All Blog Entries by Laura Kocum

Laura Kocum is a marketing and public relations consultant based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Found 116 blog entries published by Laura Kocum.

There is no shortage of egg hunts this weekend in the Madison area. Neighborhoods and churches throughout town are offering their own events, and encouraging families to get out and celebrate. Grab your baskets, and get ready to join in on the fun. Two of the larger events are planned in Fitchburg and Monona:

Fitchburg 

The Cottontail Classic Race, paired with the Lions Easter Egg Hunt, provides exercise, outdoor activities, and a free egg hunt at McGaw Park in Fitchburg. Race participants can compete in 5k or 10k versions of the race, with 3 sugar stops along the way, to make sure everyone enjoys some Easter treats. The leading runners in each age group will receive a chocolate award. Following the race, there will be a pancake breakfast served,

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Spring means blossoms, green grass, buds on the trees, and the perfect time to tap a maple tree. In Wisconsin, maple syrup production begins in March. Trees are tapped while temperatures are still below freezing at night, but are warmer during the day. The United States is the only country in the world producing commercial maple syrup. Wisconsin plays a key part in this industry, producing roughly 250,000 gallons of maple syrup each year, according to the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association.

This weekend, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona will celebrate Wisconsin's maple syrup industry. The 13th annual Maple Syrup Festival is planned for Sunday afternoon from 1-4 p.m. Visitors will enjoy the wide range of indoor and outdoor activities

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This weekend, don your best green attire and head downtown to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Several restaurants and bars have special events planned for the weekend, but the fun isn't just the food and drink. Be sure to check out these events, beginning Saturday morning:

Shamrock Shuffle

This 5K run/walk or 10K race raises money for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and the Dyslexia Center of Madison. Participants meet at the Pyle Center, and race starts at 10 a.m. near the corner of State and Lake Streets.  Green attire, fun costumes and St. Patrick's Day themed props are encouraged. Strollers are welcome, but organizers ask that you leave your dogs at home (an insurance issue). There is still time to register, but registration is capped at

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In a hot real estate market, making a strong offer to purchase is the key to success. If you include a contingency to sell, it can be enough to prevent you from obtaining an accepted offer. Because there are a limited number of properties available this spring, we encourage our buyers to do everything they can to avoid having a sale contingency on their offer.

Karen Wedvick, of Johnson Bank, offers a few suggestions to help buyers have a good offer ready, without selling first.

1. Get a Home Equity Line of Credit BEFORE you List your Home.  A line of credit allows you to use your home equity to work for you, including the option to use it for a down payment. This option can be appealing, because it typically allows you to access 90% of your current

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Enter Monona Terrace today or tomorrow, and the smell of all things dairy will be wafting through the air. More than 3000 unique cheese, butters and yogurts will be on exhibit, hoping to gain recognition and earn rewards at the World Championship Cheese Contest.  This 32nd biannual event is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, a trade association that includes more than 500 companies dedicated to making the best dairy products possible. And, while Wisconsin is famous for cheese, entrants in this competition include cheese makers from around the world.

The contest is open for public visits until 4 p.m. today and Wednesday. Stop in to enjoy the smells, taste the samples, and see what leading cheese makers are doing with their products. 

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This weekend (March 3-4), the Madison Kids Expo is offering a perfect opportunity to enjoy family fun and burn off some steam. The event is organized by Brava Magazine and takes place at the Alliant Energy Center on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Bring the little ones, and expect lots of hands-on exhibits, open play areas, demonstrations by dancers and karate teams, face painting and more.

Kids Expo in MadisonThe Kids Expo has several purposes:

  •  It's Affordable Fun: The admission fee gives you access to the full expo, and most events are at no additional cost. This is your chance to try out a wide range of activities, and see what your child enjoys the most. Options like laser tag, mazes, bounce houses, craft projects, and animal
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Wisconsin is fortunate to have an abundance of lakes and rivers, and the Madison area is no exception. Any given day, you will find someone fishing on Lake Mendota, Monona or Waubesa. Whether it be huddled over a hole in the ice, or fly fishing in one of the area's many rivers, catching fish is a popular past-time.

This weekend, the Wisconsin Fishing Expo intends to celebrate the sport and offer some fun events for all ages. The expo will be at Alliant Energy Center beginning at  4 p.m. on Friday. Experts on everything from muskies, salmon, trout and panfish to kayaking, sonar and other techniques will be on hand to share their knowledge. A two-story exhibit hall (125,000 square feet) will offer a wide range of products designed to improve your

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Buying a home is a several step process, and it begins before you even look at potential properties. Laurie Ellis-Mcleod, president of AERIE Preferred Financial Group, offers 6 tips to prepare you to buy this spring:

1. Don't dip into your retirement funds.  "You can't finance retirement. You need to rethink your plan to buy if you have to dip into your IRA or 401K to make it happen," says Laurie.

2. Watch your spending.  You don't want to hurt your credit during this crucial time. Avoid the temptation to close an account, open a new one, or make a large purchase. Your lender will be looking at all of these things, and any one of them could negatively impact your credit score.

3. Make sure you understand the full cost of ownership. Talk with your

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The snow today comes with perfect timing. The City of Madison Parks Department is hosting Snow Glow 2018 at Elver Park, from 1:30-8 p.m. Bundle up, bring all ages, and prepare for a fun afternoon of exploring all kinds of outdoor fun. The events are free, and some require registration. Check out their official site to learn more. 

Beginning at 1:30, there will be a snow shoe workshop for eager explorers.  REI and Aldo Leopold Nature Center will be on hand to discuss the gear required, and a limited quantity of snow shoes will be available for visitors at no cost. 

At 3:00, a learn to cross country ski workshop will begin. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own gear for this event, but some rentals are available in the warming shelter. Sit-skis

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Ice-skating, hockey, sleigh rides and snow shoeing can all be part of your weekend plans. The Frozen Assets Festival on Lake Mendota offers the perfect opportunity to try something new, and gain a new respect for the lakes that make Madison beautiful year round. Hosted at the Edgewater, the festival includes both outdoor and indoor activities. The Clean Lakes Alliance sponsors the festival, which includes all kinds of free and low cost opportunities to enjoy the frozen lake, and learn new skills. While admission to the festival is free, the weekend is also a fundraiser. The Clean Lakes Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the water quality of the lakes, streams and wetlands of the Yahara River watershed. Funds raised through

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