Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Fox Cities!

Valentines-Day-HeaderWritten By: Amy Karas, Convention Sales and Marketing Manager
Looking for a way to celebrate your Valentine’s Day? The Fox Cities has you covered. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a romantic night as a couple or a fun night with friends or family, there’s something for everyone!

Romance Get romantic this Valentine’s Day with a Sleigh Ride at Bubolz Nature Preserve on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Also enjoy hors d’oeuvres from The Marq by Festival, wine sampling from Kerrigan Brothers Winery, and beer from Stone Cellar Brewpub. Register now by calling (920) 731-6041. Available sleigh ride times are 5:30, 6, 6:30 and 7pm.

Family Fun The United Way Fox Cities Emerging Leaders is holding their annual Valentine’s Family Festival from 10am – Noon on Saturday, February 7, 2015, at Maplewood Middle School. This event is free to the community and provides safe, fun activities for children ages 12 & under with their families. Enjoy cookie decorating, carnival games, arts & crafts, a photo booth, live DJ and giveaways. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Dinner and Dancing The Fox Cities Performing Art Center’s Kimberly-Clark Theater presents Northeast Wisconsin’s Got Talent at 7:30pm on Saturday, February 14, 2015. Enjoy an elegant evening of cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres, auctions and performances. A portion of the proceeds will benefit newVoices – Northeast Wisconsin’s Vocal Artists. Call (920) 832-9700 to book your tickets. The Milwaukee-based Doo-Wop Daddies will be performing on Friday, February 13, 2015, in the Marquette Ballroom at the Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah. Dinner starts at 6:30pm with dancing at 8:30pm. Come for the show, dinner or make a night of it with a Guestroom Special. Call (920) 720-8000 for details and reservations.

Dinner at the Ballpark on Friday, February 13 or Saturday, February 14. enjoy an evening the club level at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. All couples will receive a four course meal, bottle of champagne, a long-stemmed rose, picture and ticket voucher for any Timber Rattlers game during the upcoming season. Sit in the main banquet facility or upgrade to a private suite for an additional fee. The club level bar is open at 5pm and dinner will be served at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling (920) 733-4152.

Valentine’s Day For All Lovers Event at the Melting Pot in Appleton. Choose from the Sweetheart or Forever Five course meal packages February 9 – 15, 2015. Call (920) 739-3533 for reservations.

Valentine’s Day at Flanagan’s Wine Review in downtown Appleton. Each course includes a different wine pairing. Choose from 5 and 8pm seating. Call (920) 749-9463 for reservations. No matter which activity you choose to do, get out and make it a sweet night to remember!

Need a place to stay? The Copperleaf Boutique Hotel & Spa is offering a Valentines Package including a one night stay in a whirlpool fireplace suite, a long stem rose, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, all for just $222.99. Price excludes tax. Call 920-749-0303 for more details!

2015 Destination Guide..The One Publication You’ll Need for Fox Cities Info!

Written By: Mary Rhode, Marketing and Communications Manager 2015GuideCover (1)

Beyond the colorful exterior, lies an abundance of information for a first-time visitor or the long-time local. I wanted to make sure to highlight some of the new sections, let you know where you can pick one up for yourself and of course share my favorite article in our guide this year. One new addition to our guide is the ABOUT page. Located in the front of the guide on page 2, this page lets you know which cities make up the Fox Cities as well as give you a few of the facts and figures about our area. Another new addition is the shopping series article; this three-part series highlights the many great options for shopping in the Fox Cities. The first part in the series focuses on Fox River Mall, with the other two parts focused on Downtown Appleton and Downtown Neenah, and will appear in the 2016 and 2017 guides respectively. Another new addition is the consignment and resale store listing. This special listing in the SHOP section of our guide was a request from visitors and locals alike. Lastly, our 2015 guide has a new and improved Visitor Services section. This section has new content headers including; kayak rental, boat rentals, sledding hills, outdoor/public pools and cross country ski trails. It seemed only logical to put this information in our guide to make it available for all visitors to discover. The Destination Guide is a labor of love for me to work on every year. When it comes to writing the articles for it, I love the challenge of coming up with interesting content for our visitors and locals alike to read. If I had to pick a favorite in the 2015 guide, it would be the ‘My Fox Cities’ article. This year’s guide highlights Cory Chisel and his journey from Appleton to Nashville and back to Appleton to create Mile of Music. This Q&A article was fun to do and as you read it, you can truly feel the passion Cory has not only for the festival but for his hometown of Appleton. A close second place for my favorite article would have to be the Local Brewers article. Although this article appeared in our 2014 Destination Guide, the 2015 article has the addition of Appleton Beer Factory. With it opening late in 2013, I was unable to include it before the final proof of the 2014 guide. I am thrilled to have them included in the 2015 article and I hope you find that article informative! The Fox Cities Destination Guide is available at a number of locations throughout our 20 communities. We have 15 Visitor Information Kiosks located at various attractions. The guide is also available at area hotels, Chambers of Commerce and the airport. Live outside of the area? Not a problem, as you can request one to be mailed to you by following this link: http://www.foxcities.org/explore/visitor_guide. You can also view a digital version of the guide through our website by following this link: http://www.foxcities.org/explore/d_visitor_guide

New Years Eve in the Fox Cities

Written By: Jeni Strom, Group Visitor Services Coordinator

Looking for a way to celebrate your New Year Eve? Here’s a list of a few places around the Fox Cities that can help you ring in the New Year!

  • Noodles Around The World – 12-5pm at the Building for Kids Appleton. A family friendly event! For details and contact information click here.
  • Noon Years Eve! – Funset Boulevard is hosting this fun event. starting at 10am with all-day specials. For information and details click here
  • Mile of Music new Years Encore Eve - Held at The Radisson Paper Valley. A small selection of bands return for a New Years Eve celebration. Event starts at 6pm and package options are available! Click here for more information.
  • Skyline Comedy Cafe – Comedian Graham Elwood. You can pre-order your tickets now. Visit their website for more information.
  • Badger Sports Park, New Years Eve Family Party – Enjoy laser tag, unlimited video games, mini bowling, inflatables and a balloon drop at 9:10 with great prizes. Advance tickets available by phone or at their front counter. Limited spots available. First come, first serve. Event starts at 7pm.
  • First Eve - This FREE event held in downtown Menasha will feature live TV coverage from Curtis Reed Square hosted by Tom Zalaski and Erin Davisson. A family-friendly, alcohol-free event that includes live music, street dance, lantern launch, midnight ball drop, fireworks and prizes. Warm up by the hot air balloon warming stations. Event begins at 10pm.
  • Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant  – Ring in the New Year with our four-course New Year’s Eve menu. Book a reservation between 2:30-4 p.m. and receive a $10 gift card! For details click here.
  • Gather Americana New Years Eve EventClick here for times and menu details.

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 week.photo 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!

photo 2

The Fire also offers mosaics and clay projects as well! Check online for more events through the Appleton Public Library at http://www.apl.org/, and for more information and events going on at The Fire visit http://thefireartstudio.com/. A fun indoor activity and great for all ages!!

Head Downtown for the Holidays

Written by: Jeni Strom, Group Visitor Services Coordinator

My kids and I headed downtown Appleton on Saturday, November 25th for holiday family day. Our first stop was the Appleton Winter Farm Market at City Center Plaza, it’s definitely on a smaller scale than that of the summer farm market, but still offers a good selection of vendors and with the holiday season, they’ve added a few extra free family friendly events and activities. My kidcookies with Mrs Clauss were most excited to make a visit to Mrs. Claus and decorate cookies! This included coloring for the kids and a Christmas storybook time. We also got to see a small performance of some classic Christmas carols from the Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir . Be sure to check out the Appleton Winter Farm Market every Saturday at City Center, and watch for more holiday activities!

 

We also took some time to walk around window displaydowntown to look at some of the holiday window displays. Many of the downtown stores take extra time to come up with fun and creative ways to spruce up their displays for the holidays. So if you’re out and about downtown, be sure to stop and take a look!

 

 

We ended our day with a walk through the Festival of Trees at The Trout Museum of Art. Festival of Trees is an exhibit for local businesses and artists to create and decorate festival of trees 2themed Christmas trees or wreaths for silent auction. Bidding is open now through Dec 4, but the exhibit will be available for viewing through Dec 7. Throughout this time they will also have some special events and performances to see. You can get more information and details on their website. It’s free and open to the public, so stop in and enjoy these beautifully festival of treesdecorated pieces!wreath

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.

Sangria’s

I met several pals at Sangria’s Mexican Grill on Monday and to my surprise the place was absolutely hoppin.’  I was surprised to learn that it’d about 20 minutes before we got a table, but it was well worth the wait.  I can’t say enough about the nice experience we had.  The food was outstanding, portions generous and prices reasonable.  Our waiters were fun, charming and attentive despite a few minor language challenges.

The minute we were seated we given a seriously huge bowl of chips and smaller bowls of bean dip and salsa.  The chips were fresh, crisp and salty, and positively addictive.  In fact, they were some of the best tortilla chips I’ve ever had.  The five of us ate nearly the whole bowl and a few more from a second bowl too.

The menu had a wide selection of choices, several of which I was unfamiliar with.  I chose something that turned out to be kind of a shredded chicken enchilada as my entrée, and my waiter helped me select two side dishes from a list of “accessories.”  I chose, believe it or not, Mexican style mashed potatoes and Tequila veggies.  The portion was large and very reasonably priced at less than $10.  Everyone in my group raved about the food, had plenty to eat and took home a to-go box as well.

Sangria’s is located at 215 S. Memorial Drive in downtown Appleton.  If they have a website, I couldn’t find it, but you can call them for information at 920-955-3755.