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!
Belgium The celebration begins early in Belgium, with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, June 28th at Heritage Park, following the baseball game.
Thiensville Family Fun Before the 4th is a nearly all-day event, and a great day for the whole family! On Saturday, June 29th, the massive parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Follow it to the Village Park, where free ice-cream, live music, and a variety of events await, followed by fireworks at dusk.
Grafton Grafton has a brand new event to celebrate Independence Day called Holidaze Where The Music Plaze, which begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 29th, and runs through 10 p.m. The morning starts healthy at the Lumberyard Plaza with Yoga from 8-9 followed by a Family Workout. The parade begins at 11 a.m. followed by a performance by the UW Madison Marching Band at Paramount Plaza, where the celebration continues from noon-6 p.m. with a beer tent, live music, and food and drink specials throughout downtown Grafton businesses. The celebration then moves to Lime Kiln Park from 6:30-10 p.m., with more live music and fireworks at dusk!
Rotary Music Festival in Cedarburg The Drum Corps International Tour will return to Cedarburg on Wednesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. for the 20th Annual Rotary Music Festival. Cedarburg High School Stadium is set to play host to a lineup of 7 World and Open Class corps during this event that will take place on the eve of Independence Day.
Freistadt 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), a tour 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's parade begins at 10 a.m. on the 4th; follow it to Veteran's Park on the lakefront for an old fashioned ice cream social, bicycle judging, a watermelon seed spitting contest, and live music by The Verdict from noon-2. Head over to Pirates’ Hollow Waterpark from 1-4 p.m., where they will be having a Biggest Splash Contest and Family Relay Race at 3 p.m. 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 from noon-5 and music from 2-4. There will be music and food from 5 p.m. until dusk, and fireworks are at dusk over Peninsula Park.
Cedarburg Cedarburg's 4th of July 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!
Everything's Sweeter During Maple Sugarin' Season
Wisconsin winters can be long and that last stretch of waiting for spring can be even longer. Luckily, there's something we like to call "the fifth season" to help fill the gap- maple sugarin'!
With over 40 years of history and around 400 maple trees tapped each year, Riveredge has maple sugarin' in it's blood. Maple sugarin' is a time to celebrate the changing of the seasons, teach about the wonders of the forest and trees around us, and experience the pure magic of turning a byproduct of nature into a delicious treat. Whether this is your first season or your 20th, we hope you'll join us for a season of fun, community, and appreciation for the wonder of nature!
Some of the season highlights include:
LEARN MORE AT OUR BRAND NEW MAPLE SUGARIN' PAGE
By Mary Boyle
Do you knit, crochet, quilt, or sew? Do you love to garden, bake, or can food? Perhaps you're a woodworker, or a photographer. Maybe you are a beekeeper, or you make your own wine or maple syrup. Do you paint, make baskets or ceramics, or make things out of leather? Are you a poet, a scrapbook or greeting card maker, or do you make your own soap or candles? Possibly you just have a really cool collection of something? If any of that, and more, applies to you, then the Ozaukee County Fair wants you for their Open Class Division.
The Ozaukee County Fair - one of the last free fairs in the Midwest - is organized each year by the Ozaukee County Agriculture Society. Every first Sunday in August, the Fair comes to a close, but the planning for the next one begins. Anyone can become a member of the Society for a very little fee, and if you really want to be involved in the Fair, you can take a turn serving on the Board, like Jamie Nevins, who is hoping to bring a little more attention to the Open Class Division, an often overlooked opportunity at the Fair.
Most people are aware that various 4-H groups show their horses, chickens, pigs, cows, and other farm animals at the Fair to win ribbons, but they may not be aware that you do not need to be a part of 4-H to enter your animal. Not only that, you don't need to have an animal - there are all kinds of things that can be entered in the Open Class Division at the Fair.
"Open Class is for anyone in the County, and beyond," Nevins explained. "It doesn't cost anything to enter, it's open to all ages, and you can enter everything from art to produce, and more. With the explosion of the DIY movement, it seems like everyone is growing their own food or knitting their own sweaters - why not enter them at the Fair and get bragging rights?"
The deadline to enter items is June 30th, but Nevins hopes that letting people know before the Holidays will give them time to prepare (or at least make them think about saving one of their jars of pickles they canned this Fall). "We hire knowledgeable judges, and you can get feedback from them to help you, so it's a learning experience, but it's also validation for something you're already doing," Nevins said.
Terry Schoessow has worked with a wide variety of categories within the Open Class Division over many years as the Open Class Superintendent, and has seen many a beautiful quilt, cake, and photograph. She, too, is frustrated by the lack of awareness of this great opportunity.
"Many people don’t understand that the 'Open' Class means that it is open to anyone: little kids through adults. A person does NOT have to be a member of a group. We have people who enter from senior centers and group homes, homeschooling families, and couples who compete with each other in baking. There are people who enter one photo, and others who enter 25 photos - one in almost every category. One does NOT have to be a resident of Ozaukee County to enter any non-living class."
Schoessow said one of the greatest hurdles with the Open Class is the deadline, because the Fair is not on people's radar at the end of June. The other problem is making sure to follow the instructions at the top of each department, as different items must arrive at the Fair at different times. A list of available things to enter, called a Premium Book, is put online in late winter or early spring, with paper copies available at public libraries and various other places around the county. The 2017 Premium Book is still available online, and the books don't change drastically from year to year, so it's a good way to see all of the different categories.
"Commercial vegetable growers and florists have their own divisions to display their creations separately from the amateurs," Schoessow said, "And there is also Department 17, which is for anyone with a Special Need who lives in Ozaukee County. Fun categories, such as 'Tallest Weed,' 'Most Unusual Vegetable,' and 'Heaviest Cabbage' get attention."
Entering your work at the Ozaukee County Fair can bring more than ribbons, or even validation: Nevins mentioned that she hired a cake decorator whose work she saw at the Fair, so it's an excellent way to market your skills, as well. In any event, what better way to pass a long Wisconsin Winter than planning a project for a warm summer day at the Ozaukee County Fair?
For more information about the Open Class Division, go to: www.ozaukeecountyfair.com/premium-books/.
Halloween comes but once a year; a chance to be someone (or something) else, and a chance to get some free candy, of course. For those who feel the need to grumble or refuse candy to teenagers participating, please refrain from saying, "Aren't you a little old to be trick-or-treating?" Let them be young; it's better to be trick-or-treating than getting into trouble. Just smile and reward them with candy.
Here are the details for 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. In Oz, there's one for almost every day of the week, and you're sure to find what you're looking for!
Of course, if you're looking for a farm to visit, we have those, too:
Cedar 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 is one of the newest in Oz to offer a family fall experience. A petting zoo, corn maze, hayrides, and kiddie train are available, as well as pumpkins, gourds, and cider. The farm is located at 587 South Royal Ave in Belgium.
Barthel's Fruit Farm in Mequon and Nieman's Orchards in Cedarburg are two of the most favorite places to go apple picking in Oz. Both farms offer pumpkins, pears, and a variety of other treats, as well. Barthel's is located at 12246 N Farmdale Rd. in Mequon, while Nieman's is located at 9932 Pioneer Rd. in Cedarburg.
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.
After a successful first run under new management last year, the Port Washington Pirate Festival will return this first weekend in June to Port's lakefront, with some reliable favorites, as well as some new additions.
The free Festival kicks off on Friday, June 2nd, at 5 p.m. with the Buccaneer Bash in the beer tent, where there will be live music from the Celtic rock band, Hearthfire, from 7-11 p.m. Happy Hour is from 7-9 p.m. Meet and greet pirates, get something to eat at the Gruel Galley from 5-11 p.m., and do some early shopping at the Thieves Marketplace from 5-10 p.m., with a variety of vendors, including: Andrea Jones - author of the Hook & Jill saga, DaSue Dragon, Sea Ratt Pirate Booty, Aurora's Apothecary, and Captain Kut's Pirate Ware, as well as some modern vendors, such as LuLaRoe, Tastefully Simple, and L'Bri.
On Saturday, June 3rd, you can start the day off early with the ever-popular Breakfast with the Pirates at Newport Shores from 8-11:30 a.m. Reservations are suggested, and can be made by calling (262) 284-6838, but walk-ins will be seated as available. Newport Shores and the PW Pirate Festival cannot be responsible for the manners of the pirates, and it is strongly recommended that you do not touch their plates.
The Festival, itself, opens at 10 a.m., with favorite acts such as Cutlass Cooking, Knotty Bits, River Valley Colonial Fife & Drum Corps, Stellamani Caravan, and Pyrates of Portabello. There will be roaming pirates, and a bounce house for the kids, as well as a children's and adult's Costume Contest. The Tall Ship Denis Sullivan will be in the harbor for deck tours and sails, as well.
New to the Festival this year, but not new to Port, is the Cardboard Boat Regatta, which will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This popular event, which was once a part of Port's Maritime Heritage Festival, takes place in the harbor and features boats made from corrugated cardboard, sailing in both youth and adult divisions, with prizes for best design and construction, best theme and costumes, most spectacular sinking, and a people's choice award. Should Saturday get rained out, the Regatta will happen on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Festival opens for the final time at 10 a.m., with a Pirate Invasion on Scoundrel's Mound at 10:30, and a Parade at noon.
The Port Washington Pirate Festival is a fun, family-friendly event. Costumes are encouraged, and there is plenty to see and do for all ages, so swab the decks of your galleon, put on your eye patch, and be prepared to sail the seven seas in the city of seven hills!
By Marjie Tomter
It is finally spring and planning is in full force for this year’s Treasures of Oz event. This year it is all about Ozaukee waters and how they come together in “The Watershed.” We will be looking at smart planning tools to protect our waters, what’s swimming around, what allows water to return to the aquifer, and how we can interact in ways that keep our waters healthy. By the end of the tour, visitors will know what their watershed is all about, which one they live in, how they can improve their watershed, and actually have an idea of how the waters come together throughout the entire county.
One of the most spectacular watershed features in Ozaukee is the Cedarburg Bog, and this year you can walk into the Bog on the UW Field Station Boardwalk. This was developed for science education and research and is rarely open to the public, but on June 17th it will be, and you can explore it with naturalists, like Kate Redmond, who really know and love the Bog and are excited to share it with you.
Lake Michigan is part of the tour, this time at Harrington Beach State Park. Park staff will show you some of the recent changes to the park. You can learn about water safety with the staff from the Kettle Moraine Feith Family YMCA, and Wisconsin Coastal Management will get you in on some of the wonderful work they are doing to protect the waters of our lake.
Ozaukee Planning and Parks staff will be your hosts at the west side of Tendick Park, where they will focus on the new prairie that was planted thanks to the generosity of Pheasants Forever. Don’t you wonder how prairie plants fit into the watershed and why Pheasants Forever is “into” prairies? Think “soils” and “aquifer” and “habitat.” Docents will show you the new Kestral and Bluebird nesting boxes. Perhaps you would like to help out by monitoring those nests?
The Treasures of Oz 2017 Eco-Tour is pleased to introduce an exciting watershed-based planning tool developed by the Mequon Partners in Preservation for the City of Mequon, which can become a model for other communities. That will be at Spirit Lake Nature Preserve, OWLT’s newest Ozaukee preserve located just off Bonniwell Road between the river and Green Bay Road.
Treasures would not be complete with a Critters component. Yes, there will be birding components: there will be dragonfly walks at Forest Beach, and we will showcase the latest in smart gardens - Bug Hotels - to support pollinators and other 6-legged garden helpers. Jeanne Lord will present one of her engaging talks at 10:30 am at Forest Beach with her Raptors of Pine View. Randy Hetzel will be there all day with his diverse crew of critters - the kind you rarely see in your neighborhoods. Our Ozaukee County game warden will be out at Ehlers park, along with experts from the Ozaukee Fish Passage Program. Fish? They will be there as well.
The Celebration at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve not only offers lots of great exhibits and presentations, but also some good food (this year with the Blue Cow Creperie) and music (old-time rock & roll/bluegrass from Steve and Friends), as well as a fun silent auction; it is also the place to trade passport stamps for raffle tickets.
Treasures 2017 is a cross between an eco-tour and a science expo. You can go just for the joy of experiencing 6 beautiful and diverse natural areas, or go to learn about the workings of the watershed through up close, real-life experience and interaction with top science docents. Go for both! This event is always a great opportunity for birding, photography, finding new recreational opportunities, and simply enjoying some of the best natural treasures in Oz.
For more information and passports, visit http://treasuresofoz.org
By Mary Boyle
If you've ever had a Kindergartner or a first-grader in your life, then you may have had the pleasure of reading the wonderfully quirky and hilariously funny adventures of one Junie B. Jones, in the book series written by Barbara Park. At last, First Stage has taken on the challenge of bringing Junie B. to the stage with JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK.
Playwright Allison Gregory read the Junie B. series to her own child ("at least 800 times"), and fell in love with the humor and the honesty. "Junie B. says what’s on her mind, tries things that she will fail at, and doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about how she comes off. She is blatantly, boldly flawed. I wish I were half as awesome as her," said Gregory.
The play combines two of Park's books: Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook and Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren. Junie B. (Selma Rivera/Molly Domski) and her best friends, Lucille (Tessa Benedic/GraceFisher) and "that" Grace (Erianna Ashmore-Purifoy/Faith Austin) have met a new boy in school, "handsome" Warren (Ryon Davis/Carson Pressley), and each of the girls is determined to get his attention. Unfortunately, Warren's first impression of Junie B. is that she's a "nutball." If that wasn't bad enough, someone has stolen Junie B.'s brand new furry black mittens! Kindergarten isn't easy.
Directed by James Fletcher, and featuring Kay Allmand as both Junie B's mom and her teacher ("Mrs., and that's all"), and Dan Katula as both Grandpa Frank and the Principal, Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook explores the truth about "finders keepers," and what it really takes to make a friend. Junie B. is, perhaps, the realest fictional Kindergartner you'll ever meet; consequently, adults either find her hysterical or annoying. If you're already a fan of Junie B., you will likely enjoy seeing her come to life on the stage; if you are new to Junie B., try to remember what it is like to be 5 years old, and be prepared to laugh.
JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK runs April 28th - June 4th, 2017 at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N Water Street in Milwaukee, WI 53202. Tickets are available by calling (414) 273-7206 or online at www.firststage.org.
About First Stage
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in the 2016-2017 season, First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young audiences and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families 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 over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs use theater to promote active learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students throughout southeastern Wisconsin each year. In 2012, First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. First Stage is the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award in 2013 and 2015, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts. First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
The first Earth Day was April 22nd, 1970, and it was the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world, but you don't have to participate globally -- there are many ways to do it locally this Saturday, April 22nd!
In Newburg, there's the Earth Day Service Fest at Riveredge from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. From preparing and planting cool garden beds in our children’s organic garden to conducing grounds clean-up and invasive species removal to trail maintenance, this fest will provide you an opportunity to get your hands dirty while keeping our sanctuary green. There’s awesome opportunities for groups, families, and individuals of all ages to get involved and make a difference. The day is free and as a special thank you, all volunteers will receive a free lunch at noon and a picnic style festival starting at 11:30am. Everyone is invited to make a nesting bag for birds, experience a composting demonstration, and play in the great outdoors. Our friends from the Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts will be joining us to lead everyone in their very own creation of a tin-can planter!
In Mequon, you can celebrate Earth Day at the Mequon Nature Preserve from 1-3 p.m. This is a free event for families and people of all ages. Kohl’s Wild Theater will perform Aldo Leopold and the Sand County Ghost, and guests can also participate in seed plantings and crafts. Please RSVP to this free event with Amy: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 262-242-8055.
Also in Mequon, the Unitarian Church North is hosting an Earth Day Family Festival from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The Festival is free and all are welcome. The event activities will be both in the church and, weather permitting, on its naturally landscaped grounds. The church is located at 13800 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, in a building that replicates the Clausing barns built in the area in the late 1800s. The Festival includes children’s nature activities, live folk music, demonstrations by holistic caregivers, fresh organic juices and foods, and numerous 15-minute presentations on homeopathy, mediation, sound healing, and more.
Port Washington has a Community Clean Up in honor of Earth Day, from 8 a.m. - noon. Kickoff will start at 8:00am in Veterans’ Memorial Park. Call the Parks & Rec Office if you or a group you’re part of is interested in helping and would like more information.
262-284-5881. "Goodies" will be provided for those who help out, such as a water bottle, snack, free day at Pirates' Hollow Waterpark, and possibly a free pass to the Milwaukee Zoo!
Also in Port, the Port Washington High School PiraTech Team will host a Community Recycling from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Donations of building materials, tools, and home furnishings will go to Habitat for Humanity, while used bikes will go to DreamBike. Electronics and Appliances (some requiring a fee), as well as Textiles and Scrap Metal will also be accepted.
The Milwaukee Riverkeeper has their 22nd Annual Spring River Cleanup from 9- noon in locations all over southeastern Wisconsin, including Lime Kiln Park in Grafton. Milwaukee Riverkeeper provides the gloves, trash bags, and amazing FREE T-SHIRTS, and you provide the hands and energy to pick up the interesting and sometimes bizarre trash that finds its way into our beautiful river system. Afterwards, come to the Trash Bash, a free celebration in partnership with Rock the Green at Estabrook Park, Picnic Area #8. Music, food, and fun await volunteers!
Happy Earth Day, Oz!
Spring has sprung, and Easter is right around the corner, and that means egg hunts, brunch, and chocolate bunnies! Here's what's in store for Ozaukee this Easter:
On Saturday, April 8th, Grafton kids in preschool through third grade can bring their baskets and join the Egg Hunt at Centennial Park. Pictures with the Easter Bunny will available between 12:30 and 1, and the hunt will begin at 1 p.m.
Port Washington has their annual Hippity Hoppity Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Bonnet Contest (even pets can get dressed up!) on Saturday, April 8th. Kids ages 2-9 should go to the Possibility Playground at 10 a.m. Photos can be taken with the Easter Bunny at the park, and families can enjoy live music by Shana Harvey. Then, "hop" to downtown Port, where many of the local businesses will be handing out additional treats between 11 and 1 p.m.
Kids in Belgium who are 10 or younger can meet at Heritage Park for an Easter Egg Hunt at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 15th for their hunt.
Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg has three different hunts the same day, 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., for their special Family Easter Egg Hunt. This is a candy-free hunt and prizes will be awarded to all participants. After the hunt, discover the wonders of Wisconsin’s egg-laying animals and color eggs using natural dyes. This event will appeal to the whole family. For everyone’s enjoyment, group sizes for the hunts will be kept small, children will be divided according to age, and bag limits will be set. Pre-registration required ($7/non-member child & $5/member child).
Easter Brunch is a popular option, which means reservations are usually required. There are many places to choose from in Port Washington: Twisted Willow, Port Hotel, Newport Shores, and Tellos are the standards, and newbie General Wooster's is testing the waters this year. Nearby in Saukville, the Firehouse Restaurant will have their Easter Brunch. In Grafton, Atlas BBQ is trying out their very first Easter Brunch, while Fire Ridge is holding up their tradition. In Mequon, Joey Gerard's is a good bet. In Cedarburg, Galioto's Twelve 21 has your Easter Brunch covered.
If you're in need of Easter Candy, get it local! Amy's Candy Kitchen and Ashley's Confectionary in Cedarburg have great selections. Sweet Trio in Grafton and The Chocolate Chisel in Port have plenty of chocolate bunnies to go around, as well.
Happy Easter from Ozaukee Living Local!