Okay, so it’s supposedly 64 degrees as I write this, cloudy, rain imminent and not feeling like summer is soon to be upon us at all, but Memorial Day weekend is historically thought of as the opening weekend to summer. Who wants to notify Mother Nature to check her calendar as a reminder that it’s practically the end of May and to get with it in warming things up?
Regardless of the weather, it is Memorial Day in a few days and with that comes a boatload of activities and events to choose from to help you enjoy the 3-day weekend in Walworth County. First and foremost are the tributes to our nation’s fallen heroes who made our freedom to celebrate possible, followed by introduction to some summertime fun to get the season started.
Use this as your resource for the list of Memorial Day ceremonies and parades that are planned for in almost every community in Walworth County. Most all take place on Monday morning, May 29, and feature veterans, military salutes, local school bands, and in some cases parades, each in honor of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
With all respect to the meaning and purpose of the Memorial Day weekend, I still have to ask this next question: who loves chocolate and I want you to answer by raising your hand? Wow! That’s like everybody, as well it should be. Well, okay, there is that one person I know who is, gasp, allergic to chocolate. Still, there’s no reason that everyone shouldn’t be heading over to Burlington for ChocolateFest! Friday, May 26, kicks things off with a grand fireworks display at 9pm. Then begins the full weekend of being in a chocolate paradise! A visit to the Chocolate Experience Test includes chocolate vendors and sample tasting opportunities, chocolate eating contests, a chocolate sculpting competition, chef demonstrations, a high school culinary challenge, and chocolate-related activities for all ages. Wonder how often one can go through and get samples or if they limit it, ‘coz seriously, it’s chocolate and there should be no limits. Maybe I’ll have to dig up some disguises or wigs or something, as chocolate shouldn’t be denied… I suppose I should mention there are other activities at ChocolateFest as well, like the carnival and rides, petting zoo and the live music covering a variety of genres, plus so much more! If you don’t get your chocolate fix taken care of here, then I don’t know what else to do for you.
Once the sugar high has kicked in from ChocolateFest, go over to beautiful Echo Park, also in Burlington, for the Jaycee’s Annual Arts, Crafts & Vendors Fair, held Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 26, 10am-4pm each day. A stroll through the park will get you checking out handmade arts & crafts, metal yard art, garden art, handmade jewelry, clothing, bird houses, sculptures, furniture and lots more. Make sure you left room in the car for those must-have items you’re going to get! I’ll help make room in my car, too, and you can get me something while there. Deal?
So my girls and I used to do ‘dessert first’ nights occasionally when they were much younger. Okay, I’ll admit it – we still do sometimes even now that they are both almost full out 20-somethings. With that, let’s consider ChocolateFest ‘dessert first’ and then I’ll meet you in East Troy for their Annual Corn & Brat Roast, held Friday, May 26, through Monday, May 29. It’s the 41st year for this popular event and it doesn’t look a day over 29! The Village square will be filled with people just like us that succumbed to the temptations of roasted sweet corn, and grilled brats, hot dogs, and burgers, all washed down with soda or beer. Thank goodness there’s live entertainment to dance to that will help work off the calories!
Another form of working off the calories will be done while walking around East Troy for the 26th Annual Community-wide Rummage Sale, held all weekend, 9am-4pm each day. Wow – food, music and great deals! What else could you ask for? So glad you asked ~ the answer is the 2nd Annual Brewfest, which is Sunday, May 28, from 3-6pm. Featuring unlimited samples of over 35 craft beers and micro brews from area breweries, such as Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lakefront Brewery, Deschutes Brewery, Geneva Lake Brewing, and more. There will also be the best local homebrewers in East Troy bringing out their best drafts for tasting and rating. East Troy has got it going on this coming weekend!
Are you a backyard astronomy enthusiast? What’s your favorite sky viewing app for your phone? Get your star geek nature fulfilled with Yerkes Observatory as they host Explore Scientific Demo Days, Friday through Sunday, May 26-28, on the Observatory grounds. Explore Scientific is the manufacturer of the choice for the eyepieces used with the 40-inch Great Refractor Telescope used in the pubic viewing program at Yerkes. The staff of Explore Scientific, as makers of high-quality telescopes, binoculars, eyepieces, microscopes, and observing accessories, will demonstrate and also offer their products for sale to those of us dreaming of the stars and beyond. The event will run concurrently with Yerkes’ daytime tours on Friday and Saturday, from 11am-5:30pm, and though tours of the building won’t be available on Sunday, Explore Scientific and their displays will still be available on the Observatory grounds, again from 11am-5:30pm. If Mother Nature cooperates with weather permitting it, then take advantage from 7:30-11pm each evening, Friday through Sunday, of looking through telescopes and eyepieces that Explore Scientific will have available. This is separate from Yerkes’ evening viewing on Friday and Saturday, again weather permitting, with the 40-inch refractor or the 24-inch reflector telescope, that still has the normal registration process, with limited space and applicable fees as usual. No matter how many constellations and planetary bodies you can name, the opportunity to view the night sky with these historic telescopes is not to be missed, besides the chance to see the beautiful Yerkes Observatory building.
From the watching the stars and planets to digging in the ground – come on, make the transition with me! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get out in the yard for some landscaping and gardening. Now, ask me in about July if I’m still so excited after having to mow the lawn however many times by then, but for right now, I want to get in the dirt and plant stuff! The Garden Fair, hosted by Fontana Garden Club, on Saturday, May 27, from 9am-3pm, is just the place to get started. It’s at a new location this year – Pearce’s Farm Stand, at the corner of Highway 67 and County F, 2 miles north of Fontana and just west of Williams Bay. I’m going to have a fun time deciding between perennials, annuals and herbs, or some of all the above, but I’ll gladly take on the challenge! I’m really curious and excited to see the unique “Kool Kontainers” the Club members have designed. Wonder if I need to borrow a friend’s truck to haul home all the goodies I’m sure to get? There are even homemade pies to purchase, as well as a silent auction of fabulous items to bid on. I can smell the dirt under my nails and see the grass stains on my knees already and all I can do is smile in anticipation!
Maybe a little bit of water will be needed to wash off the dirt and grass stains, and what better way to do that than by getting wet with waterskiing! I’ll confess that I’ll stick to washing off the dirt in the shower instead, but then I’ll definitely go see the Minneiska Water Ski Show Team. They begin their season on Saturday, May 27, at 7pm, and you’ll find your seat to view the barefoot action, pyramid acts and ballet on water at Scenic Ridge Campground on Whitewater Lake. Let me know you’re coming and I’ll save you a spot!
Sunday is brunch day typically, and this Sunday, May 28, is no different. Rosewood’s staff of three Culinary Institute of America chefs are celebrating Memorial Day with a unique chef-attended, farm-to-table brunch. Seating times are 11:30am and 1pm, with reservations required. The brunch includes a chef-attended pasta station, omelets made-to-order, a carving station, displayed hot and cold buffets, and fresh baked pastries. I certainly can’t forget to include that there is an unlimited Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar! Add all this delectable food and drink options to the casually elegant space, tastefully designed in a modern refined rustic décor, and you’ve got an extraordinary environment to enjoy besides enjoying the food. Don’t forget to wander in to the gift shop to peruse and purchase some of the unique items found there.
If you’re tired out from all the activities you had to choose from and did on Saturday, then maybe brunch is a bit early for you on Sunday morning. As an option, Lake Lawn Resort’s Lakeside Lawn Party & Pig Roast is Sunday, May 28, from 12-7pm. There will be live music by Triple D, from 12-4pm, performing current Top 40 dance, classic rock, 80s hair band, country, smooth jazz and much more. It’ll be needed to help work off the food you’ll be eating: besides pulled whole rotisserie roasted pork sandwiches with blackstrap molasses BBQ sauce, there’s also KC-style BBQ chicken, grilled brats and burgers, slow roasted smoked brisket, baked beans, pasta salad, potato salad, fresh broccoli salad, seasonal fresh fruit salad, jalapeno cheddar chive corn bread muffins with honey butter, watermelon slices, make-your-own spring berry shortcake, M&M brownies, and all washed down with Lake Lawn’s famous pink lemonade. If you walk away hungry, there’s something wrong! Heck, if you walk away period after all this great food it’ll be a miracle!
Wind things down a little bit on Monday, May 29, with attending one of the Memorial Day observances, then let’s join up and golf in support of veterans while playing in the Fisher House Wisconsin Scramble at Evergreen Golf Club. It’s a 2 person, 18 hole scramble, with a 10am shotgun start. Sign up individually or as a team, with the entry fee including golf, cart, lunch, raffle ticket and prizes. There will be team prizes for 1st, 4th and 8th place, as well as an optional team skins game. Working on your golf swing or your putting or whatever needs working on (which for me is everything needs work…), all while golfing for a great cause – you can’t beat that!
No matter how you choose to spend this Memorial Day weekend, enjoy it all in Walworth County, where everything is Naturally Fun!