Appleton Downtown Inc. Wins Partnership Award from FCCVB

Originally posted on Appleton Downtown:

Appleton Downtown Incorporated was honored to accept the Partnership Award from the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2015.


The Partnership Award recognizes an organization whose work with the Bureau has been unusually strong and which has let to tangible tourism-related results. The award was presented to both Appleton Downtown Incorporated and Future Neenah. Since 2012, the Bureau has conducted press tours of the Fox Cities. From the beginning, these two organizations have played an integral part in the success of our press tours by securing commitments from many of our area restaurants as well as showcasing their shops and entertainment venues. These tours could not go on, nor the articles be written, without the cooperation and partnership of both of these organizations.

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State Robotics Competition at Xavier High School

Written by: Adam Schanke, Sports Marketing Manager

On Saturday, February 21st, 52 of the best VEX Robotics teams from Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will compete in the Wisconsin VEX High School State Championship at Xavier High School in hopes of advancing to the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

VEX Robotics is the world’s largest robotics competition for middle school and high school students, with more than 10,000 teams from 32 countries competing in over 750 tournaments annually.


Students build and program robots from scratch, using components from the VEX Robotics Design System. Each year students compete in a new game or challenge.

This year’s game is called Skyrise. The basic concept of Skyrise is for teams of two robots to put as many hollow VexSkyriseField (1)cubes on posts as possible in the time allowed. A match starts with a 15 second period where the robot acts autonomously using sensors and pre-programmed commands. Points from this period are scored, and then a 1 minute 45 second period begins in which students control the robots with remote controllers. For an example of a match, watch this video.

Fox Cities high schools competing in the state championship include Fox Valley Lutheran, Menasha, Neenah, St. Mary Central, and Xavier. These schools had to qualify at one of 8 local level tournaments throughout the state to advance to the state championship.

The competition will take place between 9:00am and 5:00pm in Xavier High School’s Torchy Clark Gym. For details, visit the Wisconsin VEX High School State Championship event page.

In Appleton, Wisconsin: Focusing on homelessness via the Little Red Wagon


A free moving showing and a chance to raise awareness for the homeless, right here in Appleton! I love this and such a great cause!

Originally posted on Minnesota Prairie Roots:

Little Red Wagon movieWHEN CHURCHES PRACTICE what they preach, they make a noticeable impact in the world.

When individuals do good, they also make a difference.

This Saturday The Mission Church will impact Appleton, Wisconsin, with a free screening of the movie, Little Red Wagon, based on the true story of Zach Bonner. In 2005, the then 7-year-old founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation, a nonprofit that helps underprivileged kids, focusing on those who are homeless. Just a year earlier, he’d canvassed his Arkansas neighborhood with his little red wagon gathering items for survivors of Hurricane Charley.

Zach, who now lives in Florida, will be in Appleton for the 10 a.m. Saturday, January 24, screening at Valley Value Cinemas, 2165 South Memorial Drive, and for a reception following at The Mission, 314 North Appleton Street. Movie attendees are invited to afterward walk the two miles from the movie theatre to the church…

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New Year, New Activities!

Written By: Jen Hecht, Convention Services Coordinator

New Year’s resolutions are one of the biggest topics of conversation to kick off the New Year. Whatever your resolution might be – being more active, trying something new, eating healthier, or embracing your creative side – the Fox Cities has an event to help you keep your resolution in 2015!

Starting to Paint in Watercolor
January 10, 2015 – January 17, 2015
Saturdays, 9am-Noon.

One of the Museum’s Adult Winter Classes; Dive right in to watercolors. Learn color relationships, color mixing, and familiarize yourself with materials and techniques to complete your own painting to take home.

Appleton Downtown Winter Farm Market
Every Saturday through May, 9am-12:30pm
Featuring; veggies, meats, baked goods, homemade soup & dip mixes, gluten free options, handcrafted items, jewelry, rugs & more. PLUS, enjoy all that Downtown Appleton has to offer!

Experience Art
January 17, 2015
Earn your Art Belt Loop and Artist Activity Badge at Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass Scout Workshops.

Moonlight Ski
January 23 & February 6, 2015
Enjoy a 1.5 mile ski or 1 mile snowshoe under the moonlight. Trails will be lit along the way. Relax after with a campfire and s’mores.

Candlelight Snowshoe Hike
January 24, 2015
Snowshoe on the Reserve following an illuminated trail throughout the wetland.  We’ll conclude the evening with hot cocoa by a bonfire.  Dress for the weather!  Advanced registration and payment required.

Frost 5K
January 31, 2015
Join us for a 5K snowshoe race in the morning followed by a day full of family fun activities.

Bridgie Sprint and Family Funski Race Sponsored by Scheels
February 15, 2015
Registration begins at 8am
Join us for the 2015 Bridgie Cross-Country Ski Sprints and Fun-Ski event! We will have a competitive, timed race bracket for seasoned skiers/racers on our 1.6 K trail. Novice racers will have a bracket of their own. Awards will be given to top male and female racers.

Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve

For more information and a complete list of all of the events happening in the Fox Cities, please visit today!


Getting Creative at The Fire

Written By: Jeni Strom, Group Visitor Services Coordinator

We headed downtown Appleton last night to take part in the Teen Night; Make One, Take One event at The Fire pottery studio. The event was held in conjunction with the Appleton Public Library and free for teens 11 and up (pre-registration was required as space and materials were limited). The idea of the event was for the girls to make one glass pendant for themselves and their second pieces would be given as holiday gifts to a elderly ladies in assisted living homes.  A pretty neat idea and a great way to get them involved in the spirit of giving! The girls got to pick their glass pieces and colors they wanted to use, and draw out their designs. The final products will be finished in about a 1

While the girls had their fun, my son and I decided to do a little project of our own, and each painted our own mugs to be fired. They have lots of pre-made pottery to choose from, all you have to do is paint on your designs! They’re pottery projects range in price from as little as $5 up to around $30. They set you up and walk you through the process and then let you do your thing!

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The Fire also offers mosaics and clay projects as well! Check online for more events through the Appleton Public Library at, and for more information and events going on at The Fire visit A fun indoor activity and great for all ages!!

Hidden Holiday Gems

Pam Seidl, Executive Director

Tis the holiday shopping season and the Fox Cities have something for everyone with a shopping list.  Fox River Mall is the obvious choice to start your shopping and our local downtowns, especially Appleton and Neenah, have many locally-owned shops with great gift options.  So enough of the marketing message … let’s talk about a few places that only the locals know about.

The Garden in Neenah is a store focused on growing with healthy soil.  Their wheelhouse is summer produce grown on-site or nearby as well as products to help home gardeners grow organically, but they are open year-round and have a great selection of wreaths, sprays and Christmas trees. Inside the shop you will find a large selection of Himalayan pink salt – everything from lamps and shot glasses to large slabs for cooking, candles with essential oils and some lovely holiday décor.  (The Garden, 833 E. Cecil St., Neenah).

The Wreath Factory and Wild Apple Studio are two gems in downtown Menasha.  The Wreath Factory specializes in home décor and has one of the most extensive displays of Christmas trees and festive holiday  ideas for your home.  Those with a crafty bent can purchase greens for creating their own seasonal decorations.

Wild Apple Studio is owned by local glass artist Mary Weidert.  She showcases her own works plus those of other local artisans.  I appreciate the variety of items and prices in this shop.  A great place to find gifts for teachers, babysitters and the like.

While we are on the locally-owned and sourced subject, I’ve tried a few new restaurants all focusing on locally sourced ingredients.  In close proximity to Fox River Mall are SAP and Gather Americana. SAP features breakfast all day and an amazing bakery.  Expect a wait almost anytime and especially during the breakfast, lunch or dinner hour. Gather Americana is just south of the mall, and may afford a bit of a respite from the mall holiday shopping crowds.  Great beer and wine list and lots of small plates to share.

Also on the must-visit list is Rye located in the CopperLeaf hotel in downtown Appleton. Nice variety of takes on comfort food and something to please everyone. Try the crab croquettes!

A little more off the beaten path is The Source Public House. A family friendly restaurant serving lunch and dinner with brunch on Sundays with a casual atmosphere.  The focus is on clean, fresh, natural and sustainable.  Try the Wisconsin platter of cheese, jerky and honey or the Andouille Mac & Cheese.

High Cliff State Park…a geological gem

Posted by: Amy Karas, Convention Sales Representative

Growing up in Door County, I was surrounded by scenic shoreline and had plenty of parks available for swimming or hiking. When I moved to Appleton 9 years ago, I was excited to find that I could still enjoy nature while living in a bigger city. One of my favorite places to hike is at High Cliff State Park. The park is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Winnebago in Sherwood, Wisconsin, just a short 15 to 20 minute drive from Appleton, Wisconsin, the Fox Cities’ largest community.

High Cliff1High Cliff State Park has over 26 miles of trails including the Bike and Horse trails, Forest Management Trail, Butterfly Pond Trail, Indian Mound Trail and the Lime-Kiln Trail which is the one I hiked this past Thursday with friends and family. This trail is a combination of hiking near the Winnebago shoreline, in the steep Niagra Escarpment and through the kiln remains. From 1895 to 1956 a company town operated the limestone quarry in this area. All that remains today are the kiln ruins and the store. I have included pictures of the kiln ruins and other beautiful scenery from the Lime-Kiln Trail.

There are many other activities to do at High Cliff State Park for any season although the spring, summer and fall have the largest variety including picnicking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, boating, biking, horseback riding and fishing. It is definitely worth climbing the tower to look out across the fields from the observation deck.

High Cliff3I have also utilized the group campsites which can hold up to 60 people and are separate from the family campground. The field in the middle of the group sites is perfect for volleyball nets and other recreational activities. During the winter months, the trails are converted to snowshoe and cross country ski paths as well. Visitors do need a state park sticker for entry. Day passes are also available.

The scenic 18-hole High Cliff Public Golf Course is located just outside of the park and overlooks the Niagra Escarpment and Winnebago shoreline. High Cliff Restaurant and Banquets is also just outside of the park and is open year round for events. If camping is not your thing, but you would still like to experience the park, golf course or banquet hall, arrange to stay at the High Cliff Resort Suites in Sherwood or any of our Fox Cities hotels just a short drive away.