Whether it’s the weather or the abundance of pine trees, Wisconsin just knows how to provide the right atmosphere to create cozy holiday memories. Today we are discovering some of the many Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations that take place around the state. Grab your Santa stocking caps and fill up those thermoses with hot cocoa as we hit the road to our yuletide jamborees.
Light Up Night & Candlelight Stroll – Hudson
With a simple wave of his hand, Santa stops by to turn this border town into his own magnificent light show. Imagine walking down the bustling, snow covered streets of Hudson to be welcomed by the spectacular view of multicolored lights alongside every shop and street lamp. Many businesses offer face painting, craft making, and special holiday treats and sales. If you are looking for something more romantic, stop by one week later on December 1 to take your special someone on a magical carriage ride through the candlelit streets. Many local restaurant and shops offer fine dining deals during the Candlelight Stroll so be sure not to miss out on this excellent evening.
Kenosha HarborHoliday Market – Kenosha
This event is a mashup of several traditions and foods across various cultures such as German, Korean, Mexican, and Scandinavian. The HarborMarket features two heated tents with over 60 vendors providing hot, delicious food. A gem of the event is a Victorian Christmas inside the Civil War Museum that explores the traditions of soldiers and civilians during and after the Civil War. Come check it out for yourself Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Holiday Parade and Holidazzle – Beloit
Begin by getting in the holiday spirit with Beloit’s Grand Lighted Holiday Parade in the heart of downtown. Come check out the display of decorative floats and light display at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 25. Live music, hot chocolate and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be available to parade goers. Come again one week later on December 1 at 5 p.m. for “Holidazzle”, Beloit’s unique winter shopping experience. This annual event will be hosting over 30 businesses to fill up the streets of downtown to offer one-of-a-kind gifts, holiday music and goodies. Don’t miss the passing carolers who will be singing up and down the streets!
Capture the Spirit – Sister Bay
Capture the Spirit of the holidays with this Door County essential. Starting Friday, Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m, the village will begin glowing brightly with the lighting of luminaries and the village Christmas tree downtown. Later, make your way to the Sister Bay Library to take the kids to meet Santa before storytelling and craft making. Don’t forget to come back on Saturday at 3 p.m. if you have a sweet tooth for holiday cooking at the Sister Bay Fire Station. This cozy gathering in the always-beautiful Door County has something for everybody.
Carp Fest – Prairie du Chien
You’ve seen the dropping of the ball in New York for New Year’s Eve, now get ready for dropping the carp in Prairie du Chien. Carp Fest, the week-long celebration of the new year, involves a wide range of exciting activities. Head into the outdoors for a skating party, sledding hill, or some ice fishing. Bask in the winter wonderland as you explore the frozen countryside in a torchlight ski & hike. The festivities come to a close at the last hour of the year with the dropping of the carp.
Christmas Village – Chippewa Falls
Take a tour through Irvine Park near downtown Chippewa Falls to be welcomed by the stunning ambience of Christmas past as you drive through Christmas Village. Christmas Village is a replica of Victorian style décor, reminiscent of stories like A Christmas Carol. The light show on display is enough to impress even the most passionate of holiday decorating enthusiasts. Athletes will have the opportunity to participate in the Run for the Lights 5K & 1 Mile Walk event through the park on Saturday, Nov. 25. The park will be open from Thanksgiving night through New Year’s Day.
Christmas in Cable – Cable
I’m sure, like me, when you think of Christmas you imagine snowfall, pine trees and the chilly winter winds. That’s why the town of Cable, located just outside of the rustic Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, makes for the perfect hot spot of holiday activities. Stop by the Lakewood’s Resort for a marvelous Scandinavian Christmas dinner on Friday, Dec. 1; it features cultural dishes like Danish Meatballs over butter noodles, honey cured salmon, or the traditional (and polarizing) lutefisk. Saturday boasts several events, such as an arts and crafts fair, a Christmas cookie bazaar, and breakfast with Santa accompanied by other seasonal gift sales. CARE Christmas at the Garmisch Resort completes the relaxing weekend with wine and various auctioning interests on Sunday.
Durand Dazzle Holiday Parade – Durand
The town of Durand might be small, but this Pepin County spectacle holds one heck of a show with its long-running festival and parade. The annual Dazzle Holiday Parade kicks off in downtown Durand at 8 a.m. on November 25. Begin the celebrations with the Ho Ho Ho Durand Expo at Durand High School for crafts, baked goods, book sales and face painting. Later, bring the family to Memorial Park at 3 p.m. for some exotic animals and trolley rides. The fun-filled day ends with the lighted grand parade at 6 p.m.
Christmas with the Tallmans – Janesville
You’re going to want to leave the little ones at home for this adult-only holiday party. Stop by the Rock County Historical Society for this brand-new event on December 2. Start off the night with cocktails and a silly holiday film to lighten the mood. Don yourself in your favorite Christmas outfit as you bask in the Tallman Yule Haus’s festive décor, including more than 20 Christmas trees. Just be sure to keep a watchful eye out for Krampus, the hairy, horned devil who punishes those that have been unfortunate enough to be left on the naughty list!
Christmas in the Country – Lake Geneva
We finish off our tour in the always-fabulous Lake Geneva. The gorgeous town offers such a wide range of holiday activities that it’s hard to pick just one. Might we suggest taking a tour through the Illumination Ceremony at the Grand Geneva on November 19. Displaying over a million dazzling lights that ornament the property alongside a brilliant firework show is a sight to behold. Mark your calendar with other whimsical events, such as the Santa Cruise, running from November 24 through December 30, or Christmas in the Woods Craft Fair on December 2.
There are so many holiday festivities happening around the state, and we’d love to hear some of your favorites. Share with us on social media using #discoverwisconsin.
Ken Virden is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. He spends his recreational time with family and friends going camping, attending rock festivals, and running his own podcast ‘Virden Interviews’. Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)