One Stop Elf Shop Opens for Kids Holiday Shopping

pastedImage.pngAppleton Downtown Inc. and The Building For Kids are reopening the doors of the One Stop Elf Shop for it’s second year. The shop is running on Saturdays through December 19th from 9am- 1pm. Located right next to The Building For Kids, the shop is accessible from College Avenue and the City Center.

The One Stop Elf Shop is a great place for your children to come and purchase gifts for their loved ones. With its fun and friendly atmosphere, it is the perfect holiday shopping destination for families. With a great selection of items from various stores located in Downtown Appleton, every kid is sure to find something unique. All items will be available for purchase for under $10.

In addition, there will be special activities every week such as coloring books, an appearance from Mrs. Claus, and baked goods. The store exemplifies the essence of holiday cheer with its friendly elves who are ready to help your kids choose what they want to purchase, as well as, help them wrap it. The elves will be there with your child every step of the way. They will be wearing elf shirts and hats, so be on the look out for your next helper and come join us this Saturday.

#Giving Tuesday Downtown Appleton

Holiday-PlacePin-2015alternate-blue snowflDowntown Appleton is home to 39 non-profits.  Each of these organizations rely on donations from individuals like you!  Thank you!

By participating in #GivingTuesday you help to ensure their success.

#GivingTuesday is one globally recognized day of the year designated to call for action and celebrate the generosity of our communities!

There are many ways to support  #GivingTuesday this year; you can make a donation, volunteer your valuable time, or simply help us get the word out!

Creative Downtown Appleton was established last year and is working at creative placemaking in Downtown.  We are currently seeking additional Placemakers and accepting donations to restore additional cross-sections for the Avenue of the Angels.

Articulture is an outreach of Creative Downtown and still has art shares available.  These would make a great gift for the art lovers on your list or for yourself!

Click here to visit our website to learn more, make a donation or buy a share!

Below is a list of the other downtown non-profits who would welcome hearing from you today or any day:

Appleton Boychoir

Appleton School District

Appleton Yacht Club

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley

Building For Kids Children’s Museum

Christian Cooperative PreSchool

Christ’s Church of the Valley

Community Outreach Center/Valley Packaging


First English Lutheran

First United Methodist Church

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

Fox Cities Regional Partnership

Fox Valley Chorus of Sweet Adelines Intl

Fox Valley Literacy Council

Fox Valley Symphony

Fox Valley Vietnam Vets. Assoc

Fox Valleyaires Barbershop-Appleton

Friends of Appleton Library

Friends of Hearthstone, Inc.

History Museum at the Castle

Lawrence Academy of Music

Littlest Tumor Foundation

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Mission Church


Paper Discovery Center

Riverview Gardens

The Salvation Army

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Thompson Community Center

Trout Museum of Art

WisconSibs, Inc

Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin Public Televeision

Wriston Art Gallery – Lawrence University

YMCA of the Fox Valley

Fox Cities Exhibition Center Approved

imgresIt took nearly 30 years, but the Fox Cities Exhibition Center will soon be a reality.

Over the past month, 10 Fox Cities communities have given an emphatic “YES” to building an exhibition center in downtown Appleton. The project, to be built behind the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, will be paid for through a room tax rate increase charged to visitors staying at area lodging properties.

Mayor Tim Hanna says without the cooperation of the other communities, the project would never have gotten off the ground.

“This was truly a collaborative effort by each of the 10 communities, that will produce regional economic benefits for years to come,” he said.

Wednesday morning Appleton signed closing documents for the $2 million purchase of a parking lot from Outagamie County for the site of the exhibition center. The city is also spending almost two million dollars in needed infrastructure improvements around the site, including a portion of a sky walk that will connect the exhibition center and the hotel.

The owners of the hotel will operate the exhibition center. It is expected to generate an average of $6.5 million in new visitor spending to the Fox Cities each year.

“We are excited about the opportunities the exhibition center will give our staff to sell the area to even more meeting and convention planners,” said Pam Seidl, Executive Director of the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is a project that the Bureau’s customers have asked about for years and we are pleased that our local municipalities have come together in a regional approach to make it a reality.”

Seidl says, the exhibition center, coupled with the additional room tax being allocated to the Bureau’s Tourism Development Fund for sports facilities, makes it a very exciting time for tourism in the Fox Cities.

The next step in the project is to contract with an architect and construction manager. Members from each participating municipality will also select a representative for the room tax commission which will oversee collection and distribution of the room tax funds collected as part of the intergovernmental agreements for the project. Construction could begin by next summer.

Fox Cities Joins “BUNDLE UP” Effort This Winter Season

The Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau is once again teaming up with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for their annual ‘Big Bundle Up’ collection drive running statewide, Nov. 19, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016.

29672_Big Bundle Up 2 No Tag DK REDWe invite both visitors and Fox Cities’ residents to drop off new or homemade hats, mittens and scarves for children and adults.

With the spirit of the holiday season upon us, donating winter items is the perfect way to give back to Fox Cities’ families in need. This year, there will once again be multiple collection sites to make it more convenient for you to donate items. All items will be donated locally to Harbor House and Homeless Connections.

Collection sites:

Appleton Downtown Inc, 116 N. Appleton St, Appleton

Future Neenah, 135 W Wisconsin Ave, Neenah

What: Collecting new or homemade hats, mittens and scarves for children and adults

When: Nov. 19, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016; Hours vary with each collection location

Placemaking Draws Connection Between Arts and Community Development

How did you become involved in the Downtown Placemaking program?

I have always been drawn to artists and creative types, and while traveling have observed how in many cities the initial impetus for neighborhood revitalization and vibrant districts begins with artists (and Gay people) moving into an area.  

Parklet Carolers in Downtown Appleton


A few years back I also co-authored a study of artists and craftspersons in northwest Wisconsin that helped me draw the connection between arts, placemaking and community development in a big way. We found that even in more rural areas these people were contributing over 20M per year to the regional economy. They were also contributing to local and regional tourism development, participating in festivals and art shows, and helping create destinations where both residents and visitors to an area would congregate and mingle.

Enjoying the new parklet on College Avenue

Having moved to Appleton 5 years ago I was eager to get involved with people and groups that are rolling up their sleeves and doing projects that create a stronger sense of community through the arts.  I’m honored to have had the opportunity to become involved in ADI’s creative placemaking initiative over the past several months, and look forward to helping organize and activate the creative spaces this group is helping bring to life!

by Andrew Dane
Appleton Downtown Placemaker

The bigger story about the Avenue of Angels…

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Appleton Downtown Inc., (ADI), was approached by the City of Appleton last spring about the possibility of the Downtown Angels not going back up this year. The City had been noting the deterioration that was occurring when the decorations were taken down each year and discussed it with ADI, but the funding was not in the budget. Each one of the 38 pole Angels and 8 intersection Angels needed to be renovated due to the deterioration of the wiring, which made them unsafe and unreliable, as well as the need to upgrade them to use LED bulbs. The upgrade to LED bulbs was necessary because the electricity was being maxed out at each intersection and causing a strain on the system.  The good news is: the Angels went up this year without a hitch thanks to the legacy gift of Frances Burstein.

In 2003, Frances approached ADI in response to the need for renovating the Downtown Christmas decorations.  Frances supported 95% of the renovation of all the Angels and kept the Appleton tradition alive.

When Frances passed in May of 2012, her daughter Dr. Penny Krampien approached ADI with a reassurance that the Avenue of Angels would always be looked after by her Mother’s legacy.  Jennifer Stephany, Executive Director for Creative Downtown Appleton Inc. and ADI, expressed her gratitude “Just like the Angels, Penny and Frances have been a part of the Downtown family for years and we are so grateful and blessed by their generous, on-going support. Thanks to their wiliness to upgrade all of the Angels with LED lamps, the Angels are part of our Holiday celebration again this year and will be for years to come. “


ADI continues to also work on adding additional intersections with the cross angel decorations. Each cross section is about $6500 to fully renovate and upgrade the cables. We welcome additional support for adding intersections as part of Giving Tuesday on December 1st – learn more at or give direct to Creative Downtown Appleton Inc. at

ADI is a non-profit advocacy source for the businesses and merchants of Downtown Appleton, presenting the weekly Downtown Appleton Indoor Winter Farm Market and a host of other events. For more information about ADI and/or a complete listing of upcoming Downtown happenings, visit, on Facebook at the Appleton Downtown or on Twitter @downtowncool.

Downtown Appleton One Great Place for the Holidays

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Downtown Appleton merchants, in partnership with Appleton Downtown, Incorporated (ADI), will usher in the gift-giving season with special “Downtown for the Holidays” activities, beginning Nov. 13 and continuing through Dec. 31.

Highlights include the following themed events:

Downtown Window Walk, Fri., Nov. 13, 6 to 9 p.m. – Kick off the season  by enjoying merchant window displays and refreshments; the music of holiday carolers and special offers and sales from Downtown retailers, restaurants and bars.  View and bid on the Festival of Trees decorated trees, wreaths and swags in participating businesses and at the Trout Museum of Art.

One Stop Elf Shop Kids Market, Saturdays, Nov. 21 through Dec. 19 – Part of the Indoor Winter Farm Market inside Center Plaza.  Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This special shop gives kids the opportunity to purchase reasonably priced gifts for their parents, siblings and friends with the help of an elf. Gift selections are marked in even dollar amounts with tax included, to make shopping easy for young children.

Santa Visits, Saturdays, Nov. 14 through Dec. 12 – Offered at Gabriel Furniture, 201 E. College Ave., from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Enjoy the freedom to visit and take your own photos!


The 45th annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade, Tues., Nov. 24 – Parade starts at 7:00 p.m. along College Avenue. This year’s theme is “A Night Of Family Traditions.”

Small Business Saturday, Sat., Nov. 28 –Support local small businesses and enjoy special offers and a chance to win two tickets from Appleton Airport nonstop to Tampa/St Pete, Florida on Allegiant! 

Holiday Fun Fest, Sat., Dec. 19 – Features Thrivent Financial’s “Avenue of Ice.” Special activities include: ice carving demonstrations and ice sculpture creations along College Avenue, the chance to see live reindeer, horse-drawn wagon rides, refreshments, visits with Santa, music and more from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Houdini Plaza.

Additionally, a free Downtown for the Holiday Guide is now available for download on the ADI website at  Printed copies of the guide are also available for pick-up at Downtown businesses.

Festival of Trees at The Trout Museum of Art

3b3c17e2-c185-460e-83fe-dc2f1f39fd392nd Annual Festival of Trees – Nov. 1 – 21:

Join the Trout Museum of Art for this free celebratory exhibit!

The Fox Cities Building for the Arts rings in the holiday season with unique experiences for the entire family. Local artists and businesses display colorful wreaths, trees, and stockings, available for silent bidding throughout downtown Appleton.

Home for the Holidays

Thursday, Nov. 5 & 12, 6pm-9pm

Children’s Story & Activity Time

Wednesday, Nov. 4 & 18

Drop-In Studio: Upcycled Holiday Ornaments

Nov. 7, 14, & 15, Noon-4pm

Live Performances

Starting this Saturday

Auction Reception

Saturday, Nov. 21, 6pm-8pm

When planning your visit to the museum, please be aware that the elevator is currently out of service. We apologize for the inconvenience.

A Downtown Holiday Tradition

For a full Festival of Trees experience, be sure to visit each participating downtown destination. Each business is part of the exhibition space, showcasing a tree that you can bid on. Proceeds benefit a partnering non-profit organization. Pick up a map at The Trout Museum of Art to participate in this downtown experience!



Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.35.37 PM“A Night of Family Traditions” is this year’s theme of The 45th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade.  New this year, the parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24th.

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

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

“We selected “A Night of Family Traditions” as our theme because this is all about generations of children and families enjoying this nighttime parade.” according to Greg Otis, Parade Chairman.

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

Wisconsin Bike Summit will be held in Appleton WI on November 6th

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The Wisconsin Bike Fed and the Appleton Wisconsin Bike Summit Host Committee are pleased to announce the Wisconsin Bike Summit will be held in Appleton WI on November 6th 2015 at the Warch Center of Lawrence University.

This year’s theme is Shifting Gears and attendees will be able to choose from a variety of presentations covering such various bicycling topics as advocacy, planning, equity and community.  Sessions include:

How to Start a Trips for Kids Mountain Bike Ride Chapter for Underserved Youth

A Non-Traditional Approach to Bike to Work Day

An In-Depth Study of Wisconsin Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes

Women in Cycling – the Ladies Revolution!

Slow Roll Chicago: The Transformative Power of Bicycles

HealthTIDE – the New Wave; Weight of the Fox Valley – To Win, We Need To Lose

The Keynote Speakers this year are Charlie Cooper of People For Bikes who will speak about the current state of bicycling in the US and Kelsey Regan, UltraMarathon Cycling record holder for the fastest point to point ride across Wisconsin.

The Summit will conclude with a exclusive tour and reception at the History Museum at the Castle featuring the expanded exhibit Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Cycling. 

More information can be found at

Registration fees for the Summit are $45 and Reception only tickets are available for $25.