MADISON, Wis. (Jan. 9, 2014) – Wisconsin’s tourism industry never
fails to deliver when it comes to offering top notch, exciting new additions
every year. 2014 is no exception, and with the New Year comes a plethora of new
breweries and distilleries, hotels, adventure parks, museums and one festival
anniversary so big, 100,000 people will come from all over just for a taste.
The following list features some of the most exciting things on deck for
100th anniversary of Green County Cheese
More than 100,000 travelers descend on Monroe to polka and yodel, eat cheese by the truckload, and celebrate the sheer glory of dairy – and no, it’s not just another day in Wisconsin. We’re talking about the 100th anniversary of Green County Cheese Days, a festival held only on even numbered years and one not to miss. To mark this special anniversary, a parade of cheese makers from each of the dozen cheese factories in Green County will kick off the celebration carrying their signature cheese through town, donning their traditional cheese making uniforms. One hundred accordion players will play the official Cheese Days song (of course there is a song!) and in Sunday’s parade, there will be a “Salute to the Dairy Farmer.” We couldn’t brie more excited for this event, curd you?
CHEERS TO NEW BEERS AND SPIRITS
Wisconsin Brewing Company, Verona
Anyone who is a true Wisconsin beer aficionado will be excited to hear who’s behind the tasty beers at the new Wisconsin Brewery Company. The brewmaster is none other than Kirby Nelson, former creative force and beer inventor (yes, that is a job, and a sweet one we might add) at Capital Brewery in Madison. Wisconsin Brewing Company’s Verona facility, which opened in November 2013, offers free tours as well as tastings in the taproom. And simple is better when it comes to beer names. Have a pint of beer 001, 002, 003, or 004 – designed to let the taste and quality shine through and reflect on the total brewery brand, rather than one specific beer.
Great Northern Distilling, PloverYou’ve heard of farm to fork, but how about farm to glass? Great Northern Distilling’s mission is to make great liquor using the highest quality ingredients from local farmers. We mean getting fresh from the farm potatoes for vodka, grain for whiskey or fruit for the brandy. In fact, Great Northern Distilling is committed to sustainable sourcing from within 150 miles of its distillery. Take a tour of the new 6,000 square-foot space located in the Village Park in Plover and watch the distillation and bottling on site, then grab a seat at the mixology bar for a cocktail. The Polish heritage of the Stevens Point area has even influenced Great Northern Distilling to make a Jezynowka (polish blackberry brandy). Nazdrowie! (Cheers!). The grand opening will be in February.
Glen Distillery, Baraboo
The Driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin is known for its beautiful peaks and valleys. When Driftless Glen Distillery opens in May, the facility will become one with the scenery of the area. No, Glen is not the name of the founder (it’s actually Mike) glen comes from the “glens” or valleys in the Driftless region. The distillery is literally a stone’s throw from the Baraboo River and offers scenic views, not to mention world-class spirits. While its main attraction will be the whiskey, it will take a few years to process. When Driftless Glen opens in May, it will sell vodka and gin. Sit back, enjoy a tour and a cocktail, or stick around for dinner at the restaurant.
NEW HOTELS, EXPANSIONS AND COOL RENOVATIONS
Oneida Casino Expansion, Green Bay
We can’t keep a poker face about this exciting news. In spring 2014, renovations will be completed at the Oneida Casino in Green Bay. The $28 million expansion will include updates to both the main casino near the airport and the Mason Street location. Breath deeply as Oneida Casino will offer more games in non-smoking areas than any other casino in the state. Additionally, Oneida Casino's expansion plan includes a new restaurant, Vince Lombardi's Legendary Sports Bar & Grill. The Oneida Casino's Mason Street location will open Wisconsin's first-ever Countryville Bar & Grill, presented by the American Music Awards. With memorabilia from country stars of the past and present, plus live music every weekend it’s, as Toby Keith would say, all brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue.
Potawatomi Bingo Casino Hotel, Milwaukee
Speaking of exciting casino news, scratch any trip plans to Las Vegas and book a weekend away at the new Potawatomi Bingo Casino hotel in Milwaukee. Opening in the fall, the new 18-story, 381-room hotel is highlighted by floor-to-ceiling glass windows making up the façade of the building. The $150 million project will make a beautiful addition to the Milwaukee skyline and connects to the casino in true Vegas fashion. The hotel features rooms, suites, and even a presidential suite located on the top floor with stunning views. Regardless of how you end at the tables, you’ll end the night in swanky style with a feather pillow to rest your head. That’s winning.
THE ARTS AND CULTURE SCENE IS TO BE SEEN
Explorium Museum, Port Washington
Anchors away in Port Washington! Come September 2014, set sail without ever leaving Franklin Street. The Port Washington Historical Society will open a $2.5 million museum called Port Explorium. The highlight of the museum will be the lower level, transformed into a 1880s Great Lakes three-masted schooner ship, reminiscent of the ships that traveled in and out of the maritime town in the early 20th century. Kids will love taking turns steering the captain’s wheel, or keeping an eye out for lighthouses and other ships in the crow’s nest. The museum will also include rotating space for local historic exhibits including photographs from Vern Biever, 1940s Green Bay Packer photographer from Port Washington.
New Kandasky Exhibit at Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
Painter, printmaker, watercolorist, theoretician and Bauhaus instructor Wassily Kandinsky was a major figure in the modern art movement of the early 20th century. This summer his work comes to life during Kandinsky: A Retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Museum (June 5 - Sept. 1, 2014). But visitors won’t just view this exhibit; they’ll become a part of it. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a lounge Kandinsky created for a 1922 Juryfreie exhibition. Made of large-scale mural panels, the lounge was a “Gesamkunstwerk,” or “total environment” to immerse the viewer into the complete aesthetic experience. Follow the Russian artist through several decades including Art Nouveau, Fauvism, Abstraction and Surrealism – don’t know what those are? That’s okay, we’re not 100 percent sure either, but we are 100 percent sure that the more than 100 works in this collection are impressive.
FOR THE ADVENTURESOME
NEW Zoo and Adventure Park, Green BayWhat do zip lining, rock climbing and roaring lions have in common? In May 2014, these activities can all be enjoyed during a day of fun at the brand new adventure park next to the NEW Zoo in Green Bay. Now called the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park, prepare for a thrilling 12 element elevated obstacle course, a three sided rock climbing wall and a pair of dual racing zip lines. Ever think you could see over a giraffe’s head? Grab your friend and race the 1,000 foot-long zip line 50 feet above the air at 40 mph. And talk about an impressive way to make an entrance – the zip ends right by the front gates of the zoo.
Wilderness Resort Attractions,
Bring new meaning to the term “watering hole” at the Wilderness Resort’s newest attraction – an 88-person swim up bar for adults 21 and over. The bar, which will be complete by summer 2014 and features a pergola and conversation areas, is both indoor and outdoor and makes you feel like you’re at a resort in the Caribbean – without ever needing a passport. What else is in store for 2014 at Wilderness? An indoor go-kart track with electric cars, a two-story laser tag arena and laser maze and three new food and drink outlets, all complete by the summer. There is no such thing as too much fun.
Ghost Boat: Journey into Haunted Canyon, Wisconsin DellsIf you’re the thrill seeking, scary movie watching, ghost believing type, a new boat tour in the Dells is perfect for you. Visitors will be treated to new scares and chills with Dells Boat Tours’ all new nighttime ghostly adventure Ghost Boat: Journey into Haunted Canyon. The tour kicks off Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day weekend. As the boat sets sail on the deep, dark waters of the Wisconsin River, passengers are treated to tales of local legends and lore that have been shared through the generations. Passengers disembark at Cold Water Canyon for an eerie walk along the narrow canyon boardwalk with rocky cliffs on both sides. The new tour is not recommended for children 10 and under, and anyone who spooks easily... BOO! (gotcha!).
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