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.
By Mary Boyle
The pandemic hasn't been good for most, but it really hit the world of live theatre hard. Last Summer, Door Shakespeare would have celebrated its 25th Season with a full production of Hamlet as the star of the show but, alas, it was not to be (as Hamlet so famously said). Though we of course will never know how amazing that full production may have been, returning to the garden at Bjorklunden this summer to celebrate their 25th Live season with an incredibly unique solo performance of one of the greatest plays to ever grace a stage feels redemptive; as if we all landed exactly where we were supposed to, once we had some time to rest and think about it.
Adapted by Guy Roberts, the Founder and Artistic Director of Prague Shakespeare Company, this version of Hamlet uses Shakepeare's original language, but streamlines the play into 100 minutes of the humor, horror and heartbreak that Hamlet is known for. Milwaukee-based actor, Ryan Schabach, who has worked extensively both on and off stage with Door Shakespeare over the years, plays seventeen characters, transitioning seamlessly from one to the next with nothing but his voice and facial expressions and, perhaps, the simple addition of a prop, such as a ring or a crown.
Directed by Michael Stebbins, Door Shakespeare's Producing Artistic Director since 2017, everything about this production of Hamlet is condensed, bold and straightforward. Costume Designer Latorra Lezotte and Scenic and Properties Designer Jody Sekas both worked on 2019 Season's Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor, as did Scott McKenna Campbell, who returns for his fifth season as Composer and Sound Designer and, if you saw those productions, you can see a continuity to the current season. Baltimore-based Lighting Designer, Todd Mion, rounds out the production crew.
"This adaptation of Hamlet is very forward-moving and compelling. Once it comes out of the gate it doesn't let up until its dramatic ending," says Director Michael Stebbins. "We have not presented a one-actor production before, and it is an exciting opportunity for both Door Shakespeare and audiences. It is a unique experience for all, and we think that it will be an unforgettable one at that."
"Unforgettable" is right. Fans of Hamlet who are wondering how Schabach can pull off the sword match between Laertes and Hamlet at the end of the play: you have to see it to believe it. For those who aren't sure about Shakespeare and feel the plays are too long and convoluted, this is the version for you! Parents visiting Door County who want to get some culture into your kids (or wives who want to go but have grudging husbands), buy your tickets now. Be sure to come early and visit the Norwegian-style Chapel on the shore of Lake Michigan; take in the breeze, the view, and the mysterious, moss-covered garden at Bjorklunden: this is the post-pandemic theatre experience you didn't realize you needed.
Door Shakespeare's HAMLET runs through August 17th in the garden at Bjorklunden, located at 7590 Boynton Lane in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. To purchase tickets or for more information, go to www.DoorShakespeare.com or call 920-854-7111. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for students and $15 for children under 12. Performances are 7 p.m. on weekdays (except Tuesdays) and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There will be no performance on Sunday, August 15th, to allow for the Fundraising Gala, "A Date In Demark" (purchase tickets here); a make-up, final show is scheduled for Tuesday, August 17th.
Door Shakespeare was founded in 1995 under the umbrella of the then-named American Folklore Theatre. Since becoming its own nonprofit in 1999, the organization has produced 43 striking productions of classical theater by playwrights including Shakespeare, Moliere, and Oscar Wilde. Door Shakespeare is delighted to return to the Garden of Björklunden’s 405-acre estate on Lake Michigan in Baileys Harbor for the 2021 summer season.
By Mary Boyle
There's no escaping the truth that virtual theatre is not the same as live theatre. The magic that happens between audience and actors is something that can only be obtained be being in the same room, journeying along with the actors as they tell their tale. Though the script may not change, no two performances in a run of shows is alike, not just because mistakes are made (most of which go unnoticed by the audience, but cause shifts in the actors) but because the energy between the actors and the audience changes from performance to performance. When you see a theatre performance live, it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime, one-of-a-kind experience that a virtual show just can't replicate. That being said, ESCAPE FROM PELIGRO ISLAND, the latest virtual installment from First Stage, manages to bring the excitement of a live performance along with an entirely unique audience engagement experience.
Written by Australian children's playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, Escape is similar to Kruckemeyer's two other plays produced at First Stage, 2015's The Snow and 2018's powerful Antarctica, WI, in that it explores the everyday hero. Callaway Brown, played by Loralei Madson of West Allis, is an awkward kid who just doesn't seem to fit in but, through a series of extraordinary events, is given the opportunity to reinvent himself. The production, written specifically for a virtual format, is unique in that, throughout the performance, audience members will have multiple opportunities to help Callaway make decisions by texting to vote for the action of their choice, just like those massively popular Choose Your Own Adventure books in the 80's. This means that, truly, no two performances will be alike.
Directed by Jeff Frank, the Artistic Director of First Stage, Escape is performed by just three adult actors and three young performers and, for the first two weekends, each performance is live. The adult cast consists of Milwaukee's own Matt Daniels and David Flores, as well as Nadja Simmonds. Young performers include Loralei Madson, Eleanor Hannon, and Liam Eddy. All of the performers do an excellent job, though they are occasionally hampered by technology and the fact that they're not actually in the same room with each other, let alone on the same stage, which can affect the flow of dialog. Kruckemeyer's plays can be, in my humble opinion, a bit too obvious, as if he doesn't trust young audiences to reach certain conclusions on their own, which can cause elements of cheesy-ness, to use the technical term. Nonetheless, it is 90 minutes of good, clean family-friendly entertainment that brings people together, and we can all use a bit of that, right now.
ESCAPE FROM PELIGRO ISLAND streams live January 31 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m., February 5 at 7 p.m., and February 6 at 1 & 3:30 p.m. Recorded episodes will be available to stream through February 28, 2021. Tickets are available for $15, $25 or $40 online at www.firststage.org or by phone at (414) 267-2961. Patrons are encouraged to choose the price point that best fits their family and budget. Ticket buyers will receive an access code to stream this performance through the streaming service Broadway On Demand. Family All-Access Pass memberships are also available.
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves nearly 2,000 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
Despite the pandemic, there are plenty of New Year's traditions that will remain the same: the ball will drop tonight in Times Square in New York (though without the crowds of people) and Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve will light up television screens around the country. Locally, there are still things to do if you want to ring in this new year, but be warned that there will be no Ozaukee Taxi, tonight, so plan ahead.
Sir James Pub in Port is hosting a Harry Potter-themed Magical Farewell to the Crappiest Year Yet from 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wear your Hogwarts finest, if you're so inclined, and earn your house 10 points and yourself a butterbeer jello shot while enjoying Harry Potter inspired cocktails and snacks!
The Bridge in Grafton is having a New Years Eve Party featuring DJ INFOTEK! No cover charge. Champagne toast at midnight. FREE SAFE RIDE from 9pm-2am.
The Cork & Barrel in Newburg is having a New Year's Eve Bash $2 Rail Old Fashioned's served from 12-6PM, The Verdict starting at 9PM, FREE Party favors & snack food bar starting 10:30PM, FREE champagne toast at midnight and a 40x20 Outdoor heated & tented Tiki bar area open beginning at noon.
The Lime Cantina in Cedarburg is having a New Years Eve Dinner Event beginning at 4pm with live music from 6-10 p.m. by Marr’Lo and Nicolette! Dinner Specials such as Cola Mole, Carne Asada and Shrimp Skewers, as well as specialty New Year's Eve Drinks. Call to reserve your table inside or outside on our heated tented patio where the music will be playing at 262-618-3386. Carryout available!
The new Union House in Cedarburg has All-You-Can-Drink Rail Mixers for $20, a free Bubbly Toast at Midnight and a new expanded menu, including a delicious Charcuterie Box or some of our tasty Snack Boards, beginning at 4 pm.
Many area restaurants have dinner specials tonight that don't require reservations if you're looking for a special meal out - call ahead to find out details.
Unfortunately, the Port Washington Polar Bear Club has cancelled the official dip in the Lake on New Year's Day, but spending time along the lakeshore at Lion's Den, Harrington Beach or the parks around Port Washington is still a great way to start the new year.
Happy New Year, Oz!
Still looking for a place to get your Christmas Tree? Here are the top picks for in or near Oz where you can cut your own or choose a pre-cut fresh tree!
Uselding's Christmas Trees
Located on Western Rd. just outside of downtown Cedarburg, choose a pre-cut tree, wreaths and other trimming.
Cedarburg Creek Farm
Located at 649 Hwy 60 in Cedarburg, the Cedarburg Creek Farm has pre-cut trees, wreaths, decorated pots, petting zoo, hayrides and more.
Sandhill Tree Farm
Located at 2323 E River Rd. in Grafton, Sandhill Tree Farm will be open for cut your own trees December 5th & 6th from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Enjoy a bonfire, hot chocolate, candy canes, a holiday gift shop, fresh florals from Shady Lady and photo opportunities.
Gene Fransee & Son Nursery & Landscaping/ Home of Kletzien Garden Center
Located at 3670 Hwy. W in Port Washington has trees, wreaths, poinsettias, vintage Christmas collectibles and more.
First Congregational Church
Located on the corner of Jackson St. and Grand Ave., along the Sauk Creek, the First Congregational Church is now in their 35th year of selling pre-cut trees as a fundraiser for the church.
Buechler Farms, LLC
Located at 587 S. Royal Ave in Belgium, Buechler's offers trees, wreaths, planters and a special Christmas Shop with ongoing activities for the kids.
Willoway Farm & Friends
New this year, Willoway Farm and friends are selling pre-cut balsams at N5412 Cigrand Dr. in Waubeka, as well as some other local goodies. Enjoy a campfire and hot chocolate, too.
Anderson’s Greenview Tree Farm
Located at W4266 County Rd. D in Random Lake, Anderson's has pre-cut trees as well as wreaths and a Christmas Gift Shop in the barn, or take a walk or hay ride out to the fields to cut your own.
Trees For Less
Located at 11550 Wausaukee Rd. in Mequon has cut your own and pre-cut trees.
Stumpf's Tree Farm
Located at 340 Horns Corners Road in Cedarburg, Stumpf's is already sold out for this season, but a consideration for 2021.
By Mary Boyle
I've written at least 4 of these Holiday Happenings features over the course of my work on Ozaukee Living Local. Each year, I simply edit the event dates and, perhaps, minor details from the previous year, but this year is different: this year, we have a pandemic overlapping our traditional holiday in Oz. Some events that are part of our family traditions, such as Christmas on the Corner in Port Washington or the Christmas Parade in Grafton, will not be happening. Change is always difficult, but changes to our holiday traditions are some of the most difficult changes to process. This is going to be hard, people, but it's why I jumped back on this site, after an almost one year hiatus: to tell you that it's going to be okay.
In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the Grinch makes a stunning realization after he attempts to stop Christmas from coming to Whoville by taking away all of the decorations, presents and food for the feast: the Whos come out and begin to sing anyway, because Christmas isn't about those things. The holiday spirit in Oz comes from us and, now more than ever, we're going to need it. Shopping locally has never been more important (see our Holidays in Oz Shopping Guide). Give, if you have a little extra to share, not just on Giving Tuesday to our local nonprofits but to the Food Pantry, if you can. Perhaps even more importantly, bring some good cheer wherever you go, because kindness is free and contagious, and that's the sort of thing we want to spread.
Not all events are cancelled this holiday season, and many can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. Be sure to contact us if you see an event that's missing!
Cedarburg's Tree Lighting, Friday, November 27th at 4:30 on the CCC Facebook Page or on Youtube.
Kapco's Kid2Kids Christmas Wonderland, November 27-December 31 in Grafton.
Christkindlmarket at Inventors Brewpub, Saturday, November 28th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Fredonia Tree Lighting, Saturday November 28th at 6:30 p.m. at Freedom Park.
Cinema Under The Stars Holiday Edition: Home Alone, Sunday, November 29th at 2 p.m. in the LaRosa Landscape Co. parking lot. *Advanced ticket purchase required.
An Enchanted Christmas at the Cedarburg Art Museum during Festive Fridays through December 18th in downtown Cedarburg
Rivoli Theater's Holiday Film Series, Dec. 4-23 in downtown Cedarburg.
Illuminate Ozaukee - A Holiday Light Show, Fridays & Saturdays, Dec. 4-26, 6-9 p.m. at Herman A Zuenert Park in Cedarburg.
Free Admission and Make & Take Craft at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. December 5.
Belgium Boy Scouts Wreath Sale from 1-3 p.m. at Community Park.
Barbara Joosse reads "Everybody's Tree" for the holidays, online at 2 p.m. December 5th.
Port Washington's Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. on the corner of Jackson and Franklin Streets.
European Christmas Parade in Belgium, December 6 at 4:30 p.m.
Meet Santa in a Snow Globe, December 5, 12 & 19 4:30-6:30 at Upper Lake Park. *Preregistration required.
Winter Wreath Class, December 10th at 6 p.m. at Shully's in Thiensville
Holiday Bough Trimming at Riveredge, Friday, December 11 from 4-6 p.m.
Santa's Dash Away 5K, December 12 in downtown Cedarburg
Holiday Theatre Opportunities
Another Night Before Christmas with Memories Dinner Theater in Port, Dec. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13.
A Christmas Carol or Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol with The Milwaukee Rep. Register to watch a free 2016 recording of A Christmas Carol online December 1-24 or purchase tickets to watch the brand new Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol December 10-24.
Holiday Pajama Jamboree with the Festival City Symphony, either virtually or in person at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center in Brookfield, December 2, 7-8 p.m.
Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special, streaming from December 11-January 10.
Milwaukee Ballet's The Nutcracker: Short & Sweet, streaming from December 12th.
Christmastown Comes to First Stage streaming Dec.13- Jan 2.
Eight Tiny Reindeer: A Holiday Whodunit online on Saturday, Dec. 19th at 7:30 p.m.
*Edited from 2017
By Mary Boyle
The conventional method of holiday shopping is so ingrained in us, it's easy to overlook the many treasures we have right in our own community. Supporting local businesses and organizations is the gift that keeps on giving; the money you spend at these places not only stays in our community, but oftentimes helps to support important organizations that make Ozaukee and the greater Ozaukee area so wonderful. Read on, and find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list!
For the Kids (and Kids at Heart)
Hands down, my favorite place to buy toys in Ozaukee County is the Cedarburg Toy Co. Owners, Zach and Natasha Loos, will not only assist you in finding the right gift, they'll wrap it for you. They are also experts at covert operations, if you happen to actually have your children with you and need to shop. Wink, nudge, or pass them a note, and they'll have all the presents wrapped and ready for later pick up, or whatever other crazy antics you can think of. CTC truly has gifts for all ages, from blocks and rattles to puzzles and books, and things you didn't even know existed! Don't miss this magical little store in the heart of downtown Cedarburg.
For the Foodies
Oz is home to some really great restaurants, and a special dinner out could be a lovely gift. Try the Hundred Mile House, Fork & Tap, or Twisted Willow in Port; Cedarburg has Brandywine, The Stilt House, The Anvil Pub or The Farmstead. Messina's in Saukville is a good bet, or try Atlas BBQ in Grafton.
For the Nature Lovers
Oz is home to two amazing nature preserves: Riveredge in Newburg in the north and Mequon Nature Preserve in the south. Memberships to both offer access to trails and programming, but also help support environmental restoration and education in Oz. Besides memberships, Riveredge has a Visitor's Center full of great gifts for the Outdoorsy person in your life, including the syrup they make onsite each spring.
For the Art Lovers
The art community is strong in Oz, and there are a variety of places where original artwork of all kinds can be purchased. In Cedarburg, try the Cedarburg Art Museum, Cedarburg Cultural Center, or the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts gift shops, but memberships to these organizations also make great gifts. In downtown Cedarburg, you can find local art in many of the gift shops, including Bohemia, the Pink Llama Gallery, and within the Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement. In Grafton, look no further than the NSAA Arts Mill, where a wide variety of treasures await.
For the Coffee Lovers
If there is one thing the Land of Oz has aplenty, it's good coffee shops. Gift Certificates are great, of course, but most also offer t-shirts, mugs, and other fun items to show your coffee shop pride. In Port, there's Java Dock Cafe and Smith Bros. Coffee House; in Grafton, we have AM Coffee, NSeven, and Colectivo (also in Mequon); in Cedarburg, there's the Cedarburg Coffee Roastery and Java House. You can find a Fiddleheads in Cedarburg, Grafton, Thiensville, and Mequon. There is no lack of caffeine in Oz, people.
For the Pet Lovers (and pets!!)
Oz is home to a bounty of wonderful, independent and local places to shop for the pet or pet lover in your life! In Port Washington, check out One Wag on the corner of Franklin and Jackson St. downtown, which specializes in natural food and nutritional support for your pets. In Saukville, there's Dawgs In Motion, which has day camp, training classes, a pool, a shop, grooming and more, or Pet Supply Port, which has been in Oz for over 25 years. In Mequon, try the Feed Bag, which also offers a pool and grooming, as well as a selection for pets beyond dogs and cats. In Cedarburg, try Landmark Supply, which has been serving the critters of Oz for over 150 years!
For the Beer & Wine Lovers
Oz is home to a number of breweries, and there are a few winery options, as well. In Cedarburg, of course, there is the award-winning Cedar Creek Winery and Chiselled Grape Winery, but Cedarburg has two breweries, as well: Rebellion Brewing and The Fermentorium. In Port Washington, try Inventors Brewpub or Vines to Cellar. In Grafton, Sahale Ale Works is a recent arrival, while Foxtown Brewing in Mequon is also fairly new.
For those who love to wander through Gift Shops and be inspired...
Sometimes, you just want to wander around and see what might jump out at you, or have someone in the know who has the time to help you find the perfect gift. If that's you, you could just start at one end of downtown Cedarburg and finish at the other, but Cedarburg isn't your only game! In Port Washington, try Pear & Simple, Eclectic Avenue, Lakeside Music & Naturals (which has all types of goodies for the musicians in your life, too), The Shoppes of Port Washington, Locally Inspired, or Guenther House Collective.
The important thing to remember about gift giving, especially this time of year, is not to buy stuff just to buy stuff. Slow down, really be present with people, and when you do want to give something, consider giving a gift that gives back to our community. Happy Holidays, everyone.
By Mary Boyle
Now in its fourth season, the First Stage Foundry Stage Series helps develop new work through play readings in front of audiences at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Last season, the reading of GRETEL!, a folk rock musical based on the German folk tale Hansel and Gretel, the Russian folk tale Baba Yaga, and the lesser-known Russian Cinderella tale Vasilisa the Brave was so well-received by audiences that Jeff Frank, the Artistic Director of First Stage, decided to include the production in this season's lineup as the youth theater's second Foundry Production, following last season's inaugural Foundry Production, Locomotion.
Gretel (triple cast: Alice Rivera, Gracie Halverson, Maya Thomure) and her mother (Natalie Ford) live happily in their cottage while Gretel's father (Max Mainwood) travels for work. Sadly, Gretel's mother falls ill, leaving Gretel with her comb, shawl, and her blessing: a doll who represents the brother that Gretel always wished for (Thatcher Jacobs/William Swoboda). Then, Gretel's father marries a horrid woman who, along with her daughter, Malfusa (both Max Mainwood), proceeds to make Gretel's life miserable by making her do all of the work. Finally, they give Gretel an impossible task: to go deep into the woods and find the witch, Baba Yaga (Natalie Ford), to get what they need to save themselves. Everyone knows that Baba Yaga eats children for breakfast! How will Gretel possibly succeed?
With book by Jason Tremblay and Suzan Zeder, music by Jenn Hartmann Luck, lyrics by Jenn Hartmann Luck, Jason Tremblay and Suzan Zeder and Cello Arrangements by Nora Karakousoglou,GRETEL!, being so heavily based on such familiar folk tales of childhood, manages to achieve instant classic status with the help of beautiful costumes by Lyndsey Kuhlmann and creative set design by Sarah Hunt-Frank, as well as an incredibly talented cast of both adult and young performers who all contribute to creating the music right on the stage.
Max Mainwood, a former First Stage student, delivers an impressive performance, veering seamlessly from a variety of first-person characters to found object puppetry, as well as playing guitar and cello. Natalie Ford, who was recently seen in Elf, The Musical at First Stage, is wonderful as Gretel's mother and Baba Yaga, and demonstrated her strong vocal and musical capabilities, playing guitar along with singing, and serving as Musical Director for the production. While the Gretels rotate through the productions, the remaining six young performers are split into two groups: the Night Cast, with Ailie Snyder, Thatcher Jacobs, and Benjamin Nowacek; and, the Day Cast, with Yulitza Adorno-Jonas, William Swoboda, and Mara Holzen.
Being a Foundry Production, GRETEL! is staged at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center in the same space where Young Company and First Steps productions take place, but it is a production worthy of the Todd Wehr stage, where the First Stage main stage shows are performed. Milwaukee audiences are lucky to be able to see a new work so well done in such an intimate venue and at an incredible price; don't miss your chance to see this beautiful little show.
GRETEL! runs through March 22nd at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $16 and are available online at www.firststage.org or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately 90 minutes, including intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 8 – 15+.
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves nearly 2,000 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). www.firststage.org.