Meridith Jumisko is Public Relations Manager at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Contact her at MJ@VisitKenosha.com or drop her a tweet @MJ_Kenosha.
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.
This story originally appeared in
the Smart Reader, December 5, 2019
Local Holiday Events
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
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.
(This article originally appeared in The Smart Reader, November 7th, 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.
(This article originally appeared in The Smart Reader, October 24th, 2019)