By Mary Boyle
Candy and Halloween go together like popcorn and salt, but it wasn't always that way. In the 1970's, parents seemed to suddenly come to the conclusion that factory packaged and sealed candy was the safest treat to hand out, instead of the homemade goodies that had been the norm since Trick-or-Treating became a tradition in the United States in the 1930's and 40's. Over time, candy has been linked strongly to other holiday traditions, such as in stockings on St. Nick's, Advent Calendars, and Easter baskets. Each of those holidays has candy that we associate with it; for instance, candy corn belongs to Halloween, while jelly beans and Peeps belong to Easter. Then, in a brilliant stroke of marketing genius, those candy makers created red, white and green candy corn and jelly beans, as well as snowmen-shaped Peeps! Honestly, is nothing sacred?
Halloween is now considered the kick-off to the holiday season, but we could just as easily call it the candy season. Over the years, I have discovered that candy is a topic that people often feel quite strongly about. Being in the position I am in, as a writer, I feel compelled to share my own feelings about candy as a sort of social experiment to see if my views fall in line with local cultural standards. Now, keep in mind that I do not consider chocolates like candy bars or peanut butter cups candy, unless they are in the form of something like an M&M. So, without further ado, I shall reveal my list of the Top Ten Worst Candy Ever Invented, beginning with number 10, which is bad, and counting down to number 1, which is, in my humble opinion, absolutely vile.
10. Milk Duds Normally I like the combination of chocolate and caramel, but these tough little balls of chocolate coated caramel never fail to get stuck in teeth, not to mention that chewing them takes way too much effort. Just thinking about getting through even a little Halloween box of them makes me tired. That being said, if it was the only treat in the house, I would eat them if I was feeling desperate enough, which is why they come in at number 10.
9. Candy Raisins I cannot, for the life of me, understand where they get the raisin in a candy raisin—they're more like a combination of beeswax and rubber. Their ability to stick to teeth is more potent than even the Milk Duds, but they don't even have a great flavor to make it worth the trouble. I wouldn't bother.
8. Candy Buttons Not only are these nothing but blobs of colored sugar on some paper, the paper always gets stuck on the buttons when you tear them off, and then you're eating paper and colored sugar. How could this possibly have stuck around this long?
7. Candy Necklaces If the little candies on these necklaces don't break your teeth while you're trying to bite them off, it's a miracle. When you do manage to bite one off, they don't even taste good! You can't possibly eat it all in one go, so you've got saliva all over the other ones which then creates a sugar/saliva mix that gets on your clothing, not to mention what ends up sticking to the necklace, itself. Absolutely revolting.
6. Smarties Lollipops Okay, Smarties are bad enough—I always felt like I was eating Children's Tylenol—but these lollipops are like eating a chunk of mildly sweetened chalk, people. When I was a child, you could buy one of these for a nickel at the Cedarburg Pool concession stand or you could buy a Now & Later, which is like a stale, hardened Starburst, but I would never, ever spend my nickel on this trash. Never.
5. Necco Wafers Right, so you already know how I feel about Smarties, and Necco Wafers are pretty much just giant, flatter Smarties in the same way that bologna is just a giant hot dog that has been sliced thinly. The texture is just all wrong, here, almost as if the chalk of the Smarties has been combined with cardboard. This is not something that should be consumed.
4. Tootsie Rolls Tootsie Rolls are the ultimate parade candy—do you know why? For one thing, they're insanely cheap, but also because nobody minds that they are likely going to be thrown out after rolling around in the dirt and puddles because most people wouldn't eat them even if they hadn't been on the ground. I mean, are they chocolate? Root beer flavored? I really am not sure, but I do know one thing: they are not worth the calories.
3. Candy Corn Does anyone really eat candy corn? I don't think so. I think we just use it as a Halloween decoration on cupcakes, cakes and crafts that aren't meant to even be edible, just as candy corn isn't meant to be edible. Sure, the pumpkin shaped ones look cute on a dirt cake with Milano cookie gravestones, but nobody actually eats them, do they?
2. Wax Bottles I'll never forget when my Dad brought these home to us kids—I couldn't even stand to bite all the way through the wax! I had to tear it the rest of the way off to get the few drops of colored liquid inside, which still managed to be flavored of wax. Why not just eat a candle with a few drops of sugar syrup? These things are seriously revolting.
1. Circus Peanuts One of my earliest memories is going to the Red Owl in Cedarburg with my mother and spying a bag of Circus Peanuts. I had to have them. I begged. I pleaded. My mother said, "You're not going to like them!" "HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE?!!" I wailed. I won...sort of. You see, I'll never forget the smug look on her face when she opened the bag at home and gave me a Circus Peanut. I'll never forget what it felt like to put it into my mouth and begin to take a bite. I never finished biting through the Circus Peanut, people; I just took it out of my mouth and handed it back to my mother in absolute defeat and disgust. I was probably 4 or 5 years old and I have never had a Circus Peanut again. I assure you, I never will.
There is no doubt that the Milwaukee River is important to Ozaukee County. Named for the big City of Milwaukee, the 104 mile long Milwaukee River begins in Fond du Lac County and runs south until it meets first the Menomonee River and then the Kinnickinnic River, just before it empties into Lake Michigan underneath the Hoan Bridge. Besides Port Washington and Belgium, every community in Ozaukee County has been shaped by the Milwaukee River, as even Cedar Creek in Cedarburg is a tributary, but perhaps none are as important as the Village of Saukville.
Long before Wisconsin became a Sate, there were two major trails used by Native American tribes which became known as the Old Decorah Road and the Old Green Bay Road (The fascinating history of where the name Decorah comes from can be found in this document). The Old Decorah Road runs east to west and, today, is known as Highway 33, while the Old Green Bay Road ran north to south between Green Bay and Chicago. These two ancient trails intersected near a unique bend in the Milwaukee River, known today as Peninsula Park in Saukville, and this intersection was known as "the crossroads." It was a place where both Native Americans and Wisconsin's earliest European settlers gathered, particularly during the Fur Trade Era, when the network of lakes and rivers were the highways of the day.
Between 1991 and 2006, the Saukville Historical Society celebrated the history of this important place at an event called the Crossroads Rendezvous. In 2018, with fresh organizers and historical reenactors, Mary Boyle and Sara Dahmen, at the helm, the event made a triumphant return to Peninsula Park after over a decade, and then again in 2019, with a strong focus on the Fur Trade Era in Wisconsin and the importance of the Crossroads to Saukville, Ozaukee County, and the State of Wisconsin. The organizers also worked in a collaboration with Riveredge Nature Center, whose Community Rivers Program has been working hard to bring the community together to help improve the health and quality of the Milwaukee River.
"The Community Rivers Program is the link between what we're doing to teach people about the past and to connect it directly to the present," said Mary Boyle, Crossroads Co-Organizer. "Our School Day, which is always the Friday of our event, is one of the only ones I've ever attended that had non-reenactors participating in this way, but we thought it was a perfect fit and a great opportunity to collaborate with other local non-profits, which is really important to us."
Unfortunately, the pandemic put a stop to the return of the Crossroads Rendezvous in both 2020 and 2021, as it did to so many other events, but the organizers did not want it to be gone for so long that people thought it was forgotten so, in lieu of the large event, a smaller one was created that would help bring awareness to what the Saukville Historical Society and Riveredge Nature Center brings to the community, as well as what the Crossroads Rendezvous and the Community Rivers Program is all about, called River History Day.
Coming up on Saturday, October 16th from 10-3 at the Crossroads Museum (the home of the Saukville Historical Society), River History Day will offer a small taste of what these organizations have to offer, including:
Participants will also have a chance to submit ideas for a future mural to be painted on the newer addition to the Crossroads Museum which will showcase a timeline of Saukville's history. Organizers hope that, besides being a fun and family-friendly event, members of the community will be inspired to get involved.
"The members [of the Saukville Historical Society] have been at this a long time, and we need new people to keep it going," said SHS President Anne Kertscher. "So many people don't even realize we're here and what we bring to the community, but hopefully this will be a great way to introduce ourselves. Consider this your invitation!"
The Crossroads Museum is located at 200 N. Mill St. in Saukville. There is ample street parking, as well as public parking at nearby Grady Park and Saukville Elementary School. River History Day is made possible by a Tourism Grant awarded by the Saukville Chamber of Commerce. For more information, please contact Mary Boyle at info@Crossroads Rendezvous.org.
Two local doctors who ventured into an organic apple orchard are now working to create a retail space for locally and sustainably grown food.
By Mary Boyle
Peggy Callahan always liked growing things, but her home in the woods of Mequon gave her few opportunities. That, and her busy career as a physician and being the mother of three boys. Someday, though, she was going to find a place where she could grow all the things she wanted in just the way she wanted to.
Peggy and her husband Ed, an ER doctor, began their search for land in 2008, but it wasn't until 2012 that they came across the former Schneidish farm, located just outside of Port Washington's city limits. The crumbling, burnt out old fieldstone and cream city brick farmhouse was a favorite place for locals to take pictures, as well as (unfortunately) to dump their trash.
"It took us two years just to clean out the property," Peggy said. "The basement was filled to the top with mattresses and televisions."
The name for the farm and what to grow came easily enough. "Fall is my favorite time of year and the apple tree is iconic for Fall," Peggy explained. The Callahans had an interest in growing organic and sustainably, and there are very few organic apple orchards in the State. Thus, Dream Apple Farm was born.
In 2014, the Callahans planted the first 160 trees as a test orchard. Nearly every tree was destroyed by deer. They call that year the "lost year." In 2016, they built a deer-proof fence around the property and in 2017 they built the barn, which houses a commercial kitchen and plenty of space for workshops and educational opportunities they envisioned in the future, In the meantime, they were also preparing the land: adding compost, planting cover crops, and more. In 2018, the main orchard of 1100 trees was planted, which have now seen their third leaf.
Raising apples organically is a constant battle with nature, and certification takes three years of careful documentation, but the Callahans felt the Organic Certifications (they are both USDA and Real Organic certified) were important. "People throw the word 'organic' around very loosely," Ed explained. Peggy agreed.
"We start from the ground up; the soil is the most important thing."
Beyond apples, the Callahans also grow raspberries, rhubarb, and have started a very small number of pear and peach trees, all grown organically. All the work, thus far, has been done by just the two of them, because they are so particular about their farm. Ed said that many of their friends want to come and pick the apples, but that's the easy part. "Pick-your-own" operations lose 20-30% of their product, an amount that their small farm cannot afford to lose. Imperfect apples can be made into value-added products such as apple butter, dried apple rings, or cider. Ground apples are rounded up immediately, to prevent bugs from making a home in the trees, and fed to pigs raised at Burkel Family Farm or Bossy Cow Farm — two local farms who have a similar outlook on raising food as the Callahans.
As they worked on their own project, the Callahans realized that inviting the public into their carefully worked farm was not a good way to sell their products, yet attending farmers markets wasn't quite enough, either. Not only that, they wanted to help other local growers who were trying to do what they are doing: raising food and animals in a healthy and sustainable way. "It's very hard to survive on a small family farm," Ed said. "Wholesale is a fraction of what you would get retail, and we want to get the farmer as close to retail as possible."
So, when the former Baltica Tea Room in downtown Port Washington went up for sale in December of 2020, the Callahans purchased it to develop a farm store where they could sell their products, but so could other local farms. Their hope is to rent out the commercial kitchen as a way for small growers to make their own value-added products, which they can then sell in the shop. In a nod to their farm, they have dubbed the space Dream Port Harvest Market. To test the market, the Callahans have held several pop-up markets in the space, in concert with the Port Washington Farmers Market. While the pop-ups have been more like an indoor farmers market, they hope to transition into a full-fledged retail space in the very near future.
The Dream Port Harvest Market will be open during the Fall Street Festival in Port Washington on Saturday, October 9th, and again on Saturday, October 23rd from 9-2. While this year has been a bad one for apples (it is estimated that most orchards in Wisconsin lost between 50-100% of their crop), the Callahans will have cider, dried apple rings, plenty of their apple butter, and more.
"Organic doesn't get a consistent product — it's hard," Ed explained. "Education is a really big part of what we're doing — we have a larger mission in [Dream Port Harvest Market] and we're looking to connect with other people who want to know where their food comes from and how it is grown. We are very fortunate in this area to have so many farms — we want to support them."
To learn more about Dream Apple Farm, go to: www.dreamapplefarm.com/
Halloween comes but once a year, and it's the perfect opportunity to be someone (or something) else, for a change. Then there's the free candy, of course. Ozaukee has all kinds of fun Halloween happenings for all ages — here's the lineup!
Scary Bloody Mary Walk Saturday, October 23rd from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Enjoy Bloody Marys while supporting the Cedarburg Friends of Parks & Recreation! Five sponsor bars compete for the title of Best Bloody Mary 2021, while participants compete for Best Costume. Participants vote for Best Bloody and Best Costume to determine the winners.
Gothic History Tours October 22, 23 and 29 The Gothic History Tour proudly brings you those Fabulous Frightening Fifties! This 90-minute walking tour is volunteer-led and benefits the non-profit Cedarburg Cultural Center.
Fall Festival & Trunk-or-Treat Saturday, October 23rd from 2-4 p.m. at First Immanuel in Cedarburg. Free and open to the community, join in family fun of games, trunk-or-treat, get a pumpkin, a costume parade, a magician, and other activities!
Harry Potter Film Festival October 29-November 11 The Rivoli Theatre will feature multiple showings of all eight original movies in the Harry Potter film franchise. Watch for additional ways local businesses are turning downtown Cedarburg into a mini Hogsmeade Village with costume contests, selfie stops, food & drink specials, Potter-themed window decor, and more!
Pumpkin Walk Wednesday, October 31st from 5-9 p.m. The Pumpkin walk is truly Halloween fun for the whole family. Jack-o-lanterns line Washington Ave., and many of the main street businesses offer treats and specials for those who wander through.
Fall into Grafton Friday & Saturday, October 8th & 9th This two-day event starts with a beer garden and live music on Friday night in the Paramount Plaza Stage. Bring your decorated jack-o-lanterns to light up the Paramount Plaza and enter in the Pumpkin Decorating Contest! Then, come back on Saturday for the second year of Puttin' Around Downtown Grafton, a kids zone with a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses, face painting and more! Don't forget to decorate and prepare a pumpkin to enter in the Bank Five Nine Pumpkin Derby!
The Haunt at The Village This year, The Haunt moves from the Fairgrounds to Pioneer Village. Fridays and Saturdays, October 15-30, this fundraiser for the 4-H is still the place to go if you're looking for a scary Halloween experience!
Saukville Scare 5K Run/Walk Saturday, October 16th at Grady Park in Saukville, this family-friendly Halloween-themed event benefits the Saukville Elementary School free breakfast program.
Trails & Treats Friday and Saturday, October 22nd and 23rd from 4:30-6:30 or 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Riveredge A non-spooky night of fall family fun as you hike a mile loop of our trails and visit education stations featuring some costumed woodland creatures along the way! While there, these new friends will entertain and educate you about their habits and habitats, and give you some candy-free treats while they're at it!
Fall Street Festival Saturday, October 9th from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The rescheduled annual Community Street Festival meets the Harvest Market! Live music, Farmers Market and so much more!
Fall Fest at Java Dock Saturday, October 9th from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. On top of all of our great menu items, we will be selling hot cider, fall-themed coffee drinks, and adult beverages to enjoy while you paint pumpkins, decorate cookies, and listen to some awesome live tunes.
Doggy Costume Parade & Contest Thursday, October 21st from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Who doesn't love a parade of dogs? Especially dogs dressed in costumes! The parade starts at 5:30 at the Heart of the Harbor and the contest will take place there after. No need to register your dog. Just come on down with a well-dressed pup to enter!
Huntin' for Pumpkins Friday, October 22, 5-7 p.m. Kids will get a chance to hunt for the perfect pumpkin in Upper Lake Park and one lucky child who finds the great golden pumpkin will receive a special treat! There will also be a spooky maze, photos from VIP, hot cider, a spooky story walk present by W.J. Niederkorn Library, and more! Pre-Registration is required.
Teen Halloween Saturday, October 23rd from 5-9 p.m. at the Rec Center. Join in for a night filled with spooky fun! There will be games, dancing, concessions, and more. Costumes are encouraged and the best dressed will win a prize! Free to attend for ages 13-17.
Port Washington Ghost Walk Fridays and Saturdays, October 22 & 23 and 29 & 30 Celebrate your Halloween Season in a most unique fashion and join in for the popular Port Washington Ghost Walk plus an actual Ghost Hunt! This popular event sells out fast!
Downtown Trick-or-Treating in Port Saturday, October 30th from 1-3 p.m.. Wear your best costume and visit businesses downtown!
Boo at Buehler Farms Saturday, October 30th from 8-11:30 p.m. Join Buechler Farms for an Adults Only Costume Party, featuring Live Music by Fire On High, prize for the best costume, a photo booth, snacks, 50/50 Raffle and more!
Trick-or-Treating in Oz
By Mary Boyle
Our area of the world is blessed to have a number of community theatre companies in very close proximity, and West Bend Theatre Company is one of them. Founded in 2010 by Nancy Storrs, the company is known for their annual production of A Christmas Carol, which will return after a pandemic-induced hiatus, this season, but have also produced two other shows each season. In their first post-pandemic season, the company, said Storrs, "wanted to do shows that have meaning and power, just in case you don't remember what is awesome about life." For their first production, they chose the American, Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, OUR TOWN.
Written by Thornton Wilder in 1938, Our Town is a three act, bare bones play about a small town in New Hampshire called Grover's Corners at the turn of the 20th Century. The play focuses on two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs, and their teenage children, George and Emily, who fall in love. The play is Americana at its finest; a seemingly simple look at the lives of seemingly average people in a seemingly simple time. And yet, the story could not be any more profound or timeless, and is most certainly a story people need to hear now more than ever.
Jim Johnson, who makes his directorial debut at the WBTC, had the honor of playing Editor Webb in a production of the play at Sheboygan Theatre Company several years back, and now has the honor of directing his son, Ben Johnson, who will be playing George Gibbs. He directs a cast of 20, which is quite large, even for this play, but he had so many great auditions that he wanted to make sure he found a spot for everyone. In an unusual twist, Johnson breaks from canon and has not only cast the omniscient Stage Manager as a woman, but he has split the role in two, casting Elizabeth Plotka-Heinen as a younger and feminine Stage Manager, as well as Don Pountain (who will reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in WBTC's upcoming production of A Christmas Carol) as the classic figure those familiar with the play would expect in the role.
The theater space for the production is also unique. The intimate West Bend Masonic Center has seating on both sides of the "stage," with no traditional stage left or right exits, making the staging quite of any production somewhat challenging. Luckily, the cast and crew are quite familiar with the space and they have used the layout to their advantage.
The star of this production is absolutely Kimberly Laberge, as Emily Webb, a theatre student at UWM who has worked in all aspects of theatre with multiple companies in the area. This is quite fitting, as it is the Emily who brings the audience to their knees as she takes them on a journey into death and what we might learn when we look back upon our lives:
Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you! Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? — Every, every minute?
Other cast members include Eleanor Wells as Rebecca Gibbs, Angie Rodenkirch as Mrs. Gibbs, Robb Bessey as Doc Gibbs, Naomi Tiefel as Mrs. Webb, Mike Shelby as Editor Webb, Devin Gehrke as Howie Newsome, Don Held as Constable Warren, Kaitlin Kroplidlowski as Professor Willard and Mrs. Soames, Sothaviney Pheng as Simon Stimson, Jennifer Dysert as Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Slocum, Pam Drake as Miss Corcoran, Karley Birenbaum as Si Crowel, and Cody Provencher as Wally Webb, along with Nina Pfeng, Olivia Terwiler, Tatiana Patrick, and Andrew Tiefel.
OUR TOWN runs October 8-10 and 15-17 at the West Bend Masonic Lodge, located at 301 N. University Drive. Tickets for the performance are $21, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties, and are available to purchase online at www.westbendtheatreco.com/
About West Bend Theatre Company
West Bend Theatre Company is a nonprofit community theater company in West Bend, Wisconsin, presenting live theater, camps, workshops and special events. For more than 10 years, the WBTC has annually produced Charles Dickens’ classic story “A Christmas Carol.” In 2017, the WBTC achieved nonprofit status; since then, they have produced other theatre favorites, including “South Pacific,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Love, Loss and What I Wore.”
Mark Geirach's office at the Saukville Community Food Pantry is piled with packages of diapers and other dry goods; in fact, every nook and cranny that can be used in the basement of the Parkside Community United Church of Christ is filled, but the goods are constantly in motion. "Every day we're open, 30 to 40 people each leave here with a grocery cart full — and I mean full — of food," Mark said. While it may appear that the place is well-stocked, the shelves, refrigerators and freezers of the "shopping area" are nearly bare after just one day of shoppers, and then must be restocked. "We've done real well with a small space, but we're at the limit. We need to find a new location to operate and grow."
Mark has been the Executive Director of the Pantry since they opened as a 501 (c) 3 in January of 2012. Before that time, a pantry was run by the former Immaculate Conception church in Saukville, but the members that ran it were running down and needed help. Members from Parkside, like Mark, helped to take over the project, but knew that in order to really be able to get the help needed, it would have to run independent from the churches. In the beginning, they started with some card tables piled with food; today, the Saukville Community Food Pantry serves over 475 families per month across all of Ozaukee County.
"There's more of a need than people realize in Ozaukee," Mark explained. "[Family Promise is] building a homeless shelter and people think we don't have homeless in Ozaukee County, but we do. You don't see the need here like you do in larger metropolitan areas; you don't see them under bridges or in alleys because they're couch surfing or sleeping in their cars."
Providing fresh food is a challenge the Pantry takes seriously. Thanks to a grant, the Pantry was able to get two aquaponic towers from Wisconsin-based Fork Farms, which provide fresh lettuce year-round, right from the Pantry. The towers are largely overseen by members of the Ozaukee Master Gardeners, which is just one of the ways the Pantry connects and collaborates with other community groups. Offering toiletries and other personal hygiene items is also important.
"You can buy cases of soda with your Food Share card, but you can't buy toilet paper — there's something wrong with that system," said Mark. "Junk food is cheaper, but it costs more money somewhere else down the line in medical costs. The more we can provide good food, the better."
The Saukville Community Food Pantry offers more than just food from their shelves: they will once again offer a free meal every other Saturday for people in need, beginning Saturday, October 2nd, which had been put on hold due to the pandemic. The Pantry also runs mobile pantries in Grady Park, next door to the Pantry, from April through October in concert with Feeding America; does a Back to School Fair every Fall where they recently provided school supplies to 365 kids; and, runs a Backpack Food program for kids in the Port Washington-Saukville School District elementary schools and middle school who qualify for free or reduced lunches to sign up for food to take home to their families for the weekend.
"We work with any group whose goal is keeping people fed," Mark said. "We would love the opportunity to expand our programs into other school districts, but we're just lacking in space."
Building a campaign for a new space is next on the Pantry's list. Luckily, they we're able to connect with a program at UWM that connects architectural students with a real-world project. This year, the students will do studies for the location of a new facility, then move onto conceptual drawings and recommendations for program expansions. Building new is one option, but the Pantry is open to all possibilities that might give them the 8,000 to 10,000 square feet they need, and while they're hoping to stay based in Saukville, even that is subject to change for the right location. With any luck, the Pantry will be awarded grant money to help with this new venture.
Most people know to help the Saukville Community Food Pantry by donating food and personal hygiene supplies (a list of needed supplies can be found on their website), but it is difficult to cover the real expenses of operating the Pantry, from staff salaries to rent, insurance and their truck, because grant money rarely covers those types of costs. One way people can help is to use Amazon Smile when they make purchases on Amazon and to choose the Pantry as the beneficiary, or just donate directly by clicking on the "Donate Now" button at the top of their website. However, a really fun way to help the Pantry is coming up on Saturday, October 9th from 3-9 p.m. at Grady Park in Saukville: the Food Truck Frenzy! Hit up a variety of local food trucks while listening to live music from Sam Grady & Steve Vogt and Shut The Front Door.
Of course, volunteers are always needed and welcome to join in on the Saukville Food Pantry's mission. "We started with a motto from Mother Teresa: 'If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one,'" Mark said. "We went on to feed hundreds of people, so that grew into 'Fresh Food, Fresh Hope.' We've done real well in a small space; imagine what we could do if we are given the opportunity to grow."
Learn more about the Saukville Community Food Pantry and how you can help by visiting their website: saukvillefoodpantry.org/
Fall is here, and that means it's time to get your pumpkins and apples! Luckily, finding a humble pumpkin patch, or a sweet-smelling orchard in Oz is not too difficult a task.
One of the best ways is to let the farmers come to you at one of the area's Farmers Markets: Port Washington on Saturday, Saukville on Sunday and Thiensville on Tuesday. Of course, if you're looking for a farm to visit, we have those, too:
Cedarburg Creek Farm has just about every pumpkin hunting experience you could hope for: a kid's straw bale, a corn maze, and much more fall fun, close to home. Add in no admission fees and FREE Hay Wagon Rides, and they are THE place for affordable family fun. Cedar Creek Farm is located at 649 Hwy. 60 in Cedarburg.
Appleland in Fredonia has apples, of course, and a stunning variety of them, at that, but they also have pumpkins to pick or already picked, and an assortment of jams, bakery, caramel apples, cider, and more in their market store. Free wagon rides on the weekends. Appleland is located at 4177 Highway 57 in Fredonia.
Buechler Farms offers a fun family fall experience on the weekends in October, beginning October 2nd with their Fall Festival from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.! The farm is located at 587 South Royal Ave in Belgium. Join them in the evening of their Fall Festival on Saturday, October 2nd, beginning at 7:30, for live music with Road Trip ($8 cover charge) or their Packer Tailgate party on October 24th. Regular pumpkin season will continue every weekend in October.
Creekside Valley Farm opens for their season on Friday, September 17th, with a pumpkin patch, hay maze, petting zoo, fall decor, pedal tractors, and more. Find them at 13101 N Wauwatosa in Mequon, open daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Nieman Markets, located at 14335 N. Wauwatosa Rd. in Mequon, has apple picking, a corn maze, pumpkins, a petting zoo, a market, and more.
Barthel's Fruit Farm is synonymous with apple picking. Located at 12246 N Farmdale Rd. in Mequon, the barn has plenty of already picked pumpkins and gourds, or you can go to the field to pick your own. Barthel's apples are also available at Outpost in Mequon. Open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily, Barthel's offers homemade bakery as well as a Beer Garden (weather permitting) from noon-6 Fridays through Sundays.
If you're willing to venture a bit out of Oz, there are a few places worth the trip:
Spieker's Pumpkin Farm in Random Lake features a massive corn maze, hay rides, and an incredible variety of pumpkins and gourds, as well as a petting zoo, and more. Find it at N1181 Hwy. 57 in Random Lake.
Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm and Market in West Bend has quite the exotic petting zoo, and a haunted corn field, a totally unstaged and hair-raising adventure through 8 plus creepy houses and 3/4 miles of narrow trails in tall, dense corn, on narrow confined trails. Not exactly family fun with young children, but possibly a great outing with your teenagers or adult friends. Find Meadowbrook at 2970 Mile View Road in West Bend.
Treasures of Oz, a part of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, is partnering with Gathering Waters and offering visitors a self-guided tour of nearly 1200 acres of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust properties in Ozaukee County. Access to these places is available free to everyone for walking, hiking, bird watching, meditation and photography because all are beneficiaries of that Trust. On the tour, visitors will learn what a land trust is and why they are a key part of Wisconsin recreation and sustainable lands.
The 2021 Eco-Tour is a self-guided tour of the 15 preserves that are either under ownership or easement with the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. Participants download a passport and event directions at treasuresofoz.org. Passport stops are verified by finding KEY WORDS that are posted on event signs at the kiosks or near the entrances of each property. Passports are mailed in or sent in electronically. Every key word found counts for a raffle ticket and a drawing is held after the event. Prizes are usually dining certificates for Ozaukee County restaurants.
Special passports are available for kids. They will need to locate a Gnome with a Poem at each site to answer their raffle questions. The Gnomes are located near the same kiosks and entrances with the event signs...but gnomes are small and often hide.
The last 2 days of the event include an Estate Sale at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, where everything in the clubhouse will be sold to begin the process of taking the building down. The clubhouse has been a special place as part of the Port Washington Country Club and later the Squires Golf Course. Countless area residents held weddings and special events, came for dinners, came for golf and enjoyed beverages at the upper bar and the iconic bar in “The Trap” on the lower level.
Land Trust Days is the time of the year when Wisconsin Land Trusts encourage residents to see what land trusts do for the state and their neighborhood in particular. It is sponsored by Gathering Waters, a highly valued resource for land trusts in Wisconsin. It provides, advice, support and services that individual land trusts, many of whom are all volunteer, just can’t do easily on their own. Gathering Waters is headquartered in Madison and is essential in working with the state government in supporting land trusts, which are major players, often unknown and unrecognized, for Wisconsin tourism, resources and working lands.
Events run from September 13th through the 18th, 2021. For more information, go to:
By Mary Boyle
Since 2016, Voices Found Repertory has become one of my favorite small theatre companies in the Milwaukee area because I am a huge fan of Shakespeare, and this company is all about The Bard. Their shows are intimate, simple and accessible, and they make the most of Milwaukee's local talent, with many of the actors doubling as production team members. In 2018, they staged the rarely seen Titus Andronicus, and in 2019, a streamlined version of the epic Henry V. Now in their 5th season, after a pandemic-induced hiatus, VFR returns with one of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
Although it is a bit past midsummer, this delightfully light and fun frolic on the stage is just the performance needed as we finally make our way back to live theatre. Inspiration Studios in West Allis is a quick trip from Oz and located just a block off Greenfield Ave. in the hip and happening historic district; the theatre is cozy, but not cramped, and well-appointed. Be sure to get to the show about 15 minutes early to find the actors all on stage performing a variety of songs you're sure to recognize.
Directed by Sarah Zapiain, Midsummer is a tale of lovers: Hermia (Haley Ebinal) is being forced by her father, Egeus (Kyle Conner), to wed Demetrius (Phillip Steenbekkers), but she is truly in love with Lysander (Grace DeWolff). The two lovers plan to meet in the forest that evening to run away together, but a problem occurs when Helena (Maya Danks) tells Demetrius of the lovers' plans, hoping to win Demetrius for herself. Demetrius runs into the woods to get back Hermia, with lovesick Helena at his heels. Meanwhile, a group of laborers is rehearsing a play near the woods for the upcoming wedding of Duke Theseus (Brandon Haut) and his reluctant bride, Hippolyta (Amber Weissert) and, in the forest, the Fairy Queen and King, Titania and Oberon (Weissert/Haut), are having relationship issues of their own. Oberon's mischievous fairy messenger, Puck (Kyle Conner), makes both purposeful and accidental fun with the lovers and the players, and hilarity ensues.
The play within the play is truly the highlight of Midsummer, and these players are pretty great: Jessica Trznadel as Flute, Alexis Furseth as Snout, Kazoua Thao as Snug, Brittany Haut as Starveling, Hannah Kubiak as Quince, and Ben Yela as Nick Bottom, who has the misfortune of having his head replaced by that of a donkey by that trickster, Puck, then magically made the object of the Fairy Queen's affections for the amusement of all. Ben Yela is one of my favorite local actors to watch, and he steals the show in this production — I literally laughed so hard I cried. A truly talented cast, all around, though, and certainly an excellent way to spend an evening of live theatre.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM runs September 9th through the 12th at Inspiration Studios, located at 1500 S 73rd St. in West Allis. Thursday - Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday shows at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available online or at the Box Office 30 minutes before the show. VFR highly recommends that all patrons purchase their tickets online prior to the performance, as seating is extremely limited. Pay What You Can on Thursday, September 9th is not valid online. All performances suitable for audience members 18+ or 16+ with a legal guardian. Run time is 90 minutes with no intermission.
By Mary Boyle
Long before the pandemic, I was working from home with first one child and a dog, then added another child, then just two children for a time and then, about a year before the pandemic hit, I threw a new puppy into the mix. Needless to say, working from home was not very productive, but there was one place, if I could manage to get away from home, where I loved to work: a coffee shop. Depending on who I was meeting or what other errands I needed to run, I had a list of favorite shops throughout Oz where the baristas knew my favorite drink and, because community building is my jam, would discuss the local happenings with me. A coffee shop is the thinking person's pub; a social equalizer where both the wealthy and poor, old and young, and every affiliation or label you can slap on someone can gather and mix without raising an eyebrow. One of my favorites was Smith Bros. Coffee House in downtown Port Washington, because it was in walking distance to my house, had beautiful Lake Michigan views, and the people that worked there never failed to make me smile.
Then, the pandemic hit. The pandemic hit right after my husband and I moved our two children and our puppy out of Port and into the woods of Little Kohler (about as far north west in Oz as you can go and still be in Oz). After a few months, the cabin fever set in. While I at least occasionally went to the grocery store, the kids were just stuck at home almost entirely. Like many, we were desperate to get out and do something that felt normal. Our first journey was to Smith Bros.: we ordered curbside, piled in my little car with the puppy and made the drive into Port. Even though we weren't able to go inside, it was so lovely to see Anna, the manager, when she handed our order through the window, and to have our favorite and familiar treats. Such a simple joy; it was heaven.
By the end of the summer, I was desperate to get out of my house, but there were still no coffee shops that had indoor seating. That's when I came across the ad for a barista at Smith Bros. I thought to myself: What would it be like to work on the other side of the counter? Baristas are so cool, with their tattoos and colored hair and piercings...was I too old to be a barista? I'd spent years drinking the lattes, Americanos and cappuccinos, but I'd never actually made any of them...how cool would it be to learn how? Besides, it was the only way I could get back in to a coffee shop. So, I applied, I interviewed and, to my surprise, I was hired and put in training with largely a bunch of people who were 15 to 20 years younger than me (and two who were Seniors in high school, like my daughter).
Now, two things happened pretty quickly: everyone realized I knew how to "people" really well, so they often stuck me in front of the register; and, I quite lovingly became known as the cafe mom (What can I say? I was a professional nanny for almost two decades.). Here are just a few things I learned:
However, the most important things I learned were not about business, economics or barista skills, they were about people. I learned more about the people I worked with (Anna, Kaylen, Mikey, Susie, Kat, Stacy, Noah, Joey, Nathanael, Hanna, Paige, Ciara, Gabby, and Maddie), who are like another family to me, as Smith Bros. became another home in an even deeper sense than it was before. I never dreaded coming into work because I enjoyed being with all of them so much.
I learned about the people in our community — some who I know by their drink: white mocha frappe, no whip, guy; bucket of jade cloud tea lady; extra scoop hot chocolate guy; iced king caramel kid; large coffee with 1 or 2 ice cubes guy; large lakefront fog lady. Some I know by other characteristics: Bailey the dog's person; skull and crossbones tie gentleman. For some, I've learned their name and drink: Janel (whatever), Amy (skim java chip frappe, no whip), Josh (extra small Americano with room), Cal (large iced king caramel), Bob (medium mild coffee), Kyle (4 shot medium oat boi), Melissa (large shoreman's fleece and a large iced white chocolate mocha with whip), Sarah (espresso shake), Lindsay (large lakefront fog), Howard (creamsicle), Fred (skim cappuccino), Brian (large vanilla soy chai latte), Gracie formerly of the Green but now of the Black (lake effect, but it used to be a king caramel), Jim (latte), Ryleen (vanilla white mocha), Joey (large hazelnut breve), Aaron (small caramel frappe), and the one who I will miss most of all, because he passed away just recently, is Clem (sugar free lake effect).
We didn't just sell you drinks and tasty food, we traded laughs, stories, news and wishes. We picked on Mikey together. You brought us gifts. When Ryleen saw me dressed as a taco for Halloween, she brought me her candy cane costume to wear for Christmas and we had a blast with it! I made a butterbeer just for Kalyn, a banana smoothie just for Ty, and I have no idea how many grilled cheese sandwiches Jackson might have eaten. I never figured out why Port's City Administrator goes as Paul in our shop, but I will miss seeing him every week. I will miss our adorable Cintas lad, Bryce, who brightened every Friday. I will miss the Duluth Trading Co. people like Bill (chicken sandwich with cheddar and a coke), Sheree (lake effect), Joey and Bob (arnold palmer with a shot of blackberry). We built a community within a community. I can't tell you how glad I am to have had the chance to be on the other side of the counter.
I had only planned on staying a year before I went back on my writing way, but I hadn't planned on Smith Bros. not still being there for me after I left. These last days were bittersweet: I sold the last black bean burger, the last two chicken sandwiches, and the last oat boi (to Kyle, in fact, which was just perfect). I ate way too many salmon wraps and savored every bite, especially when Mikey wrote yet another name that rhymed with "Mary" on the outside. There were high fives and hugs; there was an outpouring of concern and love. I stopped in and got one last coffee - a lake effect - on the very last day, but I couldn't bear to be there when they closed the doors for the last time.
I'm a writer, so this is how I process the hard things. I hope it helps those of you who were maybe feeling a bit sheepish about the hole that opened up in your hearts when you heard that Smith Bros. was closing — don't feel silly, the loss is real. The most important thing I learned about working at Smith Bros. in a pandemic is that people need each other. We should be proud of the little community we all had a part in building. We will find new ones, I promise, but it's okay to take a moment and acknowledge that this one...well, this one was special. I will miss you all — yes, even you, skull and crossbones tie gentleman.
I apologize to anyone whose drink I messed up and who didn't have the courage to tell me, or those who hoped to talk but I was too busy with a noisy blender. I apologize if I missed calling you out in this article. Most of all, I apologize if I spelled your name wrong. Truly, I can't thank everyone enough for making a tough year so much brighter. Goodbyes are always hard, so I'll just say see you later. Hit me up for coffee if you need to chat — I know some good places.