Category: Family Fun

Great Hiking with some Hidden Adventure


Written by: Jeni Strom, Marketing and Visitor Services Coordinator

If you haven’t yet visited High Cliff State Park, you should definitely add it to your list. A beautiful park located on the shores of Lake Winnebago, and with nothing short of great views and leisurely hikes along its many trails, it’s sure to please.

HighCliffStatePark_SherwoodWIlakeviewtwoI love to hike and the more nature involved the better. I’ve hiked at High Cliff many times before, and while it’s always beautiful scenery, I like to try and venture down a path I’ve never gone or hike a trail in the opposite direction, just to see what new things or views I might stumble upon. I recently discovered a new adventure available at the park and I can’t wait to try it! I read an article that mentioned letterboxes at High Cliff, I had never heard of them before, so naturally I was curious. Apparently, there are 3 of these letterboxes hidden in the park somewhere along its trails. After I read the article, I had to Google it and find out more. It brought me to the website Atlas Quest , you can search for all letterboxes in the Untied States, narrow down to a specific area, and gives you clues to print out before your search to point you in the right direction. Turns out there’s a few other spots in the Fox Cities with hidden boxes too!

HighCliffStatePark_SherwoodWIfallviewNow is a great time to get out and enjoy the park, the weather is changing and fall colors turning soon, a nice hike in the fall is never a bad idea. I’ll definitely be heading out to High Cliff State Park to have my own hiking treasure hunt soon and I just might have to try my luck at the other spots too!

Click here to check out the article I read to find out more about her experience at High Cliff and her letterbox adventure!

Appleton Octoberfest: A Mile of Fun!

Octoberfest_Appleton Sidewalk

Written by: Adam Schanke, Sports Marketing Manager

Since 1981, one of the most popular annual events in the Fox Cities is Appleton’s Octoberfest. Octoberfest takes place on a blocked-off mile-long stretch of College Avenue in downtown Appleton on Friday, September 25th and Saturday, September 26th.

License to Cruise 2014The fun kicks off on Friday with License to Cruise, featuring over 400+ classic cars, live music, and food from local restaurants. Every year 50,000+ people walk College Avenue to check out their dream cars. This year’s feature vehicle is a Volkswagen, which can be found in front of City Center plaza. Live music starts at 6:00pm with The Doo-Wop Daddies in Houdini Plaza. Several other musicians will be roaming the Ave and performing on street corners.

IMG_7429_100925On Saturday, the party continues with an estimated expected attendance of 100,000 people. Five stages of music, endless food options, and beer highlight the event. Each music stage is devoted to a specific genre of music. Headliners this year include Vic Ferrari, Cool Waters Band, The Doo-Wop Daddies, and more. With approximately 100 nonprofit food vendors, there will be a large variety of delicious choices. Bring your appetite! The beer stands will offer Budweiser products, in addition to several craft beers.

Also an Octoberfest tradition is an arts and crafts area located on the east end of College Avenue by Lawrence University. Over 150 vendors will offer various items from jewelry, clothing, and pottery, to home décor.

The festival is also family-friendly, with an entire area designated for family fun. This area features magicians, karate demonstrations, carnival games, and more.

Octoberfest still has a few open slots for volunteers. Available volunteer roles include being a block captain and bartending. By volunteering, you will be helping Octoberfest assist hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the Fox Cities.

Although it may not be available at Octoberfest, Stone Arch/Stone Cellar brews a seasonal Stonetoberfest beer, which can be found on tap and in stores this fall. Additionally, Fox River Brewing Company recently released their Foxtoberfest and Appleton Beer Factory tapped their Oktoberfest earlier this week.

Be sure to check out the Octoberfest website, Facebook, and Twitter for details and updates.

The Community First Fox Cities Marathon has something for everyone!

Written by: Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports Marketing

A general misconception is that you need to be an ultra-fit athlete with 3% body fat who trains year-round to enjoy the marathon weekend of events. But the thousands of participants, spectators, and fans who take part in the annual September tradition will tell you it has something for everyone. I have taken part in almost everything the marathon weekend has to offer, so let me give you my thoughts:

Marathon 2 photo for 2013 runners near waterSunday Race Day (The Marathon, Half Marathon, & Marathon Relay) – I have completed the half marathon and been on a team in the marathon relay, but haven’t done the big one yet. I loved the feeling of the start of the race. The sound of thousands of footsteps running in unison at the crack of dawn to one common goal was invigorating. I wish my time would have been better and my legs weren’t as tired, but the finish line is fun too. Tons of food, drinks, entertainment to enjoy. The Sunday races will go on a new route this year to showcase more of the Fox Cities great trail system and waterways.

The 5K Run/Walk – If you are working your way up to the longer races on Sunday, Saturday’s 5K Run/Walk is a great option. The 5K uses the same finish line at Riverside Park in Neenah as the Sunday races and brings along a lot of the same festive atmosphere. The route is relatively flat, so it’s nice for us who don’t enjoy hills!

The Kids Fun Run – It is impossible to attend this event and not smile. Hundreds of little kids participating in running events and other games and activities makes for a great time. My girls have done the diaper dash, toddler trot, and mini-dash (around the bases at Fox Cities Stadium). This year our oldest might move up to the ¼ mile run. There is also a half mile option as well. If you have young kids, I highly encourage you to bring them out to Fox Cities Stadium on Friday night.

The Expo – The expo at UW-Fox Valley is always a great opportunity to get all your registration information, the latest gear, or sit in on an educational presentation. There is a great deal of excitement and anticipation at the expo and runners prepare for the start of their race.

IMG_0479Spectating – If we aren’t running, we like to bring our family out to the race course and cheer on the runners early on Sunday morning. The runners really appreciate the encouragement (and the momentary distraction) and our kids love picking out runners and saying, “Go Green Runner” or “Go Pink Runner”. And if you are from the area, chances are you are going to see at least one person you know.

Volunteering – It takes 2,300 volunteers to pull off the marathon weekend of events. If running isn’t your thing, the event organizers are always looking for a few extra helping hands!

This year’s Community First Fox Cities Marathon will be held September 18-20 and will be the celebration of the 25th Marathon. For more information on the weekend of events, go to:

It’s Apple Season!!


September is here and autumn is upon us, with that comes all of those great fall activities; one of my favorites, apple picking! There’s nothing like picking your own fresh apples right from the tree to enjoy and the Fox Cities has some great places for picking!

Apple picking is easy and fun for the whole family! Over the years, my family and I have visited Sprangers and Star Orchards, both of which are located in the Fox Cities. The farmers will tell you what varieties are ripe and ready, and where to look for them in the orchard.  As I go through the orchard, I sometimes like to sample before picking.  This is a common practice for many apple pickers, and is encouraged. When selecting the right apples you’ll want to make sure they’re firm and bruise-free, just roll the apple and give it a little twist! Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so ones around the outside of the tree will ripen first. Once picked, place the apples gently into your basket to be sure not to bruise them because they will go bad more quickly. To increase their shelf life, it’s best to store apples in a cool, dry place.

apple picking-abby      apple picking-abby2

Orchards charge by the pound for your apples, It’s always fun to try and guess how much you have picked as you watch the numbers on the scale go up.  A bushel weighs between 42 and 48 pounds. If picking your own isn’t your thing, both orchards we visited have a small store where you can purchase pre-picked apples, as well as locally made edibles.

A few of our local orchards are listed below. Be sure to get out this fall and take advantage of our great orchards! Picking season varies depending on weather and location but typically runs from September through October.

Bauer’s Apple Shed – W7763 Wisconsin Avenue, Hortonville
Hofacker’s Hillside Orchard – W3964 Wedge Road, Appleton
Sprangers Orchard – W2100 County Road KK, Kaukauna
Star Orchard – 253 County Road CE, Kaukauna

Fresh picked apples are great to eat all on their own but I love to use mine for baking. Apple cobbler is my families favorite go-to apple treat. My recipe is below!

Apple Cobbler
7-8 (9 cups) large tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼ inch
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
serve with vanilla ice cream (optional) – but why wouldn’t you?!

Catch a Movie Under the Stars!

Field of Scenes

Written by: Mary Rhode, Marketing & Communications Manager

What better way to spend a gorgeous Wisconsin summer night than under the stars, cozied up with friends or family, some popcorn, your favorite snacks, and a drink or two, for some good old fashion outdoor movie time.

Just last month, my husband and I had our date night at Field of Scenes drive-in movie theatre in Freedom. We both look forward to this every summer because it is truly something unique and different to do in our own backyard. Field of Scenes has been a family-owned business in the Fox Cities since 2003. With 2 screens showing the newest releases, affordable pricing and snacks galore, Field of Scenes is the perfect date night or family night out activity!

FullSizeRender (1) (1)

If you’ve never had the opportunity to go to Field of Scenes drive-in before, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Arrive early to claim a spot as only 300 cars are allowed in for Screen 1 and 200 for Screen 2. On a beautiful summer night, both screens are sure to reach capacity. The movies begin at dusk, which in July is about 8:45 p.m. We arrived around 6:30 p.m. and got a prime parking spot, just 4 rows back from the screen.
  • There are fun activities to keep everyone occupied prior to show time, including mini golf, volleyball, basketball and open areas for tossing the football or playing bean bag toss.
  • If you have a car, face your headlights towards the screen; if you have a truck, park with your tailgate facing the screen. We just set our lawn chairs up in the back of the truck.
  • Admission prices are: $7.00 per person for ages 12 & over, $3.00 per person for ages 4 – 11 and ages 3 and under are free. The price is the same whether you attend one movie or both. That’s right! You get 2 movies for the price of one admission!
  • IMG_1967 (1)Dogs are allowed at Field of Scenes, as long as they remain on a leash and you pick up after them. This year, we had one additional member of our family that got to join us, our new puppy Cabela.
  • Bring blankets, lawn chairs and bug spray
  • Carry-ins are not allowed, but don’t worry….the concession stand is stocked and very affordable.

Make sure to take the time this summer to grab your family and head to the drive-in theatre for a unique movie experience! For more information on Field of Scenes, visit their website

Summer fun in the Fox Cities!

Written by: Karen Treml, Visitor Services Coordinator 

With summer in full swing, the Fox Cities is bursting with events and things to do and see. It’s easy when you live here year-round, with the hustle and bustle of your everyday schedules, to overlook and miss, not only events, but also the great areas we have to explore. We decide to take some weekend time checking out a few events and exploring a little more of our area.

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass Annual Art Festival
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass Annual Art Festival

We started our morning in Kimberly at the Old Glory Café for breakfast. The restaurant is decorated to honor our Military and service members, the wait-staff was friendly and helpful, and the food was excellent! We then drove to Neenah for the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass 41st Annual Arts Festival in Riverside Park – A great event to walk around and view the work of hundreds of artists.

We also took this opportunity to take a walk through part of Neenah’s historical district. It showcases many of the historical mansions that were once the homes of some very prominent and influential people of our local paper industry in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Part of the tour takes you past the Kimberly Point Lighthouse at Kimberly Point Park, where the Fox River and Lake Winnebago meet; a great spot to take in the views of both the river and the lake.

Paper Baron Mansion
Havilah Babcock House, Neenah Historical Tour
Kimberly Point Lighthouse
Photo credit: Appleton Old Car Show
Photo credit: Appleton Old Car Show

The next stop was the Old Car Show & Swap Meet at Pierce Park in Appleton. This event was free and featured antique collector cars & trucks; almost 1,000 vehicles to view! The also had live music and food to enjoy while walking around the park. This was a fun relaxing day and a great way to enjoy the summer weather and take in a lot of what our area has to offer!

Summer seems to be flying by, so make sure you get out to some of these great events and take some time to explore the area! From farm markets, live music, art shows and sporting events; the Fox Cities has something for everyone! Check our website for a full listing of upcoming events and things to see!

Run For Chocolate!


Written by: Katie Kemps, Sports Marketing Intern

Hello Fox Cities! Do you love chocolate? Love it enough to run for it? It’s almost time for Appleton’s Chocoholic Frolic 5K/10K Race August 2, 2015 at the Fox Cities Stadium – Neuroscience Group Field in Appleton.

If you love chocolate, then this is a perfect event to get your friends and families involved with and have a good time! Run, jog, or walk your way through the course and enjoy two chocolate stops along the way from Vande Walle’s Candies, then get a sweet reward at the finish line with a double chocolate cupcake from Rebecca’s Sweets Boutique.

Each participant will receive a long sleeve hoodie, a race tote bag, and a Chocoholic Frolic Finisher Bar. Don’t forget about all the chocolate you will get to enjoy along the course itself! Charity partner is Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Click here to register or find out more information. Online registration closes on July 28, 2015 at 11:59pm. This event is limited to 4,000 participants, so hurry and sign up today!

Chocoholic Frolic Picture

“I don’t understand why so many “so called” chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are veggies, ’nuff said.”  

– Anonymous