Last Minute ‘Back to School’ fun in the Fox Cities!

Posted by: Mary Ann Minten, Group Visitor Services Coordinator

Looking to have some last minute family fun, before the kids head back to school?  The Fox Cities is your one-stop shop for fun ideas.

Here are 20 suggestions:

Enjoy the last days of summer Fox Cities style!  For more ideas on fun in the Fox Cities, click here.

A “Suite” Deal at the Fox Cities PAC

With only a handful of performances left in the 2011/12 Season, the Fox Cities Performing Arts  has a “suite” deal on the Entrance 21 Luxury Suite. The Entrance 21 Luxury Suite rolls out the red carpet (literally) with private valet, gourmet refreshments and prime seating for 12 guests in the adjacent Dress Circle box seats. It’s ideal for small get-togethers celebrating a milestone, entertaining clients and colleagues or spending a night on the town with a group of friends.

Take advantage of this “suite” deal, and save 10% on reservations for RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles on May 18-19 and Billy Elliot the Musical June 19-24. For availability and pricing or to make a reservation, please contact the Fox Cities P.A.C. at (920) 730-3782 or email

Jack E. Richeson & Co, Inc.

By: Kelly Ann Hekler, Convention Sales Manager

Calling all artists!  Jack E. Richeson & Co., Inc. is truly a hidden gem in the Fox Cities! They offer a wonderful art studio, gallery and school.  They also offer classes of all levels, even to people like me who can’t even draw a stick figure!  There is truly so much to see in the 25,000 square foot gallery!

The gallery is divided into thirds.  In one third, the Richeson family displays their collection with over 200 paintings on display year round.  I personally do not have a huge understanding of art, however; I was really able to appreciate the talent displayed.  Another third is reserved for well-known contemporary painters.  The final third is for new and unknown painters.  This section features artists from all over the country and even some locals!  It was great to see the undiscovered talent and what they can create.  It was especially interesting to see some of the local artists’ work and the local areas that were featured in their paintings.  Some of the paintings are for sale and would be a great showpiece in any home.

In the middle of the gallery, a classroom is set up for local painters to come in and paint, chat and talk about their work.  They have local teachers and also, once a month, a national known painter teaches special workshops.  If you are new to painting and don’t yet have supplies, there are some supplies available for use.

The Jack E. Richeson & Co, Inc. even makes their own painting supplies like canvas, paints, palettes, brushes and easels.  They sell to a lot of different stores across the country but they do have a store in the warehouse where local artists can buy direct from the manufacturer.  There is also space for meetings and business receptions, what a fun place to host a meeting!

I would encourage all to visit Jack E. Richeson & Co., Inc. They are located on Marcella Street, not too far from the Hilton Garden Inn in Appleton, in a business and industrial park.  For more information and directions, check out their website or their Facebook page. Maybe you will become inspired and one day people will be looking at your work displayed in their gallery!

Insider Scoop: How to Win Tickets to “Billy Elliot the Musical”

This month, you can Watch & Win tickets to Billy Elliot the Musical at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton. Head to the the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on Facebook and keep an eye out for contest videos. Look for the Watch & Win keyword, and enter for a chance to win!.

One lucky winner will receive four tickets to Billy Elliot the Musical at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Billy Elliot the Musical is a joyous celebration of one young boy’s journey to make his dreams come true based on the smash-hit independent film of the same name with music by the legendary Elton John. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising passion that inspired his family and his whole community. On Broadway, the show won ten 2009 Tony® Awards including Best Musical and won praise from fans and critics alike, including Ben Brantley of The New York Times who called Billy Elliot, “the most inspiring show I’ve seen in years.”

Kitchen Dreams

Ricky Bernstein remembers the kitchen of his youth as a chaotic, funny place …. kind of like mine, but his is much better to look at.  This morning my friends at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum invited me to hear Bernstein talk about his exhibit that runs April 14-September 2, 2012 at the museum.

It was an awesome opportunity to hear how the artist works, what inspires him and how “Kitchen Dreams” came to be.  The exhibit takes you into a comical world of 1950’s pop culture.  Using glass, aluminum and childhood

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memories, Bernstein pieces together everyday life through a caricature of social roles and cultural icons.  The life-sized collages are bold, bright and bound to bring you a good belly laugh.

My favorite was “Dog Dreams” .. because I have that dog… and all of the ladies with curlers in their hair.  Brought back some memories from my childhood (sorry mom).

The entire family will love this exhibit…they even have colorging books for the kids.

Million Dollar Night on the Town

My husband and I just saw “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.  It was a terrific show, in fact far better than I anticipated.  But then, I’ve never been disappointed in a visit to the Fox Cities PAC.  The theater is beautiful, the volunteers who assist you are professional and welcoming, and the performances are absolutely top notch.

Here are a few of my recommendations for making any show at the PAC into a special occasion:

  • Stop for a glass of wine at Flanagan’s Wine Review before the show.  It’s just a block away and you’ll find the wine selection to be excellent.
  • Make dinner reservations at Apollon, which is about 3 blocks away.  I recommend that you order the Saganaki, a flaming cheese, as your hors d’oeuvre and be ready to yell “Opa!” 
  • If you prefer a more casual dinner before the show, I like Senor Tequila’s for a tasty Mexican meal and a Margarita. 
  • After the show you can drop in at Deja Vu for a fancy martini.  Take it from me – they’re potent, so don’t have two unless you’ve got a hotel reservation nearby.