aimee suzanne kruse-ross | dtgb | june 2018
It's difficult to believe that just a few short weeks ago, Green Bay had just finished storing away its winter boots and snow shovels only to be surprised by the record-breaking havoc of Winter Storm Evelyn. While Evelyn went into the record books, Green Bay was busy for days afterward with shoveling, plowing and shoveling again. After such an amazing storm, could it be that Green Bay is finally turning, well, green? With plenty of sunshine and the warmer temperatures of late, it seems that the city is eager to embrace summer in all her glory with warm sunsets, night music, the wafting of barbecue grills, the flitting of fireflies.
One need not travel far to enjoy scenic sunsets, great food and extensive entertainment. All those things and more can be found right here in Downtown Green Bay. So much so, in fact, residents thinking vacation may want to start thinking staycation.
Downtown Green Bay, Inc. is offering more than 180 summer events â€” many at little or no cost â€” that are certain to please people of all ages while continuing to showcase a downtown on the rise.
Shedding some light on this year's event offerings are two ladies that know them intimately: DTGB Marketing Manager Kathryn Kroll and Event Manager Jen Metcalf.
Let's take a look at some of 2018's summer highlights.
The boardwalk that frames the Fox River will host yet another full season of entertainment in the city's center.
Dine on the Deck, a lunchtime event, returns each Wednesday during June, July and August. Area restaurants will offer varying and seasonal menu items including those from two new additions this year: Koko Sushi and Nectar. Visitors can enjoy lunch and live music all while taking in the scenic views along the water.
Returning for its ninth summer season is Fridays on the Fox, an event that features an extensive lineup of free music on the waterfront every Friday evening during the summer months. Plan to enjoy concessions and local brews available by Hagemeister Park.
â€œThe CityDeck has been one of the greatest additions to Green Bay," says Metcalf. â€œNot just for the food and the music, but one of my very favorite things to do is to stroll along CityDeck and check out all the sculptures."
This event, which debuted in 2017, received such rave reviews that it has returned for a second season. This traveling night market will feature a variety of local vendors along with interactive art demos, live music, games and of course, food and drink from some of Green Bay's favorite eating establishments. Expect to be surprised during this year's lineup as DTGB has a few tricks up its sleeve.
â€œSome really unique things will be happening during this market that you won't always see on the streets of Green Bay," says Kroll. â€œIt will be more eclectic with things like sword swallowers, fire breathers, things much different than what Green Bay is used to."
Come enjoy the community camaraderie as the streets during IgNite will be transformed into a contemporary open-air market welcoming dusk in the Broadway District.
IgNite Market takes place on June 16, July 21, August 18 and September 15 at 5 p.m. Locations will change throughout the summer. Visit downtowngreenbay.com for more information.
Farmers MarketWashington Street
Each Saturday throughout the summer season will open at 7 a.m. to one of the largest farmers markets in Wisconsin. Now in its 101st year, the farmers market boasts more than 150 vendors of fresh, local produce as well as prepared and packaged foods. While shopping for farm-to-table ingredients, visitors will also find arts & crafts as well as an extensive live music list, free yoga and local beverages. Shop for specialty items like rare mushrooms, handcrafted cheeses, artisan breads, smoked fish, freshly cut flowers and more.
â€œAnd," says Metcalf, â€œyou can still get your free tote bags!"
Enjoy breakfast or the brunch scene at one of the bars or restaurants in the neighborhood. And nearby Captain's Walk Winery continues to offer Sangria Saturdays with sangria for purchase and free chips and salsa. The Nines will again be offering their Bloody Mary bar.
After the market closes at noon, the area has a variety of activities to engage visitors.
â€œWe want to make sure to connect the market with the many other events happening throughout the summer," says Metcalf. â€œWe want to keep people downtown, not just for the market but for the day."
The park where a young Curly Lambeau once tossed footballs under its now-massive maple and oak trees, this park has evolved into one of the best outdoor spaces for family fun. With a newly completed dog park and new events scheduled throughout the summer, Whitney Park is a truly memorable place to enjoy many of the activities planned for the warmer months.
â€œWe knew we wanted to bring people to enjoy the Olde Main District and Whitney Park is great for that," says Metcalf. â€œIt's got the new dog park, a nice playground for the kids and with all of that in place, we decided to add a new event called The Summer Solstice."
The Summer Solstice celebration will kick off the summer proper on June 21 with live music by The Presidents. Food trucks, local brews, wine and games, some of which will be provided by area sponsors, will also be available. This event is June 21 from 5-9 p.m. with live music beginning at 6 p.m.
In addition, Whitney Park will play host to the ever-popular Summer in the Park concert series that encourage families to enjoy lunch while listening to live music. Catch Summer in the Park on July 12, 19, and 26 and again on August 2 and 9. All events begin at 11:30 a.m.
For more than 25 years De Pere's ComedyCity has been entertaining area crowds. This year will mark the second year the improv troupe will bring the laughs to Whitney Park with Comedy in the Park. Join this outdoor show for an evening of guaranteed laughter while enjoying the food trucks and local brews. Comedy in the Park will be held on August 23 with two shows taking place at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for Whitney Park events. Food trucks may require cash payments.
Urban Street Jam
With the temporary closing of Hubbard Street in the heart of the Broadway District, this normally quiet venue will kick summer into high gear with its first-ever urban street jam.
â€œThere's going to be a lot music, but they really want to encourage dancing with this event," says Metcalf, â€œA real block party!"
The street jam welcomes all ages and promises to be a foot-stomping, hip-swinging event that will not only get you out enjoying the fresh air, but getting a little exercise to boot. Complete with live music, dance performances, food and drinks, this event welcomes both participants and spectators. The jam is scheduled for August 2 & 23 from 6 â€“ 9 p.m.
Fire Over the Fox
The area's largest and most brilliant fireworks display will end an entire day of patriotic celebrations that will include tributes, entertainment, food and much more. A daylong celebration that features six different performance stages for live-music entertainment, veteran salutes, children's rides and ski shows. The day concludes with a brilliant fireworks display set to music at dusk. Fire Over the Fox will begin at noon on July 4.
The streets of downtown Green Bay will be transformed during the 37th annual art fair, which attracts more than 80,000 visitors annually and features the work of more than 200 juried and invited artists from across the country. Visitors will enjoy art from studios, galleries and theaters along with music, performing arts, gourmet food, hands-on art projects, cultural exhibits, demonstrations, literary arts and youth artisan displays. Artstreet runs August 24-26. For more information visit mosaicartsinc.org.
Fox River & Fox River Trail
Enjoy the Fox and all its views while kayaking with rentals available from Expedition Addicts. Would you rather be on land while getting some fresh air and exercise? Rent a bicycle from Broken Spoke Bike Studio and enjoy nature along the Fox River trail, all 20 miles of it.
Be sure to pick up your Downtown Green Bay Summer in the City 2018 guide available at most downtown locations or visit downtowngreenbay.com for more information. Be sure to follow DTGB on Facebook and Twitter.
Aimee Suzanne Kruse-Ross is writer and glass artist residing in Green Bay, Wis. When not writing for Frankly you may find her blogging at BananaSeatTenSpeed.com, selling lampwork beads as Monte Verdi Lampwork or teaching a class at the Assemblage Studio.