Downtown Appleton to Host “Holiday Fun Fest” Event Saturday, Dec. 19

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Appleton Downtown, Incorporated (ADI), in partnership with Thrivent Financial, will host a free “Holiday Fun Fest” event this Saturday, Dec. 19, with special activities in Houdini Plaza and ice sculptures along College Avenue. The festivities begin with the opening of the Farm and Holiday Handcrafted Gift Market inside City Center Plaza at 9am.

The crown jewel of the day is the Thrivent Financial Avenue of Ice, featuring holiday-themed ice sculptures at 20 Downtown Appleton locations, along with the chance to view professional ice sculpting demonstrations from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Houdini Plaza.

Additional event highlights include:

  • The chance to see live reindeer, visits with Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, outdoor holiday music, kids activities and refreshments, all offered from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in Houdini Plaza
  • Farm and Holiday Handcrafted Gift Market inside City Center Plaza from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus at the Holiday Handcrafted Gift Market from 10:30 a.m. while supplies last.
  • One Stop Elf Shop Kids Market – a holiday store featuring reasonably priced gifts for kids to purchase for parents, siblings and friends with the help of an elf – offered from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., inside City Center Plaza, next to The Building for Kids Children’s Museum

Downtown merchants and restaurant and pub owners will also welcome event attendees and shoppers looking for last-minute, unique gift ideas in time for holiday gift-giving or a bite to eat throughout the day.

“We are excited to offer this festive day of activities along College Avenue again this year,” noted Anne Wiegman, ADI marketing director. “This event truly showcases the uniqueness of Downtown Appleton, which is made up of 95 percent locally owned businesses that are happy to welcome shoppers and visitors year round.”

For a listing of Downtown locations featuring holiday-themed ice sculptures, visit the ADI website at http://www.appletondowntown,org.

Presenting sponsors are: Thrivent Financial and Tundraland. Additional sponsors include: the City of Appleton, US Bank, Action Painting, WE Energies, Looy’s Dogs, Skyline Technologies and EPS.

Hearthstone Victorian Christmas

image009Treat your senses during the 2015 Victorian Christmas observance at Hearthstone Historic House Museum, 625 W. Prospect Ave., Appleton.  This year’s tours will explore the sights, tastes, sounds, textures and aromas of a traditional family Christmas during the 1880s.  The sensory tours begin on Friday, Nov. 27, and run through Sunday, Jan. 10.  Special Friday evening tours will enhance the sensory experience, with costumed docents, live music and nighttime lighting, from 6 – 8 p.m., on Nov. 27, and Dec. 4, 11 and 18.  Victorian Christmas tours are $9 for adults, $6 for children (5-17).

image010For more information, email, check, or call 920-730-8204 during hours of operation.

Appleton Boychoir presents A Festival of Nine Lessons

The Appleton Boychoir will present A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Sat., Dec. 5, at 2 pm and 7 pm  at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Boychoir 3The beauty of the season and the soaring treble voices of the Appleton Boychoir come together with A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. A spectacular community tradition for generations, the concert brings the best loved songs of Christmas along with the splendor of the ceremony. Modeled after the famous Kings College festival, which was first presented in Cambridge, England in 1918, biblical lessons telling the Christmas story are read beginning with a young boy chorister and continuing to representatives of the community and even the Mayor of the City of Appleton. The majesty of music…the setting of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel…and the inspiring voices of the Appleton Boychoir and MasterSingers make this a Christmas event not to be missed!

Premium seats for $20, preferred seating for $15, and family seats for $10 will reserve a spot in the Chapel. Tickets for all Appleton Boychoir performances can be ordered: by MAILING in the Appleton Boychoir 2015-2016 season brochure’s ticket order form with payment to the Appleton Boychoir, Fox Cities Building for the Arts, 111 West College Avenue, 4th Floor, Appleton, WI, 54911; by CALLING the Appleton Boychoir office at 920-955-ABCI (2224) using Visa or MasterCard as payment; ONLINE at; or IN PERSON forty-five minutes prior to each performance.

The Appleton Boychoir’s 2015-2016 season is sponsored by Community First Credit Union, and is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Founded in 1979, the Appleton Boychoir has given musical training to thousands of boys. The Boychoir has had considerable touring and hosting experience in this country and abroad. Since its founding, the Boychoir has made appearances with many exceptional choirs and orchestras. The mission of the Appleton Boychoir is “enriching lives through singing.” To learn more about the Appleton Boychoir and other upcoming performances, please visit

Shop Appleton First on Small Business Saturday!

Small Business Saturday, Saturday, Nov. 28
Shop Small & Win!
Great shopping awaits you along with a chance to win great prizes!
Take your Shop Appleton First Passport with you on Saturday to to 90 participating Appleton businesses and get your passport stamped at 5 different locations.  When you have 5 stamps hand your passport in and you could be a lucky winner.
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Over $1000 in prizes will be awarded plus the Grand Prize of two tickets from Appleton Airport nonstop to Tampa/St Pete, Florida on Allegiant!
Download your passport & more info here!
CLICK HERE for a listing of special offers

Grand Opening of The Draw – November 28th Event Details

Grand Opening of The Draw

November 28 – Noon – 8 p.m.

800 S. Lawe Street

Parking available in the Newberry Trail parking Lot

The Draw, located at 800 S. Lawe Street overlooking the Fox River at Appleton Eagle Flats will host a grand opening Nov. 28 from noon to 8 p.m.  “Just look for the dark gray building with a giant eagle painted on the front of it,” said John Adams, curator and project visionary. 


Event Details

Feather & Bone Wish List show

Over 25 pieces of original art from artists located around the block, across the country and even internationally

Draw 360

Live art event with 15 artists creating inside looking out

Tenant Meet and Greet

A chance to meet the draw tenants and see inside their workspaces

Live Music

A few friends spinning records keeping the atmosphere alive who knows maybe someone will even grab a guitar and start to play…


Refreshments from Stone Cellar  

17215_169351136743920_3056049265730116303_nArt Giveaway/Prize Drawings

Prize drawings include yoga passes, Mile of Music badges, an original piece from the show and much more!

Annual Appleton Christmas Tree Lighting in City Park before the Parade

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The Appleton Fox Cities Kiwanis Club is hosting The Annual Appleton Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at City Park in Appleton on Tuesday November 24, from 4:30-6:00 pm.  The event will precede The 45th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade.  The parade is scheduled for Tuesday, November 24th with a new start time this year of 7:00pm.ADI-Holiday-PlacePin-2015-WEB-162x200.jpg

Here is the schedule of events:

  • 4:30 p.m.-Set up
  • 5:00 p.m.-Christmas cookie decorating begins.  Appleton North Key club will be selling hot chocolate, cider, and coffee for 50 cents a cup
  • 5:15 p.m.-Music begins
  • 5:55 p.m.-Program and countdown to tree lighting
  • 6:00 p.m.-Tree lighting
  • 7:00 p.m.- Downtown Christmas Parade

New Riverfront Creative Arts Venue “The Draw” to Open November 28

The Draw, located at 800 S. Lawe Street overlooking the Fox River at Appleton Eagle Flats will host a grand opening Nov. 28 from noon to 8 p.m. 


“Just look for the dark gray building with a giant eagle painted on the front of it,” said John Adams, curator and project visionary. 

Adams helped bring the 5,200 square-foot building back to life with workspaces and offices for digital and fine artists, a modern art gallery and a place for creative professionals to collaborate.  He approached Stadtmueller & Associates with his idea last year, and together, they helped make it happen. 

17215_169351136743920_3056049265730116303_nToday, there are 16 suites with a variety of tenants that range from artists and graphic designers to musicians and wellness consultants.  “The flexibility to adapt to the needs of the community and the artists is what makes The Draw unique,” said Adams.   From pop-up restaurants, to fashion shows, storytelling nights and music events, the venue will host a variety of gatherings. 

For two years, Stadtmueller & Associates researched potential redevelopment opportunities for the former office building.  The group sees their investment as doing more than just renovating a building.  “By bringing more arts and culture to Downtown Appleton’s riverfront, we hope to rejuvenate the neighborhood and draw young professionals to the area,” said Renee Torzala, Stadtmueller & Associates.

Torzala and Adams both serve on Downtown Appleton’s Creative Placemaking committee that works to enhance the cultural environment through access to the arts.  Downtown Appleton Executive Director Jennifer Stephany has been doing research on the economic impact of bringing art to downtown districts.  “Creative placemaking is a growing strategy for communities to stimulate economic development and improve quality of life,” said Stephany.  “We are excited to welcome The Draw to our downtown riverfront on Small Business Saturday, a day that we encourage shopping local,” she added.

Statistics show that the arts and culture sector in Wisconsin generates $535 million in economic activity, $65 million in local and state revenue, and $479 million in resident income, according to the Wisconsin Arts Board. (Economic Impact Study, 2010).

The grand opening of The Draw will launch John Adam’s Feather & Bone gallery show – Wish List, featuring 25 pieces of original art from around the world.  Visitors will also be able to meet some of the tenants and tour the building.  “I am really looking forward to bringing diverse people together to celebrate, create, inspire and be inspired,” said Adams.

Twenty-One Marching Bands and “A Night of Family Traditions” Highlight the 45th Annual Appleton Downtown Christmas Parade

A record number twenty-one marching bands and this year’s theme “A Night of Family Traditions” will highlight The 45th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade.  New this year, the parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24th.

angelsdowntownTwenty-one marching bands from Northeastern Wisconsin/Upper Michigan high schools and area communities will perform in the parade. 

“The twenty-one marching bands ties a record for this parade,” according to Greg Otis, Parade Chairman. “We are excited to have bands coming from as far away as Menominee, Michigan all the way down to Barneveld, Wisconsin.”

The parade will feature about 75 units including floats, decorated vehicles, walking units and animal entries.

This year’s parade will be televised live by WFRV-TV from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Local Channel 5

will also videotape the parade for rebroadcast at a later date.

The parade begins with a police escort at State Street and College Avenue.  It travels east down College Avenue and ends at Drew Street. 

The Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade is the largest nighttime parade in the Midwest.  Last year’s parade drew approximately 80,000 spectators to Downtown Appleton.  Additionally, a television audience of over 100,000, view the parade live and during a rebroadcast on Local Channel 5, WFRV-TV.

For more parade information visit

Walter Rugland Honorary Parade Marshal 45th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade

The 45th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade will be Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. This year’s theme is “A Night of Family Traditions.”

The Parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the corner of State St. and College Ave. It will head east on College Ave. to Drew St.

Honorary Parade Marshal is Walter S. Rugland

Grand Marshal Walter S. RuglandWalter S. Rugland is retired Executive Vice President, Thrivent Financial. After a lengthy career in the East with an international consulting firm, with his family he moved to Appleton from Hartford, Connecticut in 1998.

Walt has been recognized in Appleton with Rotary‘s Heeter Award, the annual Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award (named after his late father), and the Appleton West Hall of Fame. He served 12 years as secretary/treasurer of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. He serves as a Director of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, the Fox Cities Building for the Arts, the Appleton Boychoir, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. He is past Chairman of The Board of the ThedaCare Health System, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, and the Community Blood Center. Since 2010 he has had a major commitment to realization of a full functioning convention facility in the Fox Cities, leading the Fox Cities Exhibition Center organization.

Walt graduated from Appleton High School, and received a bachelor’s degree from Luther College and an Actuarial Science MBA from the University of Michigan. He has served his profession as president of the Society of Actuaries and the International Actuarial Association.

Tina Marie’s Boutique Holiday Wreaths benefit Alzheimer’s – Festival of Trees


Tina Marie’s Unique Boutique is participating in this year’s Festival of Trees.  Learn more about Festival of Trees here.

Here are some photos of their wreaths on display in our Tina Marie’s Unique Boutique at:  206 East College Avenue.


Mine is titled:  “Have yourself a Nauti Little Christmas”


and Sonnet’s is titled:  “Let music fill the air; May the magic of the airplants; Bring joy

everywhere”.  Tina Marie’s charity is:  The Alzheimer’s Association.


Tina and Sonnet
Tina Marie’s Unique Boutique
206 E. College Avenue