Life In Madison

Life in Madison: neighborhoods, opportunities and events in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area

Found 158 blog entries about Life In Madison.

It's been 50 years since Mount Horeb hosted its first Summer Frolic. And, even after all this time, some of the original volunteers are returning to make this year's event another big success.

"It is truly a special event that takes a village to put on, and each year it amazes me how dedicated our community is to coming together to handle all the details needed to make it happen," says Amy Mertz, a member of the Frolic Committee.

The annual Summer Frolic kicks off Thursday night at Grundahl Park. The event raises money for a variety of local charities, and it's designed to provide a fun, family atmosphere to connect with neighbors and friends. 

To start the weekend, check out the carnival rides, a beer tent, and refreshment stands, all which open

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Summer vacation is still a week away for many kids, but they can start having fun with family-friendly festivals this weekend. There will be local bike rides, jazz music, carnivals, and even classic cars and cows to see near Capitol Square in early June. Our team will be at the Parks & Trails Unite Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, so be sure to stop by next to the “Science is Fun” booth.

Festa Italia
When: June 1-3 (4:30-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday)
Where: McKee Farms Park, 2930 Chapel Valley Road, Fitchburg
Admission: $3 per day (kids under 12 are free)
Activities: Pasta dinner and spaghetti-eating contests, bocce tournament, Italian dancers and musicians, raffle, face painting, balloon sculptures, magic

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The weekend weather forecast looks promising, and no one could be happier than the people behind Brat Fest. Brat Fest kicks off Friday at the Alliant Energy Center, and will continue through Memorial Day. The event is a Madison tradition, dating back to 1983, when brats were cooked and served in the grocery store parking lot at Hilldale Mall. The event has grown to become a huge festival, with four music stages, carnival rides, thousands of brats, and close to 1.75 million dollars raised for charity.

This year, organizers hope to beat their all time record for brats served. That record was made in 2010, with 209,376 brats eaten, and near perfect weather conditions. After a few years with rainy weather, 2018 looks promising.  The brat stations are

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As we inch closer to summer, outdoor festivals are starting to pop up on our radar again. These annual family-friendly events offer great opportunities to try new things and explore surrounding Dane County communities. Two cities south of Madison are gearing up for a weekend full of music, food, and fun from May 18-20: Stoughton and Fitchburg.

Syttende Mai Norwegian Heritage Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Downtown Stoughton
Info: www.stoughtonfestivals.com

Even if you can't claim any Norwegian ancestry, Stoughton will have you embracing potato lefse, rosemaling painting, and Hardanger fiddle in no time. These are just a few traditions of this city's festival, which celebrates Norway's May 17th

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It's time to get outdoors and enjoy lingering in Downtown Madison. The first Madison Night Market of the year opens tonight at 6 p.m. Visit more than one hundred vendors along the streets, take advantage of the specials and sales at downtown businesses, and enjoy live music and entertainment along the way.

"It’s a great opportunity to celebrate all the creativity in Madison," says Tiffany Kenney, Executive Director of Madison's Central Business Improvement District. "The Madison Night Market is designed to promote the ideas of shopping downtown, shopping local and shopping to support artisans."

The night market is in its second year, after attracting more than 5000 attendees to its monthly events in 2017. Visitors enjoyed the artwork, live music,

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Dane County's beautiful parks and trails bring communities together by promoting healthy lifestyles through recreational and educational opportunities. To celebrate these resources and the many volunteers who support them, please join us at the Parks & Trails Unite Festival on Saturday, June 2.

This free community event will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at both Lake Farm County Park on Madison's southeast side and McDaniel Park in McFarland. You can park on-site, take a free shuttle from the Alliant Energy Center, or ride your bike.

Bicycle racks will be available on the festival grounds, and Culver's frozen custard tokens will be available to those who bike to the event on a first-come, first-served basis. You won't need a trail pass

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Last December, Madison was ranked #1 in a list of the Best Cities for Running. The ranking was done by the website Smart Asset.  

The ranking cites 88 annual races, 59 gyms, pedestrian safety and broad interest in fitness as reasons for the ranking.  We agree that the Madison area is a great place for runners (and overall fitness). Take a look at several races available in the next month:

Saturday, April 28: 37th Annual Crazylegs Classic: Named for former Wisconsin Athletics Director Elroy Hirsch, the Crazylegs Classic raises funds to support UW Athletics. The 2 mile walk or 8k run take place downtown. The race begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of State and Carroll Streets. There's still time to register!

Saturday, May 5: Word on the Street 5k for

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Prairie Moraine County Park in Verona is one of the most heavily-used parks in Dane County, especially since the establishment of an off-leash dog exercise area in 1995.

On the surface, this 160-acre park is a beautiful place to hike and take in expansive views of the area. But dig a little deeper into its past, and you're likely to treasure each step a bit more.

It started taking shape when the last glacier retreated and left a ridge of debris called the Johnstown Moraine, which is the prominent feature on the northern end of the park. Now, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail follows nearly a mile of this terminal moraine, which sits above St. Peter sandstone bedrock. The trail travels through a restored oak savanna and prairie toward an

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From indoor herb gardens to raised vegetable beds in the backyard, there are a variety of ways to grow tasty produce. To find out which option is right for you, consider heading to your local library. In addition to offering many books on the topic, some libraries are also holding gardening programs in April. Be sure to follow the links and register, especially for the planting sessions.

What: Plant a Salsa Garden: A Family Earth Day Event
When: 6 p.m. Monday, April 16
Where: Middleton Public Library, 7425 Hubbard Ave. Middleton
Info: Families can plant seeds for tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and onions using peat pellets and pots so you can plant the whole container in the ground when the weather warms up.

What: 10 Mistakes I Made In My Vegetable

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The weather outside may seem more like winter, but for many, the return of the Dane County Farmer's Market signals a welcome change. The market continues year-round, but will return to the Capitol Square on Saturday. The forecast may call for cooler than average temperatures, but the opening of the market gives us hope that spring is really coming.

Perusing the market is a popular tradition around town, and there's much to appreciate about a market that is now more than 40 years old. The Dane County Farmer's Market is the nation's largest producers-only farmer's market. Sellers must apply to participate, and must demonstrate that their products are grown or created in Wisconsin. A wait list to get into this market is available (although it can take a

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