February is National Library Lover's Month, so what better time to shine a light on Ozaukee's wonderful libraries? Offering classes, events, speakers, services, and more to all members of the community, the libraries of Ozaukee County have become so much more than just places to check out books (though they still do that, too!). February is a great month to take a tour of your local library and see all that they have to offer, and to get a library card if you have yet to do so. The really great thing about Ozaukee's libraries is that they're all connected through the Monarch Library System, which means your card will work at any of the libraries in Oz!
Oscar Grady Library in Saukville
Located at 151 S. Main Street in Saukville, Oscar Grady is a charming little library housed in an old school house, and is known for their Digital Media Conversion Lab, where patrons can turn old photo negatives, film, and video into digital files. The library also houses the Jim & John Peterson Photo Collection, which contains many images of Saukville's past.
WJ Niederkorn Library in Port Washington
Located at 316 Grand Avenue, the WJNL's claim to fame is their amazing Seed Library, where patrons can check out seeds for their gardens in the same way they'd check out books! Recently, the library upped their game by adding a Library of Things, which has items such as life jackets, sleds, sand toys, party supplies, and even a portable record player!
Frank L. Weyenberg Library in Mequon
Located at 11345 N. Cedarburg Rd., the FLW Library has a lovely park adjacent, as well as the outdoor pool across the parking lot, so it's a great place for families with young children. The library, itself, has many offerings for children, including Children's Discovery Kits, which contain items such as musical instruments, coding toys, hobby items, or learning toys that can be checked out just like books.
Cedarburg Public Library
The CPL moved into its newly built home on W63 N589 Hanover Ave. in 2014, so it is the most modern library in the system, and it has some unexpected resources, such as a 3D Printer Maker Lab, another Library of Things, their own Radio Station, and the recently added StoryCorps DIY, which aims to collect stories of Cedarburg from residents. They have an Open Evening coming up on Tuesday, February 13th, when the community is invited to stop in and learn more about the program.
USS Liberty Memorial Public Library in Grafton
The Grafton Library was named by Benjamin and Theodore Grob, who were the primary donors when the current building at 1620 11th Ave. was built in the late 1980s. The brothers named it after the USS Liberty, a United States technical Navy ship that was attacked by the Israeli Navy on June 8, 1967, in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula. The dedication ceremony in June 1989 was attended by sixty survivors of the USS Liberty. The library has a Telescope that can be checked out, as well as a Makerspace Room, which provides state-of-the-art technology for community members to explore. Learn how to publish a book, make a podcast, create digital art, preserve your family history, and much more.
For the communities that don't have a library, there's also the BookMobile! This bus turned into a library has been serving Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties since 1979 and makes regular stops in Fredonia and Belgium, among other places.
No matter where you live in Oz, you're not really far away from any of the options in our amazing library system. Libraries offer a place to get warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and are one of the few places people can go where they're not expected to purchase anything. Best of all, libraries are places where you can find community. Check out one or all of the libraries in Oz this month and become a library lover yourself!
February 14th is Valentine's Day and, though many consider it a "Hallmark" holiday, the celebration actually dates back to Roman times; a fertility festival called "Lupercalia." Times have certainly changed. Today, Valentine's Day is celebrated by friends, family, and lovers, alike, and whether you need a treat for your kids or a romantic gift for your significant other, there are plenty of great, local choices in Oz.
Chocolate is the most common Valentine's Day gift, and Oz is home to several very fine chocolate shops! Chocolate Chisel in Port Washington always has fresh, chocolate covered strawberries available for the occasion, as well as a wide variety of milk and dark chocolates to choose from. A beautiful caramel apple from Amy's Candy Kitchen in downtown Cedarburg makes a wonderful Valentine's gift and, while you're in town, make it a gift from Cedarburg with something from Ashley's Confectionery, too! If you're in the Grafton area, stop into Sweet Trio or Handmade with Love for a delicious variety of chocolates, candy and caramel apples, or, if you're in the southern Ozaukee neck of the woods, Mequon has the Cocoa Tree Confectionary.
Flowers is another Valentine's Day favorite and Oz has the goods! In Saukville, try Lighthouse Florist; in Grafton, there's the Bloomin Olive. Cedarburg has Rachel's Roses, while Mequon has La Terre at the Mequon Public Market.
Perhaps the lovely lady in your life has Jewelry in mind? You can't go wrong with Armbruster Jewelers in Cedarburg or Sharbuno Jewelers in Port Washington; both family businesses who have been in their community for many years. Wyndrose and Pagoda Fine Jewelry in Cedarburg are also local favorites.
Really, though, does anything say "love" better than Coffee? Check out Java House or Cedarburg Coffee Roastery in Cedarburg, Java Dock or Banjole's Brews in Port Washington or Colectivo in Grafton or Mequon. Also in Mequon is the delightful Cafe 1505, which has treats, breakfast and lunch, and is also a full service coffee bar.
Looking for a special Dinner out? In Port Washington, Twisted Willow has a special dinner from the 9th through the 10th and the Moonlight Tavern has theirs just on the 14th or 17th, or hit up Beanies Mexican Restaurant for a Cupid Margarita! Brandywine in Cedarburg is always a good bet on the 14th or you could try Brunch Cedarburg, who has a three course Valentine's Brunch from the 12th through the 16th. Another option is the Sweetheart Trio Tasting at Cedar Creek Winery on the 10th or 11th, where you can get a nice wine tasting paired with cheese, chocolate, and other snacks, no reservation required. Shully's Cuisine in Thiensville is offering an amazing 7-Course Dinner on the 9th that looks hard to pass up. Bistro de Renard and the Foxtown Annex both have Valentine's Day Dinner options on 14th. No No's in Newburg or Messina Italian Restaurant in Saukville are other considerations.
What about the littles in your life? Try Art of Joy's School's Out Valentine's Party on the 9th or the Valentine's Cooking Class for Kids at the Mequon Public Market.
For something really different, you might want to attend the Ozaukee Food Alliance's "For the Love of Meat" Raffle at Sahale Ale Works in Grafton. Nothing says love like a meat raffle, am I right? Finally, for you crafty types, there's a Valentine's Day themed Sip & Paint at Gallery 224 in Port or a Valentine's Day BOGO at Board & Brush in Mequon.
However you share the love, put some Oz into it! Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.
The end of Winter in Wisconsin means one thing: Fish Fry! With Lent going on, your local Catholic Churches (St. John XXIII in Port, St. Joseph's in Grafton and Divine Savior in Fredonia) become a great place to get your fix! The American Legion in Cedarburg offers a Fish Fry the third Friday of each month from 4-8:30 p.m. Of course, Oz has plenty of great restaurants serving up Wisconsin's favorite Friday (and sometimes Wednesday, during Lent) dinner. Here are some of the best options in Oz to get your Friday Fish Fry!
Fork & Tap In the heart of Downtown Port Washington, located behind Sherper's at 203 E. Main St., is offering their gluten free Potato Chip Crusted or Beer Battered Cod Fish Fry on Wednesdays as well as Fridays through Lent.
Twisted Willow Port Washington's Farm-to-Table restaurant, located at 308 N. Franklin St., offers breaded or baked cod, buttered rye bread, house slaw & tartar sauce, potato pancakes or french fries, and clam chowder.
Plier's Full Circle Pub & Restaurant in Port Washington, just across the freeway into Knellsville, probably has the most diverse selection for a Friday Fish Fry, including bluegill, walleye, haddock, tilapia and grouper.
Schooner Pub at 114 N. Franklin St. in Downtown Port serves up cod, perch or shrimp baskets, along with the classic clam chowder.
Yummy Bones BBQ is more known for their barbecue, but they serve a Fish Fry during Lent, only available on Fridays. 5 pieces of fried Cod, fries, a side of cole slaw and a corn bread.
The Beacon, located on the first floor of the Harborview Inn in Dowtown Port Washington, serves up perch, cod or poor man's lobster on Fridays, with a great view of the Lake
Inventors Brewpub is directly across from Veterans Park inside the American Legion (for now - they're building a new site behind the Harbor Center), where you can get unusual craft beers along with your fish fry!
Toucan Custard offers both cod and lake perch fish fry options, as well as buckets of each, if you're feeding a large crowd.
The Bog Reservations are recommended for this restaurant on the golf course located at 3121 County Road I in Saukville. Call (262) 988-1113.
MJ's Bar & Grill Although it's not on their menu online, MJ's offers a classic Friday fish fry, including 2 or 3 piece panko crusted, beer battered or baked option with fries or potato pancakes, rye bread, and tartar sauce.
Riverview Inn in Saukville is best known for their pizza, but they also offer a great Friday Fish Fry Special. Located at 3172 N Riverside Drive along the Milwaukee River, this little log-cabin themed restaurant can get pretty crowded, but carry-out is available. Call ahead, as they are not open on a consistent basis.
No No's A traditional supper club on the corner of Highway 33 and County Road Y in Newburg, No No's serves a Friday night Fish Fry, as well as All-You-Can-Eat Smelt every Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-9 p.m. Call (262) 675-6960 for reservations or more information.
Cork n' Barrel Bar & Grill, at 503 W. Main St. in Newburg, has baked or breaded cod, perch, jumbo shrimp and a choice of fries or potato pancakes.
Juice's Ghost Town Restaurant, located at 990 Ulao Rd. in Grafton, offers a very traditional Friday Fish Fry with a choice of Perch, Haddock, or Walleye and either breaded, beer-battered, pan fried, or broiled. Children's portions are also available.
Flipside Cafe and Grill at 2074 Washington St. in Grafton serves a very diverse all-day Friday Fish Fry, but they're not open late, so get on it.
The Stillery, located at 1304 12th Ave. on the corner of the Paramount Plaza, is Grafton's newest restaurant, but many in the area have been going to the original Richfield location for years. The Stillery offers both a Wednesday and Friday Classic Fish Fry, as well as baked cod and other options.
Stony Hill Pub & Grill's menu says they are voted the best fish fry in Ozaukee County, but it doesn't give the source, so you'll have to be the judge. They do have a good offering of Walleye, Perch, Blue Gill and Cod, but also have an All You Can Eat Smelt option on the menu. Nothing says Oz like that.
Luxembourg Cafe, right off the freeway in Belgium (formerly Hobo's), offers a perch or cod Friday Fish Fry until 8 p.m.
The Landmark in Friestadt is such a local gem it doesn't even have a website or social media, but they have a worthy Friday Fish Fry and they are the stuff of Ozaukee legends. Located at 10634 W. Friestadt Rd.
Remington's River Inn, right on the Milwaukee River in downtown Thiensville, offers beer battered cod or poor man's lobster with the usual sides.
Daily Taco doesn't seem like the place to get a fish fry, but if you liked the award-winning fish fry from the cheel, this is it: lightly fried in a chickpea & rice flour gluten-free batter, served with golden raisin slaw, Mexican basmati rice, side of house tartar and a wedge of lemon.
Skippy's Burger Bar is known, of course, for their burgers, but they do offer a Friday Fish Fry, including a Breaded Lake Perch and a Southern Crusted Blue Gill option, as well as a beer battered, grilled or Cajun option.
Libby Montana, located at 5616 W. Donges Bay Road, offers a Friday Fish Fry with hand breaded lake perch, cod, cornmeal crusted catfish, or shrimp, and broiled fish is also available.
The Range Line Inn in Mequon was once a stagecoach stop in the early 1800's, but its been serving a good Friday Fish Fry at 2635 W. Mequon Road for a long time. Open 4:30-10 p.m.Walleye Pike, Perch, a Cod/Perch/Shrimp Combo, Fried or Baked Cod, or the Catch of the Day, which is often flown in fresh.
Spanky's Hideaway at 5208 County Line Rd. offers a plethora of Friday Fish Fry options, including
C. Weisler's is as historic as historic downtown Cedarburg can be, and they serve up a special Fish Fry, including a 3 piece Haddock Plate, a Tilapia Plate, a Lake Perch Plate, and more, from 4:30-9 p.m. every Friday at W61 N493 Washington Ave. in downtown Cedarburg.
The Farmstead in Cedarburg is normally the place to go for steaks, but they do serve a classic Friday Cod Fish Fry, as well. Located at W61 N493 Washington Ave. and housed in a beautiful old farmhouse, The Farmstead is a local favorite.
Settler's Inn in downtown Cedarburg offers pan fried or baked cod and pan fried walleye or perch for their Friday Fish Fry from 10 a.m. - 2:30 for dine in and 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. for carry-out. Call ahead to reserve your time slot at (262) 377-1191.
Know of a great Fish Fry in Oz that we missed? Contact mary@OzaukeeLivingLocal.com and tell us all about it! Then, take our Best Fish Fry in Oz Poll!
By Mary Boyle
We've all been there: the panic that sets in when the clock is running out and you still haven't found the right gift, realized you forgot someone on your list, or just couldn't get a moment to get out and shop until the bitter end. Heading to a big box store may seem like the most convenient option, but there are so many amazing local and independent businesses in Oz just waiting to help you! 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 unique and wonderful. Read on, and find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list!
For the Foodies
Oz is home to some really great restaurants, and a special dinner out could be a lovely gift. Try Fork & Tap, The Steerage, Plier's Full Circle Pub & Restaurant, 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 No No's in Newburg. The Stillery in Grafton is a good option, or head down to Mequon and check out The Highland House, the St. Paul Fish Company, or Cafe 1505. A CSA Subscription is another great idea! For those looking to find unique products or spice up their entertaining, you simply must visit Frannie's Market in Cedarburg, where you'll find items for a fabulous charcuterie board and so much more!
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. In Port Washington, try the Purple Turtle Artisan Collective or the brand new Mercantile Plaza.
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 or Banjole's Brews inside of Lakeside Music & Naturals; in Grafton, we have AM Coffee, NSeven, and Colectivo (also in Mequon); in Cedarburg, there's the Cedarburg Coffee Roastery and Java House. 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, there is the award-winning Cedar Creek Winery, Sunshine 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 there's Sahale Ale Works, or check out Foxtown Brewing in Mequon.
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 (pay particular attention to Lillies, Weeds, Bohemia, From the Heart and the Cedar Creek Settlement), 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), Artisan Market (formerly The Shoppes of Port Washington), Port's Cozy Corner, or Locally Inspired. In Grafton, you must check out Wild & Precious Boutique, and in Mequon you can't go wrong with Creatively Yours. Finally, in Thiensville, try Frankie's - A Gift Shop.
For the Jewelry Lover
Armbruster Jewelers in Cedarburg has been around since 1884, so you really can't go wrong, there; however, if you're lakeside, check out Sharbuno Jewelers in Port Washington, another family business that has been serving Oz since 1950. Mequon's East Towne Jewelers boasts over 30 years of business, which is certainly an accomplishment, as well. Cedarburg has several more unique and boutique shops that may also serve you well, such as Pagoda Fine Jewelry, Wyndrose Fine Jewelry or Jewelry Works.
For the Outdoor Sports Enthusiast
Snowboarding, skiing, cycling, kayaking, skateboarding, and more! Check out Sherper's in Port Washington, or Cedar Creek Outdoors in Cedarburg, Extreme Ski & Bike in Thiensville, or ERIK'S in Grafton. Surfing on Lake Michigan? You bet! Try the Board Shack in Port.
Candy and other Sweet Treats
On the lookout for candy, the perfect chocolate Santa, or maybe just something to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth? Oz has you covered! In Port Washington, you must visit The Chocolate Chisel for some of the best hot chocolate and ice cream in Oz, as well as amazing chocolates. In Grafton, Sweettrio or Handmade with Love is the place to go for candy, chocolates or caramel apples. In Cedarburg, you have your choice of Amy's Candy Kitchen, which is known for their caramel apples, or Ashley's Confectionery, which is a great place to find vintage candy and M&M's by the color, as well as chocolates. No trip to Cedarburg is complete without a stop at Boulangerie du Monde which is, in my humble opinion, the best bakery in the State of Wisconsin. In Mequon, you must visit the Cocoa Tree Confectionery (and, if you have a great sense of humor and aren't easily offended, follow them on Facebook for some weekly laughs;)!
For the Kids (and Kids at Heart)
When you're shopping for children, to place to buy toys in Ozaukee County has been the Cedarburg Toy Co. for the past 12 years; however, owners Zach and Natasha Loos recently announced that this will be their final holiday season; they closed their doors due to low inventory this past weekend. Word on the street is that there are new owners to take over the business after the holiday season, which I certainly hope is the case. Cedarburg would not be the same without this delightful little shop.
If you have a gamer in your life, you'll definitely want to stop at Game N' Repair in Belgium, where you can find new toys and collectibles, game systems and games, or get almost anything repaired, including your mobile phones!
The important thing to remember about gift giving, especially this time of year, is not to buy stuff just to buy stuff. Slow down and try to really be present with people. The gift of your time is one of the best things you can give. As a theatre lover, I can strongly recommend the gift of a night out at one of the many area theatre companies, which you can find on our #EditorOfOzReviews page. That being said, when you do want to give something, consider giving a gift that gives back to our community and buy local this holiday season.
By Mary Boyle
Once upon a time, most of the fresh food available for purchase at the grocery store or market was produced locally; the systems simply did not exist to transport fresh food economically, so fresh produce was mainly limited to what could be grown nearby. In Wisconsin, with our long, cold winters, this meant that farmers had to know how to extend the growing season, as well as how to store produce properly so that it could be utilized until spring finally arrived. What couldn’t survive fresh was preserved in a variety of ways, either by individuals, the farmers or, as time went on, companies that specialized in canning food. This was why, when my mother was a child in the 1950’s, getting an orange in the toe of your stocking on St. Nick’s at the beginning of a Wisconsin winter was a treasured treat. Were we able to beam ourselves back fifty years to a local grocery store, most of us would be shocked at how little choices were available for fresh produce, especially in the dead of winter.
The availability of cheap oil gradually changed our local food systems into a global one. More vehicles needed good roads, which went on to replace the trains that were once the only way for food to travel long distances (and only food that could survive the trip). Eventually, even airplanes became an economical option and, with speed like that, we can now find fresh raspberries and tomatoes grown in Mexico or South America in vast produce aisles in the middle of February in Wisconsin. The convenience and availability are so commonplace, we are no longer aware of what a luxury it is…or what the real costs are, not just in the quality of the food, which is often picked long before ripeness, so it travels well (or is even bred to be sturdier for travel), nor in the environmental cost caused by more vehicles on the roads and planes in the air burning more fossil fuels, but also in the gradual loss of local food systems.
The need for redeveloping a year-round market for local food has become more obvious as we witness the disruption in the supply chain caused by environmental, political, and economic upheavals: the farther our food and other products must travel, the more likely it is that the supply will be disrupted. A community that solely relies on food produced outside its borders will not fare well should those outside systems be disturbed, be it from a pandemic, natural disaster or some other event we haven’t happened upon, yet. Furthermore, we have already seen how the price of oil affects the cost of goods that must travel long distances to reach us; this isn’t really an issue when the product isn’t something we actually require, such as the latest smart phone or a particular brand of shoes, but it is not impossible to imagine a time when food that must be transported could become too costly.
Ozaukee and the surrounding area is blessed to have a number of long-running and popular outdoor Farmers Markets between June and October, offering the opportunity to purchase food and other goods straight from the producer, which benefits the consumer because they’re able to know exactly where and how the food is produced, and benefits the producer because it allows them to get more profit for their goods than they can by selling it wholesale to grocery stores, restaurants or other wholesale buyers outside of the community the food is grown in. The end of October has, in the past, meant the end of the local food season; but now, as demand for local food grows, indoor Farmers Market opportunities have also grown which, in turn, encourages producers to use methods to extend their season and goods, such as using cold frames and hoop houses, or preserving their harvest by freezing, canning, or dehydrating.
For several years, PortFish, Ltd., a local aquaponics outfit in Port Washington, ran the indoor Port Washington Winter Market out of the local Congregational Church, which was then taken over by Jennifer Sapiro and went on to be sponsored by Port Washington Main Street in 2018. During the 2017/18 season, they began to alternate the market between the American Legion/Inventors Brewpub and the church, and quickly learned that the new venue was a huge hit; the Winter Market has been happening there ever since, though it has been outdoors when possible, or order online and purchase pickup when it wasn’t, over the pandemic. This year, the Winter Market runs two Saturdays every month through March.
The Winter Market is no longer the only local food game in Port, however; the DreamPort Harvest Market, a venture by Dream Apple Farm (read the story here), is open every Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with local food from their farm and other farms throughout Ozaukee and nearby communities.
Another local food option that became available thanks to the pandemic is the Ozaukee Area REKO Ring. Founded by Venessa Quiñones in April of 2020, the REKO Ring allows local food producers to put their offerings into Facebook posts on the group's site where members can then place their orders. Pick ups are on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. in Grafton at the Blain's Farm & Fleet parking lot.
Now is also a great time to consider buying a CSA share (or, consider giving one as a gift for Christmas!). CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is when a person buys a share of the harvest before it is grown or produced so that the farmer has the funds upfront to begin planting, as well as a guaranteed customer. Appleland Farm Market and Willoway Farm (which also offers a fresh flower CSA) in Fredonia, Winterspring Farm (formerly Wellspring) in Newburg and Rare Earth Farm in Belgium are all excellent places to support.
Convenience and availability are hard to ignore, of course, so we are extremely lucky to have a dedicated, year-round grocery store that is committed to local food in Oz, which is the next best thing to buying direct from the farmer: the cooperative Outpost Natural Foods in Mequon.
Ozaukee Living Local was born out of the local food movement in Ozaukee County to promote local growers and to connect the community with them; we continue to take this part of our mission very seriously. Did we miss someone? Let us know! Most importantly, please commit to buying as much local food as possible, as well as buying other products that are locally made. The money you spend on local food and goods stays local and contributes to the building and strengthening of our local economy – a process called relocalization – which makes our community more resilient, more connected, and less susceptible to the highs and lows of the global market. This is a mission we can all get behind.
Getting the perfect, fresh-cut tree can be an amazing family holiday experience, and there are plenty of places in Oz that deliver. 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 on weekends from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. beginning November 18th through December 10th. Enjoy a bonfire, hot chocolate, candy canes, holiday gift shop, 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 37th 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
For their fourth year, Willoway Farm and friends are selling pre-cut balsams at N5412 Cigrand Dr. in Waubeka, as well as some other local goodies. Hours Saturday’s & Sunday’s 10am-5pm, Dec 1-4 3 pm-6 pm, Dec 7th - Dec 11 th 4pm-6pm, & remaining weekday’s open will be 4pm-6pm from November 28th through December 20th.
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. Open 8 a.m. to dusk on the weekends, enjoy hot chocolate, a visit with Santa, snacks, a hayride, and more!
Stumpf's Tree Farm
Located at 340 Horns Corners Road in Cedarburg, Stumpf's is open from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through December 17th.
The holidays embody the spirit of giving and Giving Tuesday is an excellent way to take part. Ozaukee has many worthy non-profits to support and who need your help. Make a donation in someone's name and, not only is it a great Christmas gift for someone who has everything, it really is a gift that keeps on giving! The Ozaukee Nonprofit Center has created this handy dandy Giving Guide to help you learn more about many of the wonderful nonprofits serving Oz, and there are many more on the list below. Don't see yours? Send information to email@example.com.
Kids & Family
Kettle Moraine YMCA
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Cedarburg Cultural Center
Cedarburg Art Museum
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts
North Shore Academy of the Arts
Gathering on the Green
Nature, Food, Environment
Riveredge Nature Center
Friends of the Cedarburg Bog
Mequon Nature Preserve
Treasures of Oz
Ozaukee Washington Land Trust
Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
Ozaukee Humane Society
Ozaukee County Historical Society
Saukville Area Historical Society
Mequon-Thiensville Historical Society
Port Washington Historical Society
Ozaukee Nonprofit Center
Advocates of Ozaukee
Mr. Bob's Under the Bridge
Adult Literacy Center
Port Washington Main Street
Saukville Community Food Pantry
Family Promise of Ozaukee County
Family Sharing of Ozaukee County
Just Listen, Inc.
Family Enrichment Center
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!
The Haunt celebrates its 16th year of scaring people silly! Head to the fairgrounds Friday and Saturday nights between October 13th and the 28th to experience the horror, if you dare!
Monsters in the Museum at the Cedarburg Art Museum Saturday, October 14, 10-11 a.m. Donut Monster will be providing their delicious donuts to participating kiddos as they create monsters of their own at CAM. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.
Gothic History Tours October 20, 21 and 27 The Gothic History Tour returns for their 18th year with the Care and Feeding of Ghosts and Ghouls! This 90-minute walking tour is volunteer-led and benefits the non-profit Cedarburg Cultural Center.
Scary Bloody Mary Walk Saturday, October 21st from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Enjoy Bloody Marys while supporting the Cedarburg Friends of Parks & Recreation! Thirteen sponsor bars compete for the title of Best Bloody Mary 2023, while participants compete for Best Costume. Participants vote for Best Bloody and Best Costume to determine the winners.
Harry Potter Film Festival October 20 - November 2 Step off the streets of Cedarburg and on to the Hogwarts Express at the Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce Harry Potter Film Festival at the historic Rivoli Theatre! The festival 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!
Cedarburg's Enchanting Evening, Ladies Night Out Thursday, October 26, 5-8 p.m. In conjunction with the Harry Potter Film Festival, this year's Ladies Night Out promises a magical evening of fun for participants!
The Cracked Cauldron Beer Garden at the Cedarburg Art Museum Thursday, October 26, 5-8 p.m. In conjunction with the Harry Potter Film Festival, look for the cracked cauldron in the front of the museum and follow the driveway to find the magically hidden garden! Visitors will enjoy the floating candles, wizarding photo opportunities on the CAM Stage, and libations from the Lakefront Brewery Tap House (beer, wine, NA beverages, and specialty cocktails). This is a family-friendly event, with treats for all ages!
Fall Festival at First Immanuel Lutheran School Friday, October 27, 5-8 p.m. Join First Immanuel Lutheran School for their annual free Fall Festival! Trunk-or-Treat, Hay Rides, Costume Contest, Food, Inflatables, Music, Games, and more! The whole community is invited!
Pumpkin Walk Tuesday, 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.
Nightmare on Elm Street & Business Trick-or-Treat Thursday, October 26, 4-8 p.m. From 4-6 p.m., trick-or-treat at participating businesses, then head over to Village Park where Food Trucks in the Park meets Dead Man's Carnival! This family-friendly event features a fun stage show with music, vaudeville and circus acts. A large selection of food trucks and beverages will be available.
Pumpkin Carving & Spooky Cave Tour Saturday, October 21, 11-4 at Foxtown Brewing Enjoy Halloween movies, drink and snack specials for adults and kids, and more!
Habitat Haunting at the Mequon Nature Preserve Saturday, October 29, noon-2. Come dressed in your costume and hike the Streich Family Wetlands trail system! Stop at different stations along the way and receive candy and other goodies. Play some yard games and run around Marty's Playspace when you are all done! Leashed dogs are welcome (have them dress up too!).
Fall into Grafton Saturday, October 7, 10-4 Scaled down from last year, Fall Into Grafton returns with its famous Bank Five Nine Pumpkin Derby and more!
Music Market at Paramount Plaza Sunday, October 15, 1-5 Live music, raffle prizes, and a Halloween Costume Contest for all!
Haunted History with the Grafton Historical Society Thursday, October 26, 6-8 p.m.
Spend an evening with Tea Krulos, an expert on all things haunted, for a spine-chilling presentation on the spooky stories and dark tales of Grafton and the Milwaukee areas.
Trails & Treats Friday and Saturday, October 20 and 21 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!
Saukville Scare 5K Run/Walk Saturday, October 21, 9 a.m. - noon at Grady Park in Saukville, this family-friendly Halloween-themed event benefits the Saukville Elementary School free breakfast program.
Living Hope Lutheran Church Trunk-or-Treat Sunday, October 29, noon - 2 p.m. Join Living Hope Lutheran Church for a Trunk or Treat! Bounce House, Brat Fry, and candy, of course!
Doggy Costume Parade & Contest Thursday, October 19th from 5-7 p.m. Who doesn't love a parade of dogs? Especially dogs dressed in costumes! The parade starts at 5 at the Heart of the Harbor and the contest will take place thereafter. No need to register your dog. Just come on down with a well-dressed pup to enter!
Witches Night Out Thursday, October 19th from 5-8 p.m. Check out Port's newest businesses, catch the doggy parade, and enjoy a fun evening with your witches at Port's Halloween-themed Ladies Night Out!
Halloween at the Y Friday, October 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The whole community is invited to enjoy spooky games, crafts, bounce houses, and more, as well as an open swim. Costumes are encouraged for this event!
Huntin' for Pumpkins Friday, October 27, 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.
Trunk-or-Treat & Chili Dump at Christ the King Lutheran Saturday, October 28, 4-7 p.m. Costumes encouraged and the community is invited to join CTK for some Halloween fun!
Downtown Trick-or-Treating in Port Saturday, October 28th from 12-3 p.m.. Wear your best costume and visit businesses downtown!
Booo! at the Barn Saturday, October 28th from 8-11:30 p.m. Join Buechler Farms for an Adults Only Costume Party, featuring Live Music by Sonic Circus, prize for the best costume, a photo booth, snacks, 50/50 Raffle and more!
Halloween Opportunities Outside of Oz
The Forgotten Girl at First Stage October 20 - November 12 Families with children ages 10 and up can experience a powerful, and a little bit spooky, tale of history, forgiveness, friendship, and redemption at Wisconsin's best theater for families and young children.
Happily Haunted Gardens at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan October 15-29, 5-8 p.m.
Join Bookworm Gardens for not-so-spooky family fun! There will be thousands of twinkling lights, stories, scavenger hunts, a pumpkin walk and costumes galore!
Renaissance Theaterworks presents WITCH though November 12th at Next Act Theatre in downtown Milwaukee, for adult audiences.
Night of the Living Opera with Milwaukee Opera Theatre through November 5th at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.
Dracula with the Milwaukee Ballet through October 29th at the Marcus Performing Arts Center.
Trick-or-Treating in Oz
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. Join them for their Fall Festival on Saturday, September 23rd!
Buechler Farms offers a fun family fall experience on the weekends in October, beginning October 6th with their Fall Festival! The farm is located at 587 South Royal Ave in Belgium. Join them for a Breakfast with Minnie & Mickey on October 7th or Snow White & Cinderella Brunch on October 8th with the kids, then return for live music in the pavilion and barn with Whiskey Throttle and Star Six Nine. Regular pumpkin season will continue every weekend in October, then return for Boo! At the Barn on October 28th.
Creekside Valley Farm opens for their season on Saturday, September 16th, 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, plus visit the Corn Maze! 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. Join them for their Oktoberfest September 23-24!
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.
There's nothing quite as Americana as the 4th of July in the small town communities of Oz. Looking for a celebration near you? Look no further!
Thiensville Family Fun before the 4th is a nearly all-day event, and a great day for the whole family! On Saturday, July 1st, the massive parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Follow it to the Village Park, where free ice-cream and a variety of events await, followed by fireworks at dusk.
Grafton's Holidaze Grafton's Holidaze, billed as the biggest fireworks show north of Milwaukee, returns on Saturday, July 1st with the parade kicking off at 4 p.m. and leading to Lime Kiln Park, where the celebration continues with food, drinks, games, live music, and fireworks at dusk.
Rotary Music Festival in Cedarburg The 23rd Annual Rotary Music Festival Drum Corps International Tour will return to Cedarburg on Monday, July 3, at 7 p.m. The Cedarburg High School Stadium is set to play host to a lineup of 6 World and Open Class corps during this event that will take place on the eve of Independence Day.
Freistadt Fourth It doesn't get any more Americana than Trinity Freistadt's 4th of July Parade and Picnic! Spend your day enjoying one of Ozaukee County's best kept secrets, beginning with an outdoor worship service at 10 a.m. (weather permitting), an 11 a.m. picnic (complete with root beer floats), tours of the Trinity Historical Grounds, and a 1 p.m. parade, followed by a flag raising, and the very German music of the Alte Kameraden Band and dancing by the Pommersche Tanzdeel Dancers.
Port Washington Port Washington will not have a parade or community picnic, as it has in the past, but will offer a Pool Party at the Pirates Hollow Community Waterpark. The American Legion will fill in the fun with a cook out, Patriotic Pet contest, live music, and arts & crafts for kids in the afternoon. The only fireworks over the lakefront in Oz begin at dusk, and are best seen from Rotary Park or Coal Dock Park.
Saukville Saukville's parade begins at 1 p.m. on the 4th, going through downtown and ending at Grady Park for a picnic, music and activities from noon-5. The fun then moves to Penninsula Park, where there will be music, activities, and food from 5 p.m. until dusk, concluding with fireworks.
Cedarburg's annual 4th of July Parade & Hometown Celebration boasts the largest parade in Ozaukee (roughly 2 hours long!), which begins at Fireman's Park at 10 a.m., and heads south along Washington Ave., making its way to Cedar Creek Park, where a picnic, music, and activities can be found until 9:30 p.m., when the fireworks begin.
Happy Independence Day, Ozaukee!