The snow has melted – don’t seem too surprised by that, as we had snow in mid-April, which thankfully is rare – and it’s finally beginning to feel like summer is actually going to happen. Memorial Day weekend is always the unofficial kick-off to summer, with parades and services to honor those who died in active military service, and various other activities as well. This weekend is no exception in Walworth County, so let’s get started on filling in the to-do list!
Since the earliest ceremonies following the Civil War held in small towns, people have come together on Memorial Day to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. The laying of wreaths and placing of flags occurred then as it does now on this national day of remembrance. While the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., hosts an audience of over 250,000 people, it’s a little more intimate at the parades and services held in the various communities of Walworth County. Here’s a listing of communities and times for parades and services held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28:
The event that is a must on everyone’s to-do list for this weekend is to attend the StarLight Festival at Yerkes Observatory, Saturday, May 26, and Sunday, May 27, from 10 am – 11 pm each day! This is a free public event (with online registration suggested – go to https://starlightfestival.com/collections/tickets), that has Yerkes Observatory, Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, the Astronomy Outreach Network and the WI Dept. of Tourism joining forces to bring astronomy, science and technology to students, young adults, families and the ‘scientifically curious’ together, all while celebrating the 150th birthday of the founder of Yerkes Observatory, George Ellery Hale, and the “Father of Modern Astrophysics”. I think there will even be birthday cake! StarLight Festival includes hands-on experiences in astronomy, science and technology; guided tours of the historic building for a nominal fee (discounted online through Friday, May 25 at noon, otherwise available on-site; a free open house each day, 4:30 – 7:30 pm; programs by scientists, astronomers and experts; science exhibits, demonstrations and a few surprises; star party telescope viewing on the North Lawn (8:30 – 11 pm, weather permitting); amazing space art by Carlos Hernandez; and observing with the Yerkes Observatory telescopes (nominal fee, first come/first serve with a limited amount of tickets available, 8:30 pm – midnight each night, weather permitting). The telescope is the 40-inch “Great Refractor”, the world’s largest lens-type telescope! The entire event is sure to amaze, entertain and educate those of all ages, backgrounds, interests, etc., and absolutely should not be missed!
Put your feet back on the ground and take them to ChocolateFest in Burlington, May 25 – 28 — your taste buds will love it! Since 1987, Burlington has been hosting a chocolate carnival celebration in Chocolate City USA, with rides, food, entertainment and, of course, tons of chocolate. You will find wall to wall fun from games, rides, entertainers, chocolate carving and great food, including chocolate samples, sweets, fair food and great chefs. If for some reason chocolate isn’t totally your thing, one why not (!), and two, no worries – there are food vendors from all over the country serving up their specialties of classic barbecue, Greek, Italian, Mexican, and a variety of sweet treats and beverages as well.
When in Wisconsin / Walworth County, what’s more traditional than having a brat and corn? Okay, maybe having some cheese curds – with the brat and corn! The East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce will once again host their annual Corn & Brat Roast, and when I say once again, I mean it’s their 42nd annual! Held every Memorial Day weekend, so this year it’s May 25 – 28, it features sweet roasted corn, brats, hot dogs, burgers, soda and beer, as well as live entertainment to keep your toe tapping while you are eating. Also included in the weekend activities, is the Chamber’s annual East Troy Community-wide Rummage Sale. Find that treasured item you never knew you needed!
Memorial Day weekend is typically when it’s thought that if you weren’t able to get your hanging flower baskets, flowers and garden plants earlier in the month (thank you Mother Nature…), then it’s time now. There are two wonderful opportunities to get stocked up at – the Fontana Garden Club Fair at Pearce’s and Congdon Garden’s ‘Through the Garden Gate’ Sale. The Fontana Garden Club Fair, held Saturday, May 26, from 9 am – 3 pm, features perennials, shrubs and annuals from Pesche’s and Jurg’s, as well as herbs and lettuce, Kool Kontainers, homemade pies, garden treasures, a Book Boutique, garden tool sharpening (shovels and pruners) and a cash raffle. Proceeds are devoted to providing college scholarships to local students, along with supporting outdoor education curriculum and environmental programs.
Congdon Garden’s in Delavan will host their annual ‘Through the Garden Gate’ sale on Saturday, May 25, from 9 am – 3 pm, and features garden art and unique shrubs and trees for sale, plus food, books, and there will also be various garden vendors. Schedule your time appropriately to attend both events as you can never have too many plants and flowers around!
Once you’ve got the green going with the plants and flowers, how about heading out to the green for a round of golf or two? At the Grand Geneva Resort, play The Brute or the Highlands for only $89 and replay for $49, with both rounds needing to be played on the same day. Geneva National Golf has ‘Conquer Three Courses in Three Days’, so what a great opportunity to play the Palmer, Player and Trevino courses! It’s only $75 Friday through Monday or $45 after 2 pm. Don’t have to ask me twice to play that much golf! Evergreen Golf Club has their annual Memorial Day Scramble on Monday, May 28. It’s open to the public, is a 2-person team, with shotgun start at 10 am. Proceeds benefit the ‘Fisher House’ in support of military veterans in Milwaukee.
I could go on about things to do this weekend, but you need to be planning your to-do list of activities for it, and goodness knows that there is so much to do in Walworth County that one weekend isn’t enough anyway, being a 3-day weekend or not! That means you just have to come back for all the other marvelous offerings. To help with planning for later on or for whenever, go to: