The Coffee Pot owners Janis Barnhill and Julie Zorn often note their secret ingredient is cooking with love.

How can you support local businesses? Visit the shops and restaurants for in-person shopping and dining. If you’re not comfortable doing that right now, consider curbside pick-up, delivery, takeout, and online shopping. Yes, even small businesses offer these services. More do now than earlier in the year due to the need created by the pandemic. Purchase gift cards. Let your favorite businesses know you appreciate them. Drop them a line on Facebook; give them a glowing online review.

Entrepreneurs are used to facing challenges along the way to realizing their dream, as they make new goals, adapt to the times, grow, and try to stay relevant. However, 2020 has put challenges in their path like never before. Yet they are persevering, being creative, and doing all they can to stay open for years to come. For small business owners, this isn’t just a job – it’s their life, their passion, their vision. So let’s do our part to help them!

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations.

Check out VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop.

(This article first appeared in the Sept. 25th issue of the Smart Reader

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Another historic Downtown Kenosha location is seeing new life: the former Barden’s building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 58thStreet. Upper East has just opened on the second floor. This is an urban wedding and events venue owned by Culinary Infusion, Inc., which also operates Circa on Seventh. On the first floor will be PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co., which will open next month after relocatingfrom down the block. The larger space will allow the craft brewery to operate a restaurant and have five times its current brewing capacity.

Our local museums also have news to share. Back in early March, before the Kenosha History Center closed due to the pandemic, a Bain wagon was welcomed into its permanent collection. During the late 19th century, the Bain Wagon Company of Kenosha was one of the largest wagon companies in the world. (This museum has not yet re-opened.)

The Kenosha Public Museum has re-opened with new visitor policies in place for safety. A new exhibit at the museum is open through October 30: Masters of Their Era – Prints from the Ronald L. and Mary K. Ruble Collection. The show features prominent regional and international artists significant to the advancement of modern printmaking. Selections from the show, along with additional prints, will be donated to the museum and the Kenosha Public Museum South Gallery is being renamed the Ronald L. and Mary K. Ruble Gallery.

Shop Local, Dine Local, and Play Local! Please remember your mask and maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations.

Check out VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop.

 

It was almost my one-year anniversary working for the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau when a cool new attraction opened in our area: Jelly Belly Visitor Center. The year was 2001. There weren’t all the attractions, sweet shops, and activities available like we have today. So it was especially exciting to have a free place like Jelly Belly to promote to families!

Jelly Belly Candy Company, a family owned and operated business, announced last month that Jelly Belly Visitor Center is closing. The final sale is going on now, while supplies last. The company has been a long-time partner of the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – even before the center opened. We will greatly miss the staff and the attraction!

Right now, I want to think about the happy memories I have of the place. You may have some of your own aboard the Jelly Belly Express! First and foremost, Jelly Belly was one of the first places I ever took my two oldest nephews to. It was a special outing for just the three of us. I’ve gone there with most of my family members over the years. As well as with friends (including for the Halloween event one year, which was very busy!!) and members of the media that I brought there.

I didn’t go on the tour EVERY time I visited – just nearly every time! Who could resist the hat? Or the sample bag of candy you got at the end of the tour? I couldn’t! I went when The Longaberger Company had its basket events there. I would go to the store to buy stocking stuffers and to stock up on my favorite flavors. It was an extra-special treat every time I encountered Mr. Jelly Belly!

During my presentations to third graders about how to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town, the group would get so excited when I discussed Jelly Belly. The students would love to tell me their favorite flavor of the BeanBoozled® jelly beans! As part of the presentation series, the students could enter our essay contest by writing and drawing about their favorite place to visit in Kenosha County. Needless to say, I have read countless essays about Jelly Belly!

In 2017, more fun activities were added to the center. I enjoyed playing the Bean Blitz game, trying out the Smell Stations, and learning even more about the candy company. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the memorable Santa events as well! But for all of our collective favorite memories of Jelly Belly, it will be hard to top the memory of those who got married there. At least one couple did!

Every time I stood in the middle of Jelly Belly Visitor Center’s store, looking around at the bus groups and families, all in their Jelly Belly tour hats still, I would feel like a tourist. I felt like I was on vacation – just having fun in a candy store. In the end, that’s what it was all about. Having fun in a candy store. And I still have every single hat from all the tours I went on.

As always, check out our website VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop!

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Explore Kenosha’s Historic Districts 

Kenosha is a community rich with history and culture. Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and enjoy a walking, biking, or driving tour of our four historic districts. Appreciate the beauty of historic homes, buildings, and landmarks that have been preserved and treasured by our community for over a century. Each district has its own guide, including maps, property histories, photos, and more which can be found on the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website: VisitKenosha.com/Things-To-Do/Historic-Districts.

The Library Park, Third Avenue, and Civic Center historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while the Pearl Street one is listed as a locally designated historic district. You’ll find a variety of architecture styles in the four historic districts: Neo-Classical Revival, Gothic, Georgian Revival, Beaux Arts, Greek Revival, Tudor Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, and more. 

The Civic Center Historic District (56th Street and Sheridan Road) is significant because it was the culmination of two movements of city reform during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century: the movement to physically improve the city and the movement to politically reform the city. It represents a significant event in the history of community planning development in Kenosha and in Wisconsin. The Civic Center was designed to be a unit and most of the buildings were built for a public purpose.  

The Pearl Street Historic District (55th Street and 11th Avenue) began as an extension of the western edge of downtown and was located in an area that had a mixture of commercial and residential buildings. Four buildings are in the district, including the William Seymour House and the Maple House. Both were most popular as a boarding house and saloon that catered to railroad workers and travelers from the adjacent railroad tracks.  

The Library Park Historic District (Seventh Avenue and 59th Place) contains many examples of nineteenth century and early twentieth century architecture. Shortly after the first settlers arrived here in 1835, the land around Library Park was acquired by Charles Durkee and George Kimball. Both donated a portion of their land for a New England type commons, which was first known as “City Park” or, simply, “The Commons.” Settlement around the park continued until available lots were almost entirely occupied by 1861. 

Highlights in this district include: Simmons Library, which was designed by architect Daniel J. Burnham and opened in 1900. A plaque notes the 1915 birthplace of acclaimed actor, writer, director, and producer Orson Welles. The site of an Underground Railroad stop is also marked with a plaque. The Kenosha History Center offers guided walking tours of this district on select dates during the year.

The Third Avenue Historic District (63rd Street and Third Avenue) is Kenosha’s early twentieth century “mansion” district, consisting primarily of large period revival homes on lots that sit along the Lake Michigan shore. Most of the land was part of the real estate holdings of Charles Durkee. Not only is the architecture of the district important, but the Kemper Center complex contributes significantly to the history of education in the community, and many prominent industrialists made this district their home.  

Check out our website VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop!

The story originally appeared in the July 30, 2020 print edition of Smart Reader

Access the water in Kenosha

Kenosha is a Wisconsin Harbor Town – and Lake Michigan is one of our major attractions for out-of-town visitors. We are always hearing positive feedback from travelers on how beautiful our lakefront is.Perhaps you’ve lived here in Kenosha County all your life and have never been on Lake Michigan. Or maybe you rarely even see our Great Lake! This is the perfect summer to explore what’s close to home while staying safe and social distancing amid the pandemic. 

Our Lake Michigan and inland beaches will get you close to the water. Even better though is experiencing a lake from a kayak, charter fishing boat, stand-up paddleboard, sailboat, or even a tall ship. You don’t have any of those laying around in your garage or parking spot? No problem! You have options.

You can rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak at the Kenosha Community Sailing Center located at the Kenosha Yacht Club.Kayaking does not require any formal training. I’ve been told the kayaks being rented are recreational, sit-on-top styled, very stable, and perfect for beginners.Stand-up paddleboarding is great for anyone wanting a good core workout. The rentals are available 10 am – 7pm, Thursday through Sunday, and must be booked online. The sailing center also offers sailing lessons for adults and youths and features radio control boating events.

If you have your own kayak, take advantage of the local access points on the Lake Michigan Water Trail and the Fox River Water Trail. There are maps available online.

No prior fishing experience is required to book and enjoy a charter fishing excursion with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association. Your captain and crew will set bait and cast lines for you, chat with you about Lake Michigan and fishing history in the Kenosha Area, teach you how to reel in fish, and net your catch for you. Charters can be booked in five or six hour outings, and each boat can accommodate up to six guests. Captains will clean your catch for you, and your filets will be bagged for you to take home or to a local restaurant that will cook your fish for you. The crew will even share some of their favorite recipes and freezing tips with you!

Enjoy sailing excursions on the Tall Ship Red Witch or with Sail Away Charters. You can expect some awesome photo opportunities when you are out on Lake Michigan – whether you are out early enough for the sunrise while fishing, out on a sunset sail with Captain Andrew on the Red Witch or his other boat: America’s Cup Sailboat Jakab, or any time in between. (You can submit your favorite pictures to our online Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest at VisitKenosha.com!)

While this isn’t a typical Kenosha summer, there is still a lot to see and do here! Check out our website VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop!

The story originally appeared in the July 16, 2020 print edition of Smart Reader

Capturing Summer Memories

If you’re venturing out of the house this summer, be on the lookout for great photo opportunities. The ongoing Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest, sponsored by the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, is an opportunity for you to show visitors what a wonderful place the Kenosha Area is, no matter the season. 

We are always building our photo library, to use in our online and print marketing efforts. Photos help draw tourists to the community. Tourism, in turn, makes a positive impact on the local economy. The photos should be taken at a public place in Kenosha County. Think photos of recreational activities, landmarks, parks, and attractions.

  Some ideas include photos of fishing or sailing on Lake Michigan, biking on one of the bike trails, or kayaking on the Fox River. Take pics of the incredible architecture found in Kenosha’s four historic districts, signature dishes of local restaurants, or sunrises over Lake Michigan. Submit photos of your family posing beside a mural on the side of a building or next to a sculpture in the Sculpture Walk. And we can never have too many Southport Lighthouse or North Pier Lighthouse photos!

Digital photos may be submitted online in a few quick steps. To enter the contest, log on to the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website at VisitKenosha.com (look under Offers at the top of the page). In early January, all photos submitted during 2020 will be judged. The individuals who submit the top photos will be awarded dinner for two at an area restaurant. Photos will be judged based on content and quality. 

Another way to share your photos with us is by using an I (Heart) Kenosha frame. Pick up your free frame at the I-94 Visitor Information Center and start taking pics of your favorite spaces, places, food, and fun. Then use the #KenoshaFun hashtag to share your framed photos with us on social media. Note, the frame also doubles as a magnet!

If you’ve been specifically documenting the pandemic, feel free to share those photos with the Kenosha History Center so that future generations can learn from these historic times. Some ideas are photos of visiting with family on Zoom or through a window instead of in person, of paper hearts your family created for your front window or a business window, of a birthday parade that went through your neighborhood, of handwritten thank you notes, of at-home haircuts, of flowers you received, or of a food delivery you ordered from a local restaurant. 

While this isn’t a typical Kenosha summer, there is still a lot to see and do here! Check out our website VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop!

Please remember to maintain social distancing when in public and also be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting.
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Activities This Summer In Kenosha 

Yes, many events are not taking place in Kenosha and beyond this summer due to the global pandemic. However, I am choosing to focus on the many fun activities that are still happening in Kenosha. This summer is a great opportunity to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! 

Boundless Adventures, Wilmot Raceway, Brighton Dale Links, Petrifying Springs Golf Course, the Kenosha Charter Boat Association, Wilmot Flea Market, Alpaca Art Pottery Painting, and the family-friendly Petrifying Spring Biergarten await you. Kenosha HarborMarket will open its season on June 27. Also on June 27, the new Kenosha Public Market will make its debut at Veterans Memorial Park, 625 52nd Street.

The Tall Ship Red Witch is expected to start sailing in July. Art galleries are re-opening. You can walk at a park or nature sanctuary, such as Hawthorn HollowPlay disc golf at one of the dedicated disc golf courses. Bring your pooch to a dog park. Enjoy a bike trail or a water trail. Sit and enjoy a sunrise over Lake Michigan. Learn to sail with the Kenosha Community Sailing Center at the Kenosha Yacht Club. Also this summer, the sailing center will be launching kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals. 

As the summer progresses, the museums are expected to re-open. Until then, check out the engaging content on their Facebook pages and websites. The Kenosha Public Museum has summer camp boxes available for you to order right now. The Public Museum’s website also has a Kids Activity Page that covers a variety of topics pertinent to the missions of the Kenosha Public Museum, Civil War Museum, and Dinosaur Discovery Museum. The Kenosha History Center and Southport Light Station Museum also have great content online.

Also be sure to dine and shop local. Our small businesses need us now more than ever! And this is the season to enjoy outdoor dining! Speaking of outdoors … have you visited The Crow’s Nest rooftop bar at The Stella Hotel & Ballroom or The Lakeside Deck at Wyndham Garden – Kenosha Harborside yetAlso in Downtown Kenosha is a new restaurant at 707 56th StreetThe Down Town’R Saloon features Southwest cuisine and craft cocktails.

Something to look forward to later this summer is PUBLIC Craft Brewing Co. moving to a new, expanded location inside the former Barden’s Department Store at 628 58th Street. August is the tentative time frame for that. Meanwhile, Apis Hotel & Restaurant will be opening soon at 614 56th Street. The Isermann Brothers opened Kenosha’s first true department store at this location in 1895.

This is just a small sampling of available activities, as businesses continue to adjust their operations. Consult our website VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, shopping, and event updates. View our FUN 101 list – the COVID-19 version at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101. Included are 101 at-home experiences, to-go items, and outdoor activities. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop!

Do you have friends or family visiting this summer, but you aren’t so sure you want them staying with you? Keep social distancing in mind by booking them a stay at one of Kenosha’s hotels (VisitKenosha.com/Stay)! Or maybe you’re the one traveling? Let our staff at the I-94 Visitor Information Center assist you with your Wisconsin vacation plans!

Please remember to maintain social distancing when in public; be respectful of the safety restrictions that individual places are setting; be patient as everyone is adjusting to new operations. Enjoy!
(This article first appeared in the June 19th, 2020 issue of the Smart reader)
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Summer in Kenosha

This will certainly be a year – and a summer – to remember. Summer in Kenosha, and likely everywhere, will not be the same as years past. Many events are postponed or canceled. Restaurants, shops, and attractions continue to re-open, but may look and feel different for awhileNot all are open yet as some business owners and staff members continue to consider what works for their space as far as social distancing and safety goes. Summer is still going to happen; you may just have to replace some of your favorite activities with new ones. Dig out your bike, take up golf, teach the kids how to fish. Here are some ideas for you, Kenosha-style:

Walk, bike, or drive through Kenosha’s four historic districts. The birthplace of Orson Welles is in the Library Park district. Enjoy the Sculpture Walk, which runs along the harbor and features a dozen works of art. Go for a drive around town and take the time to enjoy the stunning murals that adorn the exterior of many buildings. Enjoy the dinosaur sculptures outside the Dinosaur Discovery Museum.

Take photos of the 1866 Southport Lighthouse and North Pier Lighthouse – and submit your best pix to our online Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest! Pick a park – or walk around your neighborhood – to get in your 10,000 steps. Go birding in your backyard or at a local park. Enjoy a round of golf at Brighton Dale Links or Petrifying Springs Golf Course.  Play disc golf at Fox River Park, Lincoln Park, or Silver Lake Park. 

There are more than 130 miles of bike trails to enjoy in Kenosha County, including the Kenosha County Bike Trail, the Pike Bike Trail, and mountain bike trails at Silver Lake Park. Bike, drive, walk, rollerblade, or sit and relax along the Lake Michigan shore. Go Fish! Consider booking a charter fishing excursion for your family with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association. Have a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board? Experience the Lake Michigan Water Trail or Fox River Water Trail. 

Continue to support local restaurants and shops, whether in person or with an online order. Give a positive online review for your favorite local business or attraction. Visit the attractions as they re-open; Be A Tourist In Your Own Town!  Many of the events that are not happening this summer are organized by local, volunteer-led non-profit organizations. Consider donating to those groups to show your support! Or donate to any local organization for that matter, if you are able.

You’ll find even more ideas on our FUN 101 list – the COVID-19 version. Our original Spring/Summer FUN101 list was greatly affected by COVID-19, so we have replaced that list. The new list of 101 Things To See & Do includes at-home experiences, to-go items, and outdoor activities. Please remember to maintain social distancing when in public. Also keep in mind that this list is subject to change as businesses continue to adjust their operations. The list can be viewed at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101.

Use our website VisitKenosha.com – and sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter – to stay on top of attraction, dining, and shopping updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest scoop!

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Kenosha Trivia 

Whether you’re a long-time Kenosha resident or a newbie to the area, you’ll have fun with the Kenosha Area Activity Book that our staff at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau developed this spring. It’s for all ages and includes coloring, photo quizzes, puzzles, and other activities. There are also 50 trivia questions related to Kenosha! Here are just a few of the trivia questions:

Name the first mammoth that was found east of the Mississippi River butchered by people. It proved Native Americans were in North America 1,500 years earlier than previously thought. Hint: it was excavated in Kenosha County and is featured at the Kenosha Public Museum.

The Dinosaur Discovery Museum opened in 2006. What previously occupied the building?

How many lighthouses does Kenosha have?

Name Kenosha’s four historic districts.

How did Lemon Street Gallery get its name?

In 1900, what Kenosha building opened that was designed by architect Daniel J. Burnham, the leader of design for the World’s Columbian Exposition of Chicago in 1893?

The television show 3rd Rock From The Sun featured a 1962 Rambler American 400 Convertible. This car is now part of which Kenosha museum’s collection (though not currently on display)?

Name the mascot of the Kenosha Kingfish baseball team.

Name the actor from Kenosha who starred in “The Avengers”.

Name the two teammates from Kenosha’s Bradford High School football team who currently play in the National Football League.

What acclaimed actor, writer, director, and producer was born in Kenosha in 1915?

What “Happy Days” actor was from Kenosha?

The Civil War Museum features the 360-degree movie “Seeing the Elephant” in The Fiery Trial exhibit. Which recognized broadcast journalist narrated the movie?

What three-time NASCAR champion competed at Wilmot Raceway in 2019?

Name the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team that played at two different locations in Kenosha, including Simmons Field.

You’ll find the answers to these questions, more trivia, and additional fun in the Kenosha Area Activity Book on our website VisitKenosha.com; there are links to it from the home page. While on our website, you can sign up for our Visit Kenosha Monthly Newsletter to stay on top of attraction, dining, and shopping updates. Also follow Visit Kenosha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest updates! Feel free to reach our staff by Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or email at Info@VisitKenosha.com.

(This article first appeared in the 5/21/20 issues of Smart Reader)

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Support Our Local Businesses 

The local businesses that make our community unique to visitors are the same businesses that we love. Locally owned restaurants and shops can be found throughout the Kenosha Area. These businesses employ our friends and family. These businesses also support local fundraisers and non-profit organizations.  Right now, tourism isn’t possible. So now more than ever our local businesses need us to get them through this pandemic. By supporting local businesses, we are all playing a key role in rebuilding our own community.

During this difficult time, our local businesses and attractions continue to be creative and resilient.  Some never closed and instead quickly adapted to the new environment. Some adjusted their operations and re-opened later. Some are on the sidelines, waiting patiently and prepping for the day they can re-open.

Near the top of our website VisitKenosha.com, you’ll find a COVID-19 Update box with a link to a page on our site. This page is updated regularly to reflect the status of our partner businesses. You’ll see what restaurants – and shops – are offering takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery services. Places that have never offered delivery before are now. Captain Mike’s offers cookout kits, which include everything you need to make Captain’s amazing burgers when you want them! And two restaurants – Franks Diner and The Garage – have changed from being cash-only businesses to accepting credit cards. 

Some shops – like Jack Andrea – have online stores. Sandy’s Popper is delivering your ice cream and popcorn orders directly to you. Alpaca Art Pottery Painting is now offering Grab & Go Pottery Painting Kits. To and From Gift Shop is offering contactless curbside pick-up, while Equinox botanical boutique offers window shopping with contactless pickup. These are just a few examples. You can also support local businesses by purchasing gift cards online (or via phone) for future use.

Many of our partners are also offering at-home entertainment. The Kenosha Public Museum’s Wednesday morning program for preschoolers – Museum Munchkins – now Live Streams on Facebook. The Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and Kenosha History Center are also engaging people with videos, photos, and activities on their Facebook pages. Go to kenoshapublicmuseum.org for a link to family activities. Studio Moonfall is offering free printable coloring pages on its Facebook page. UW-Parkside has its Ranger Cub Activity Book online, while our own Kenosha Area Activity Book is at VisitKenosha.com.

Here’s a special shout-out to just a few of the Kenosha businesses that are doing great deeds during this health crisis: Grab’s Burger Bar is offering free meals for Kenosha Unified students. Century Pub & Eatery has donated food for seniors, people in need, and clients of the Kenosha Literacy Council. Captain Mike’s donated food and Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery donated pies to local health care workers. Mason’s Eatery & Pub, Casa Capri, Rustic Road Brewing Company, Sazzy B, Franks Diner, and Waterfront Warehouse donated food to members of Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill donated food to clients of Women & Children’s Horizons, Inc. The Lettering Machine, a local embroidery and screen-printing shop, is offering a free Kenosha Support Squad t-shirt to people that shop at five locally owned small businesses in Kenosha County. Kenosha-based Jockey International, Inc. donated Personal Protective Equipment to first responders and health care workers across the country, including the Kenosha Fire Department.

Please note that the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Visitor Information Centers are closed. Our staff is actively working from home, so feel free to reach us by Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or email at Info@VisitKenosha.com. We encourage you to continue to check VisitKenosha.com for the latest updates. And remember: our local businesses do a lot for our community. Now we need the community to support our local businesses.

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Support Our Local Businesses 

(This story first appeared in the April 30th issue of the Smart Reader)

The local businesses that make our community unique to visitors are the same businesses that we love. Locally owned restaurants and shops can be found throughout the Kenosha Area. These businesses employ our friends and family. These businesses also support local fundraisers and non-profit organizations.  Right now, tourism isn’t possible. So now more than ever our local businesses need us to get them through this pandemic. By supporting local businesses, we are all playing a key role in rebuilding our own community.

May 3-9 is National Travel & Tourism Week. While the pandemic and its impact on tourism greatly changes the tone and messaging of the week for us here at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we still have much to recognize. During this difficult time, our local businesses and attractions continue to be creative and resilient.  Some never closed and instead quickly adapted to the new environment. Some adjusted their operations and re-opened later. Some are on the sidelines, waiting patiently and prepping for the day they can re-open.

Near the top of our website VisitKenosha.com, you’ll find a COVID-19 Update box with a link to a page on our site. This page is updated regularly to reflect the status of our partner businesses. You’ll see what restaurants – and shops – are offering takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery services. Places that have never offered delivery before are now. Captain Mike’s offers cookout kits, which include everything you need to make Captain’s amazing burgers when you want them! And two restaurants – Franks Diner and The Garage – have changed from being cash-only businesses to accepting credit cards. 

Some shops – like Jack Andrea – have online stores. Sandy’s Popper is delivering your ice cream and popcorn orders directly to you. Alpaca Art Pottery Painting is now offering Grab & Go Pottery Painting Kits. To and From Gift Shop is offering contactless curbside pick-up, while Equinox botanical boutique offers window shopping with contactless pickup. These are just a few examples. You can also support local businesses by purchasing gift cards online (or via phone) for future use.

Many of our partners are also offering at-home entertainment. The Kenosha Public Museum’s Wednesday morning program for preschoolers – Museum Munchkins – now Live Streams on Facebook. The Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and Kenosha History Center are also engaging people with videos, photos, and activities on their Facebook pages. Go to kenoshapublicmuseum.org for a link to family activities. Studio Moonfall is offering free printable coloring pages on its Facebook page. UW-Parkside has its Ranger Cub Activity Book online, while our own Kenosha Area Activity Book is at VisitKenosha.com.

Here’s a special shout-out to just a few of the Kenosha businesses that are doing great deeds during this health crisis: Grab’s Burger Bar is offering free meals for Kenosha Unified students. Century Pub & Eatery has donated food for seniors, people in need, and clients of the Kenosha Literacy Council. Captain Mike’s donated food and Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery donated pies to local health care workers. Mason’s Eatery & Pub, Casa Capri, Rustic Road Brewing Company, Sazzy B, Franks Diner, and Waterfront Warehouse donated food to members of Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill donated food to clients of Women & Children’s Horizons, Inc. The Lettering Machine, a local embroidery and screen-printing shop, is offering a free Kenosha Support Squad t-shirt to people that shop at five locally owned small businesses in Kenosha County. Kenosha-based Jockey International, Inc. is donating Personal Protective Equipment to first responders and health care workers across the country, including the Kenosha Fire Department.

Please note that the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Visitor Information Centers are closed. Our staff is actively working from home, so feel free to reach us by Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or email at Info@VisitKenosha.com. We encourage you to continue to check VisitKenosha.com for the latest updates. And remember: our local businesses do a lot for our community. Now we need the
community to support our local businesses.

The local businesses that make our community unique to visitors are the same businesses that we love. Locally owned restaurants and shops can be found throughout the Kenosha Area. These businesses employ our friends and family. These businesses also support local fundraisers and non-profit organizations.  Right now, tourism isn’t possible. So now more than ever our local businesses need us to get them through this pandemic. By supporting local businesses, we are all playing a key role in rebuilding our own community.

May 3-9 is National Travel & Tourism Week. While the pandemic and its impact on tourism greatly changes the tone and messaging of the week for us here at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we still have much to recognize. During this difficult time, our local businesses and attractions continue to be creative and resilient.  Some never closed and instead quickly adapted to the new environment. Some adjusted their operations and re-opened later. Some are on the sidelines, waiting patiently and prepping for the day they can re-open.

Near the top of our website VisitKenosha.com, you’ll find a COVID-19 Update box with a link to a page on our site. This page is updated regularly to reflect the status of our partner businesses. You’ll see what restaurants – and shops – are offering takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery services. Places that have never offered delivery before are now. Captain Mike’s offers cookout kits, which include everything you need to make Captain’s amazing burgers when you want them! And two restaurants – Franks Diner and The Garage – have changed from being cash-only businesses to accepting credit cards. 

Some shops – like Jack Andrea – have online stores. Sandy’s Popper is delivering your ice cream and popcorn orders directly to you. Alpaca Art Pottery Painting is now offering Grab & Go Pottery Painting Kits. To and From Gift Shop is offering contactless curbside pick-up, while Equinox botanical boutique offers window shopping with contactless pickup. These are just a few examples. You can also support local businesses by purchasing gift cards online (or via phone) for future use.

Many of our partners are also offering at-home entertainment. The Kenosha Public Museum’s Wednesday morning program for preschoolers – Museum Munchkins – now Live Streams on Facebook. The Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, and Kenosha History Center are also engaging people with videos, photos, and activities on their Facebook pages. Go to kenoshapublicmuseum.org for a link to family activities. Studio Moonfall is offering free printable coloring pages on its Facebook page. UW-Parkside has its Ranger Cub Activity Book online, while our own Kenosha Area Activity Book is at VisitKenosha.com.

Here’s a special shout-out to just a few of the Kenosha businesses that are doing great deeds during this health crisis: Grab’s Burger Bar is offering free meals for Kenosha Unified students. Century Pub & Eatery has donated food for seniors, people in need, and clients of the Kenosha Literacy Council. Captain Mike’s donated food and Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery donated pies to local health care workers. Mason’s Eatery & Pub, Casa Capri, Rustic Road Brewing Company, Sazzy B, Franks Diner, and Waterfront Warehouse donated food to members of Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill donated food to clients of Women & Children’s Horizons, Inc. The Lettering Machine, a local embroidery and screen-printing shop, is offering a free Kenosha Support Squad t-shirt to people that shop at five locally owned small businesses in Kenosha County. Kenosha-based Jockey International, Inc. is donating Personal Protective Equipment to first responders and health care workers across the country, including the Kenosha Fire Department.

Please note that the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Visitor Information Centers are closed. Our staff is actively working from home, so feel free to reach us by Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or email at Info@VisitKenosha.com. We encourage you to continue to check VisitKenosha.com for the latest updates. And remember: our local businesses do a lot for our community. Now we need the
community to support our local businesses.

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Spring and Summer fun in Kenosha

This story originally appeared in the March 12th, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.

In Kenosha each year, there are the early signs of Spring. Like Big Star Drive-In opening for the season. Golfers heading back out to the golf courses. More runners and walkers gravitating to the lakefront. The electric streetcars running seven days a week again. And the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau releasing its new Spring/Summer FUN 101 list. This is our list of 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!). FUN 101 is updated twice a year – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months. The 2020 Spring/Summer list is NOW available!

Looking for fun on a budget? Ideas of what to do when the kids are home during Spring Break or summer vacation? Do you have friends or family visiting from out of town? Are you in charge of arranging a group outing for seniors or scouts? Or perhaps you’re planning a birthday party or a girls’ night out. The list includes events, seasonal activities, attractions, shops, recreation opportunities, restaurants, landmarks, and more.

Use the FUN 101 list to discover – and/or re-discover – what is in your backyard! Be A Tourist In Your Own Town and enjoy affordable adventures close to home. Take pride in what your hometown offers. Perhaps you’ll find a new hobby or volunteer opportunity.

Did you know there are at least SEVEN local outdoor summer concert series that are FREE? The dates for Lincoln Park Live, Twilight Jazz, Tuesdays At The Shell, Peanut Butter & Jam, and the new Bristol Woods Park one are on the FUN 101 list. Also mentioned are the Kenosha Pops concerts and the summer concert series at the Petrifying Spring Biergarten.

The Crow’s Nest – the rooftop bar at The Stella Hotel & Ballroom – gets a shout-out. The newly re-opened Anderson Arts Center is also featured. Bike trails and water trails are mentioned, as are historic district walking tours, beaches, and drive-ins. The Electric Streetcar, Lakefront Trolley, and Metra train are included. Wilmot Flea Market, Kenosha ArtMarket, Kenosha HarborMarket, and more Farmer Markets are on the list. FUN 101 will also have you climbing a lighthouse, bringing your classic car to cruise-in nights, playing disc golf, and dining in the Garden of Eatin’.

What’s listed first this year? That would be the Kenosha Homecoming Car Show. It’s believed that there is no larger AMC show in the world. Close to 1,000 cars were on display in 2017, when the show was last held. The Kenosha History Center organizes the week of events, July 21-26. The car show is on July 25; it’s free for spectators. There will be visitors from around the world staying at our hotels, dining at local restaurants, and checking out the sights. You can too!

The FUN 101 list is available online at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101. The list is also offered as a print piece. You can pick up the brochure at one of our Visitor Information Centers: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha or at I-94 & Hwy. 165. The brochure serves as a seasonal companion to the annual Kenosha Area Visitors Guide. You can reach us by phone at (262) 654-7307 with questions.

I hope you enjoy this edition of FUN 101. I spearhead the project, and list each item with you – the reader – in mind. I want to show the variety of activities that are available here. And keep in mind – this is a $10 & under list. That means there are additional attractions to visit and be proud of! Now go find and enjoy your #KenoshaFun!

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Capturing Kenosha in photos

This story originally appeared in the February 27th, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.

Do you love to take photos? This year, consider submitting your best photos of Kenosha to the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest. This is an opportunity for you to show off your hometown! Start thinking of your favorite places and Be A Tourist In Your Own Town. Put yourself in the shoes of our visitors – what should they see when they are here? Then share your favorite pix with us and you could win dinner for two!

We’ve all heard the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” – right? Well, photos help draw tourists to the community. Tourism, in turn, provides jobs, lowers personal taxes, improves our local economy, and provides a positive community image, which is critical for economic development. In 2018, visitor spending in Kenosha County reached a record $227.8 million – an increase of 6.7% over the prior year. Kenosha County currently ranks 18th out of 72 Wisconsin counties for annual visitor spending. Did you know that without the state and local taxes generated by tourism, each Wisconsin household would need to pay an additional $680 in taxes to maintain the current level of government services? As you can see, tourism is important! (2019 figures will be released in May.)

Last month, we announced the winners of the 2019 Picture Your Kenosha Photo Contest. The first-place photo – “Sails up at sunrise” – was taken during the Kenosha Tall Ships Festival by Jeff Hansen of Kenosha. The second-place photo – “Ollie” – was taken near Kenosha Creative Space in Downtown Kenosha by Samantha Vaughn of Kenosha. The third-place photo – “Learning Opportunities” – was taken of the bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and John Hay at Carthage College by Tom Coates of Kenosha. Next January, we could be announcing your name as a winner and you could be on your way to a delicious dining experience! Twisted Cuisine, Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill, and La Fogata Mexican Grill were sponsors of the 2019 contest.

We are particularly interested in photos of recreational activities, landmarks, festivals, events, and attractions. We welcome photos from any season. Examples include photos of sledding or skiing in the winter, playing at a dog park or golfing in the spring, fishing or enjoying a concert in the park during the summer, and biking or visiting a market in the fall. The key is that the photos should be taken at a public place where visitors can go and experience what’s shown in the photo.

Digital photos may be submitted online in a few quick and easy steps. Everyone is eligible to enter the contest, however the photos must be taken in Kenosha County. To enter the contest, log on to our website at VisitKenosha.com/offers/photo-contest. Print photos or a CD of photos may be submitted as well, with an entry form.

Each photo submitted has the chance to be used on VisitKenosha.com, in the Kenosha Area Visitors Guide, and in other marketing, to promote the Kenosha Area as a fun and exciting place for out-of-town visitors. At the end of the year, all photos submitted during 2020 will be judged. The individuals who submit the top photos will be awarded dinner for two at an area restaurant. Photos will be judged based on content and quality.

Learn more about what you can see and do in the Kenosha Area at VisitKenosha.com or call us at (262) 654-7307. Pick up a 2020 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide at one of our Visitor Information Centers: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha or at I-94 & Hwy. 165. You can also view the Visitors Guide on our website.

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Upcoming local food & beverage events

This story originally appeared in the February 13th, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.

While the 2020 edition of Kenosha Restaurant Week is now in our rearview mirror, there are still many more fun food and beverage events to look forward to in the Kenosha Area this year! Mark these events on your calendar now:

The 20th Great Kenosha Area Pizza Bakeoff is on February 23 at Parkway Chateau, which is located at the north end of Brat Stop. Sample and vote for your favorite pizzas while also raising funds for kids’ programs in and around the Kenosha Area.

Taking a brief break from its winter hibernation, the Petrifying Springs Biergarten will be open the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. Among the activities planned there is the Leprechaun & Lederhosen .1K Beer Run on March 14. It’s promoted as a “grueling”, straight, flat 100-meter course. The event supports the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha.

The 20th annual Bowls & Books Soup Fest Contest is March 25 at Rhode Center for the Arts. You get to taste and score each soup, served up by local restaurants. All proceeds go toward the continued renovation of the historic Rhode Center for the Arts, which is the home of Lakeside Players, a non-profit community theatre group that formed in 1973.

The Kenosha History Center Mac & Cheese Throwdown is a new family-friendly event on April 4. It takes place at the Wyndham Garden – Kenosha Harborside. Taste and vote for your favorite mac & cheese that’s provided by local restaurants. Help preserve Kenosha County history at the same time!

The Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival happens on April 25 at Brat Stop and Parkway Chateau. This fun-filled event features a variety of Wisconsin cheeses, some of the most sought-after beers from Wisconsin and beyond as well as great live music. The annual event supports the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. If you have friends or family attending the event from out-of-town – or if you want to turn the event into a mini staycation – a few local hotels are offering packages which include a hotel stay and tickets.

Kenosha Craft Beer Week is May 9-17. The Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast is June 20 at Weis-Way  Dairy. The Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha produces its 12th annual Taste of Wisconsin July 24-26. Proceeds benefit local charities and community programs. Border War Beer Fest is August 1. This is a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and is co-produced by BrewFest Partners. Who loves sweet corn like I do? The family-friendly Jerry Smith Sweet Corn Fest is August 8-9. Meanwhile, Cheese-A-Palooza is September 5-6.

Many Oktoberfest events take place in September. Here are the dates and locations that we know of so far: September 11-12 at House of Gerhard, September 12 at Old Settlers Park, September 18-20 at the Petrifying Springs Biergarten, and September 26 at Kemper Center. Looking even further ahead, the Kenosha History Center Chili Cook-Off is October 17.

Go to VisitKenosha.com/Events for details on these and many more events. For more information about fun in Kenosha, you can also call us at (262) 654-7307 or visit one of the two Visitor Information Centers that we staff: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha and at I-94 & Hwy. 165. Be sure to pick up our 2020 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide!

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Plan your event in Kenosha

This story originally appeared in the January 16, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.

Here at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we are often contacted about event space. When it comes to planning the perfect special event in the Kenosha Area, our team is here to help. From sports tournaments, conferences, and corporate meetings to weddings, reunions, and group tours, we’ve got the expertise to find just the right venue for your needs.

If you’re planning a wedding, party, meeting or other special event this year, we have some venue ideas for you. Many of these options are in historic buildings or offer additional amenities such as museum exhibits to explore.

Our hotels with abundant event space include The Stella Hotel & Ballroom and Wyndham Garden-Kenosha Harborside. Country Inn & Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites each have a meeting room for modest sized groups. Consider Carthage College or University of Wisconsin-Parkside for large event spaces with ample technology access.

Banquet facilities include Circa on Seventh, Kemper Center, and Parkway Chateau at Brat Stop. Unique venues also include The Civil War Museum, Fusion-Kenosha Performing Arts Association, GFWC Woman’s Club of Kenosha, Italian American Supper Club, Kenosha Creative Space, and the Kenosha Public Museum.

The O at Backyard Dream Studios offers day passes or memberships for individuals and professionals in a co-office space setting, with space to meet with clients, work quietly, and conference room access. In its off-season, Wilmot Mountain has indoor and outdoor facilities available for weddings, banquets, 5K runs, meetings, and much more.

Numerous restaurants offer private rooms for gathering. Please keep in mind that many restaurants will open outside of normal hours to accommodate special events and groups, and also offer catering off-site.

Looking for more fun party ideas? The Kenosha YMCA offers a variety of party packages. Depending on your interests, you can have a pool party, an obstacle course festivity, a dance party, a science-themed gathering, or a rock-climbing adventure. Birthday parties for all ages can be held at Robin’s Nest Cakery. Or you can have a pie-making party at Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery.

We also have many icebreaker, team-building, and pre- and post- meeting activities for your event. Zipline and climb at Boundless Adventures, sail on the Tall Ship Red Witch, ride the Electric Streetcar, paint at Alpaca Art Pottery Painting or Pinot’s Palette, laugh together at the Kenosha Comedy Club, fish with the Kenosha Charter Boat Association, go snow tubing at Wilmot Mountain, visit a local brewery or Petrifying Springs Biergarten, attend a Kenosha Kingfish baseball game, or enjoy a round of golf. The options are endless (and, of course, depend on the time of year).

You need not leave town to have a fun event! Contact us today for event planning assistance! Log on to VisitKenosha.com for details on these and more places. You can also call us at (262) 654-7307 or visit one of the two Visitor Information Centers that we staff: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha and at I-94 & Hwy. 165.  Our new 2020 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide is now available.

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A year for celebrating!

This story originally appeared in the January 2, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.

Happy New Year! This month, the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s NEW 2020 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide debuts. Intended for visitors to our community, residents will also find the guide helpful to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! Here’s a sneak peek! On page seven of the new guide, we recognize these important 2020 milestones:

DeBerge’s Framing and Gallery turns 130 years old. Established in 1890, Henry W. DeBerge’s great-granddaughters now run the shop. Meanwhile, it’s 100 years for the Kenosha County Fair. The Centennial Celebration will be part of this year’s fair Aug. 19-23.

Also turning 100 is Simmons Field! Many baseball players have played here since 1920. Teams such as the Kenosha Twins, Kenosha Kings, Kenosha Chiefs, Kenosha Kroakers, and Kenosha Mammoths have called Simmons Field home – as have the Kenosha Comets, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team (which we learned about in the movie “A League of Their Own”). The pop group NSync even played a charity softball game here – my sister and I were there! The Kenosha Kingfish opens their seventh season at Simmons Field on May 26.

The Kenosha YMCA is celebrating its 90th year. Here’s a fun fact: automaker Charles Nash and his wife were instrumental in the formation of the Kenosha YMCA in 1930. The Kenosha Symphony Orchestra is in the midst of its 80th season. The organization was established in 1940. Two concerts remain this season: Broadway Comes To Kenosha on March 14 and a Celebration of Beethoven is on May 2.

Tenuta’s Delicatessen turns 70 years old on April 1. In 1920, John N. Tenuta left Italy to seek his fortune in the United States. He opened the old-fashioned Italian deli in 1950. Today, the third generation runs the shop. Also 70 years old is the Kenosha Art Association. In existence since 1950, this organization is dedicated to art enrichment in the community.

Electric Streetcar service returned to Kenosha 20 years ago this June. From 1903 to 1932, electric rail was a regular mode of transportation in Kenosha. In honor of the 20th anniversary, we offer a “Name That Streetcar” quiz on page 21 of the 2020 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide. Test your streetcar knowledge! Each Kenosha streetcar has a name and color scheme that represents the legacy of streetcar transportation in North America. We give you the opportunity to match the streetcar’s color scheme to its name.

The Southport Light Station Museum is celebrating 10 years. After years of extensive remodeling and renovation, the 1867 Light Station keeper’s house opened in May 2010 as a maritime museum, paired with the 1866 Southport Lighthouse that’s open for tower climbs. Both features are open seasonally.

Congratulations to all! Once our new Visitors Guide is available, you can find it at VisitKenosha.com, numerous places around town, and at our two Visitor Information Centers: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha and at I-94 & Hwy. 165.  You can also call us at (262) 654-7307 with any questions.

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Winter Break in Kenosha

This story originally appeared in the Smart Reader, December 19th, 2019

Whether you call it Winter Recess, Winter Break, or Christmas Break, it’s a great time to set aside the normal routine, get up without an alarm, unplug from the office, relax with family, and have fun. I firmly believe in taking one every year – hey, it’s not just for kids!
Given my job, I can give you many ideas of what to do during this time. I could give you 101 ideas! Be sure to check out our current FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under (Many are FREE!). It’s available at VisitKenosha.com/FUN101. And that’s just a start!

Our website is full of ideas of places to dine, shop, and play at. Here are a few options: Wilmot Mountain is a great place for winter fun! The resort boasts 120 skiable acres, 23 unique trails, a newly transformed terrain park, a 22-lane tubing area, a state-of-the-art ski school, and three places to eat. The attraction welcomes newcomers while also catering to seasoned skiers and riders. A Kids New Year’s Eve Bash will be held on Dec. 31.
If you’re not outdoorsy, you have your pick of local museums to visit! The Rambler Gallery at the Kenosha History Center has two new exhibits and a new set of cars on display. The AMC Design Studio features two clay concept models by a team of former AMC designers as it takes a look at the design side of our local automotive history. The museum also debuts its first dedicated exhibit on the impact of engine manufacturing in Kenosha, thanks to generous donations of artifacts, photographs, and more from UAW Local 72. Also view two rare Kenosha automobiles: a Nash Pickup – they didn’t make many – and the one-of-a-kind 1972 Gremlin “Voyageur”.
Meanwhile, the annual Frost Fest with free family activities takes place at the Kenosha Public Museum from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec 27 and 30. The theme on Dec. 27 is Norwegian Traditions, while on Dec. 30, discover how people around the world celebrate the New Year. Make decorations for your own celebration! Just as entertaining and educational are visits to the nearby Civil War Museum and Dinosaur Discovery Museum. Take a ride aboard the Electric Streetcar while you’re in Downtown Kenosha!

Going out for a treat is also a fun outing! Have a malt at the vintage soda fountain counter at Jack Andrea. Enjoy a shake at Bristol 45 Diner. Go for ice cream at Sandy’s Popper or Scoops Ice Cream and Candy. Pick your favorite pie flavor at Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery. Enjoy a cupcake at Robin’s Nest Cakery or a smoothie at Nutrition Revolution.

Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! Log on to VisitKenosha.com for details on these and more places. You can also call us at (262) 654-7307 or visit one of the two Visitor Information Centers that we staff: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha and at I-94 & Hwy. 1

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Shop Kenosha

This story originally appeared in the Smart Reader, December 5, 2019

Are you scurrying about looking for presents and stocking stuffers? Whether you want to shop local, shop small, or just shop unique – I have ideas!

We list numerous locally owned shops at VisitKenosha.com/Shop. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Seebecks. Also known as Seebeck Gallery, the shop owned by Vicki and Jon Seebeck is closing at the end of this month after 27 years in business. We thank the Seebecks for all they have done in the community!

More places to shop include Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets (80+ stores) and Jelly Belly Visitor Center. Museum gift shops carry a variety of Kenosha keepsakes as well as items related to each museum’s mission. For example, the Kenosha History Center has AMC and lighthouse clothing, among other gifts.

Art galleries offer handmade gifts. Lemon Street Gallery & Artspace is hosting the Artistree Giftable Art Show & Sale through Dec. 24. You can also find handmade gifts at Kenosha Winter HarborMarket on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. inside the Kenosha Masonic Center at 115 56th Street. The market takes place on two days with expanded hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) Dec. 7-8 as part of Kenosha HarborHoliday – International Market & Festival. The market will be outdoors in heated tents on pavement east of the Kenosha Public Museum and Civil War Museum. There will be more than 50 food, gift, and produce vendors. Be sure to go INSIDE the museums as well, as there will be more vendors – especially at the International Holiday Faire inside the Kenosha Public Museum. It will feature foods, gifts, and crafts from around the world.

Give the gift of an experience! I love to give – and receive – restaurant gift cards. Did you know the Kenosha Charter Boat Association offers gift certificates? A Wilmot Mountain gift card would also look great under the tree, just as a Kenosha Kingfish gift card would be a hit. The baseball team opens their seventh season at Historic Simmons Field on May 26. Or hit a hole in one with gift cards to Brighton Dale Links and Petrifying Springs Golf Course. It’s never too early to think spring!

Surprise your family and friends with tickets to an upcoming Lakeside Players production at Rhode Center for the Arts – or to a Kenosha Symphony Concert. The Bristol Renaissance Faire’s Holidazzle Ticket Sale continues through Jan. 6; the new season opens July 11. Do you know country music fans? I sure do!! Tickets are on sale now for next summer’s Country Thunder. Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown, and Dustin Lynch are among the stars who will be here July 16-19.

And there you have it. Just a few ideas to get you started – and closer to being finished – with your shopping! Log on to VisitKenosha.com for details and even more ideas. For more information you can also call us at (262) 654-7307 or visit one of the two Visitor Information Centers that we staff: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha and at I-94 & Hwy. 165.

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Local Holiday Events

This story originally appeared in the Smart Reader, November 21, 2019

I can’t decide which events I look forward to more – outdoor summer ones like the Kenosha County Fair or holiday ones like Kenosha HarborHoliday! Luckily a ton of great events take place in Kenosha County throughout the year to entertain us all. I should know as I oversee the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Event Calendar! Numerous holiday events are listed at VisitKenosha.com/Events; here are a just a few to get you started. 

The UW-Parkside Winter Arts and Crafts Fair is Nov. 23. This one is always a big one! Meanwhile, Artistree takes place at Lemon Street Gallery & Artspace, Nov. 27 – Dec. 24. This is a juried one-of-a-kind giftable art show. Each year, between 32 and 40 artists have their artwork for sale. 

Lightin’ Up! Downtown happens Nov. 29 in Downtown Kenosha. The City of Kenosha Christmas Tree Lighting takes place outside on the west side of the Kenosha Public Museum. Musical entertainment begins at 4 p.m., then Santa and Mayor Antaramian will count down to the tree lighting at 5 p.m. Santa will be at Rhode Center for the Arts following the tree lighting. Downtown businesses will stay open late with special sales and promotions, family-friendly activities, and more.

Christmas at Kemper is a series of holiday events (many are free) at the historic Kemper Center, which includes Durkee Mansion. The festivities begin with a gala on Nov. 30. Note: all of the events will take place at Kemper Center’s main complex this year (some changed from Anderson Arts Center). The Lakeside Players production of Miracle on 34th St. – A Live Musical Radio Play takes place Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15 at Rhode Center for the Arts.

Kenosha HarborHoliday – International Market & Festival is Dec. 7-8. This year’s expanded two-day event showcases the celebrations and flavors of the holiday season across cultures. It’s a combination of indoor and outdoor events offering fun and food for the entire family, plus holiday shopping. Enjoy a special edition of Kenosha HarborMarket in two outdoor heated tents on pavement east of the museums, the Kenosha Public Museum’s International Holiday Faire, the Civil War Museum’s Victorian Christmas, family activities provided by the Kenosha Public Library, free rides with storytellers aboard the Electric Streetcars, art activities, and much more. There will be living history presentations, live music, and a holiday reception with President Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Claus will help kids write letters to Santa – and I hear Santa himself will make a cameo appearance at the Kenosha Public Museum on the afternoon of Dec. 8.

Speaking of Santa, he will be at Jelly Belly Visitor Center on Dec. 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. The same day, the Holiday Boutique Sale takes place at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum. The Kenosha Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert is Dec. 14 at the Ralph J. Houghton Performance Center at Reuther High School, while the Kenosha Pops Concert Band presents its free Christmas concert on the same evening at Carthage College. 

Log on to VisitKenosha.com/Events for details on these events and many more. For more information you can also call us at (262) 654-7307 or visit one of the two Visitor Information Centers that we staff: at 600 – 52nd Street, Suite 140 in Downtown Kenosha and at I-94 & Hwy. 165.


Visitors Bureau is collecting warm winter clothing items

This article originally appeared in The Smart Reader, November 7th, 2019

For the ninth year, the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s two Visitor Information Centers are serving as collection sites for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s annual Big Bundle Up charity drive. You’re invited to drop off new or gently used coats, sweaters, hats, and mittens. All donations, accepted now through November 25 at our two centers, will stay in the community and be distributed to those in need through ELCA Outreach Center.

Our I-94 Visitor Information Center is located at the southeast corner of I-94 and Hwy. 165, at 10519 – 120th Ave. This time of year, it’s staffed Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Downtown Visitor Information Center is staffed Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please note if you have donated Big Bundle Up items in the past at our Downtown location, we are now at a new address. We are in the Harborview Office Center at 600 52nd Street, Suite 140. This is north of the City of Kenosha Municipal Building.

When you drop off a donation, be sure to pick up a Kenosha Area Visitors Guide and our Fall/Winter FUN 101 brochure: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under – Many are FREE! We also carry the brochures of local attractions, shops, restaurants, and hotels. Let us be your resource to discover or re-discover the many great things we have to do here. Be A Tourist In Your Own Town! And that’s not all! The I-94 Visitor Information Center carries 350 different publications for destinations, attractions, and events throughout the state. Let us help you plan your next Wisconsin vacation!

This year, the Civil War Museum is also a collection site for Big Bundle Up, in conjunction with its current special exhibit: “Hold Your Horses!”. This is a display of Civil War Museum artifacts and history surrounding the First Regiment Wisconsin Cavalry. These soldiers trained in Kenosha on the grounds of Green Ridge Cemetery from November 1861 to March 1862.  “Their commanders put out requests in the local paper for citizens to donate any winter clothing, blankets, hats, mittens, etc. to the men as they were ill equipped to handle the winter weather,” according to Doug Dammann, Education Manager for the Kenosha Public Museums. Big Bundle Up at the Civil War Museum is a continuation of those efforts to support people in need!

In its first eight years, the program has collected 155,893 warm winter items statewide to help families in need. In addition to the KACVB’s two locations, other collection sites are located throughout the state. The KACVB has collected more than 10,400 items. 

The charity drive started in December 2011 as The Great Lakes Mitten Campaign and involved Michigan – as the “mitten state” is one of its nicknames. In light of all the buzz that surrounded the image of a Wisconsin-shaped mitten on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s website TravelWisconsin.com and its social media sites, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Michigan’s tourism brand Pure Michigan joined forces to collect mittens for charity.

So when you’re getting out your winter clothing or shopping the early holiday sales, please consider the Big Bundle Up. Think of the people who can’t afford warm clothing this winter. They thank you – and the Visitors Bureau thanks you – for your donation.

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Explore Kenosha!

This article originally appeared in The Smart Reader, October 24th, 2019

Are you familiar with the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (KACVB)? We are a private, not-for-profit corporation that was established in 1986 as the official destination marketing organization for Kenosha County. We are the ones that publish the Kenosha Area Visitors Guide, and have an awesome event calendar – with a lot more information – at VisitKenosha.com. We also keep you in the know about #KenoshaFun on social media and provide helpful information at two Visitor Information Centers.

Our mission is to increase visitor appreciation of and spending in Kenosha County, thus improving the economy of the region. Tourism is a real thing here! Visitor spending in Kenosha County continued its upward trend in 2018, reaching a record $227.8 million – an increase of 6.7% over the prior year. Kenosha County currently ranks 18th out of 72 Wisconsin counties for annual visitor spending. Tourism provides jobs, lowers personal taxes, improves our local economy, and provides a positive community image, which is critical for economic development. We promote the Kenosha Area as a fun, friendly, refreshing, and affordable overnight tourism destination to individuals, groups, and businesses throughout the world. We also encourage local residents to Be A Tourist In Your Own Town!

As you explore Kenosha, be sure to use our 2019 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide and VisitKenosha.com as your reference guides! Also check out our NEW Fall/Winter FUN 101 list: 101 Things to See & Do for $10 & Under – Many are FREE! Available online, this list will give you many ideas of how you can experience Kenosha like a tourist. The list is also available in brochure format at our Visitor Information Centers.

The list is updated twice a year – for the fall/winter and spring/summer months. A variety of affordable activities and events are listed. You can refer to the list when entertaining out-of-town family and friends, planning a date night, or organizing a play date for the kids. Use the list to discover places that are new to you or to reacquaint yourself with long-time favorites. Be reminded that there are numerous attractions, parks, restaurants, shops, and events to enjoy close to home.

If you’re looking for #KenoshaFun, we have you covered! Find your fun at VisitKenosha.com. Our website has the event calendar, two e-newsletters you can sign up for, the online Visitors Guide, the FUN 101 list, our blog that community members contribute to, and much more. There’s also a photo contest you can enter online: we want your photos of local recreational activities, landmarks, festivals and events, and attractions. Think of public places where visitors can go. Help us show tourists what a wonderful place the Kenosha Area is, and you could win dinner for two at a local restaurant! Be sure to follow Visit Kenosha on social media to receive updates about events and more.

You can also stop by one of our Visitor Information Centers. The Downtown Kenosha location offers Kenosha Area brochures at 600 52nd Street, Suite 140. We also staff the Visitor Information Center at I-94 & Hwy. 165. The center carries 350 different publications for destinations, attractions, and events throughout the state. Stop at our I-94 location the first Friday of each month between noon and 3 p.m. for First Fridays – a mini expo with area businesses/attractions. You can also call us for information at (262) 654-7307.

 

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Kenosha Tourism Through The Years

By Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Director at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Here at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we encourage you to support our local businesses during and after this difficult time. We recommend you use our website VisitKenosha.com as a resource. As we eagerly wait for there to be travel and tourism again, let’s look at some of Kenosha’s major tourism developments over the past 35 years or so.

The Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau was established in 1986 and published its first Kenosha Area Visitors Guide in 1987. In 1988, Lakeside Marketplace (now Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets) opened. Two years later, Dairyland Greyhound Park would open.

In June 2000, Electric Streetcar service returned to Kenosha. The following year, Jelly Belly Visitor Center opened – and so began my collection of paper hats from taking many free tours aboard the Jelly Belly Express over the years! In September 2001, the new Kenosha Public Museum building opened at HarborPark. I remember thinking at the time how much larger it was compared to its original space – which is now the Dinosaur Discovery Museum!

The Kenosha History Center opened at a new location on Simmons Island in 2001. With the move from a mansion on Third Avenue, the Kenosha County Historic Society’s museum could now showcase the community’s automotive history with car exhibits. In 2003Kenosha HarborMarket was startedthe indoor winter market would start five years later

In 2006, the Dinosaur Discovery Museum opened. The Carthage Institute of Paleontology’s paleontology lab is housed in the museum’s lower level. The Civil War Museum opened in 2008. Yes, we’ve had people ask why there’s such a museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This museum shares unique personal stories as it focuses on the contributions of the Upper Middle West – Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, and Michigan – to the Civil War. These states played a vital role by providing troops and supplies to the cause, even though no battles were fought in this region. 

In 2009, the Wisconsin Marathon made its debut, as did Taste of Wisconsin™. This is the same year when the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau started staffing the I-94 Visitor Information CenterThe seasonal Southport Light Station Museum opened in 2010. After years of extensive renovation, the 1867 Light Station keeper’s house opened as a maritime museum featuring artifacts, maps, and information about Kenosha’s important 19th century harbor. A feature of the museum is the 1866 Southport Lighthouse tower, which is available to climb part of the year.

In 2011, the Sculpture Walk debuted along Kenosha’s harbor. The Bristol Renaissance Faire celebrated 25 years in 2012. Downtown Kenosha was designated a Wisconsin Main Street Community in 2013. Kenosha Kingfish played its inaugural season at a renovated Simmons Field in 2014.

Dream Playground was built at Petzke Park in 2015, while the Washington Park Velodrome was renovated in 2015-2016. Tall Ship Red Witch sailing excursions were first offered in Kenosha in 2016. That same year, Vail Resorts unveiled more than $13 Million worth of improvements at Wilmot MountainAdditions have recently been added to county parks: the Petrifying Springs Biergarten opened in 2017 and Boundless Adventures at Bristol Woods Park opened in 2019. 

In 2019, a $4.3 million preservation and modernization project took place at Anderson Arts Center and Kenosha ArtMarket debuted at Union Park. Which brings us to the present day. Our attractions, restaurants, shops, and hotels remain committed to the community and will be ready when the world returns to its regularly scheduled programming.

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