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.

Thrivent Cans Hunger at 2015 Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade

thriventcanshunger279Help us make the Thrivent Financial Outagamie County Chapter canned food drive the largest canned food drive of 2015!  Bring your donations to the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade on November 24th!

Thrivent Chapter logo“Thrivent Cans Hunger” was developed by our local Thrivent Chapter to help ensure every man, woman and child in the Fox Valley has three decent meals a day. We are bringing it back again for the fourth year in a row! Throughout the month of November, area schools will be competing against each other to collect the most cans through their individual canned food drives. Watch for the winning school in person in the parade or on the telecast by WFRV-TV.

To continue this generosity, we ask that you bring your donations (canned goods only – no paper, glass or cardboard packages, please) to the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Encourage your friends to do the same! Following the Santa Scamper, between 6:30pm – 7:00pm, watch for the Thrivent Cans Hunger group along with The Family radio station van as it rolls down College Avenue to start off the parade. All donations collected by area schools and the night of the parade will be distributed between local food pantries. For more information on this event, please contact Ashley Fleming, Events Director, at:

One Great Place for Holidays! Holiday Window Walk November 13th

Join us for fun in downtown at the Holiday Window Walk event on November 13th from 6 to 9 pm all over our great downtown!  Check the list below for special offers at our downtown businesses during the Window Walk!

AD1543 Holiday FBWindow Walk Special Offers*  Nov. 13, 6-9pm

Fresh Expressions, 1011 W. College Ave. –

  • Refreshments and drawing for handmade WI Christmas ornaments!

Globally Sound Fair Trade, 604 W. College Ave.

  • Enjoy Free Fair Trade Chocolate samples!

Muncheez Pizzeria, 600 W. College Ave.

  • Free hot chocolate or soda w/ $5 food purchase!

Jack’s Apple Pub, 535 W. College Ave.

  • Specially priced Peppermint Pattie!

Appleton Bike Shop, 121 S. State St.

  • Enjoy 25% off any winter gear!

Coventry Glassworks & Gallery, 514 W. College Ave.

  • Opening reception for new exhibit by local watercolor artis, Phil Sealy.  Refreshments!

Acoca Coffee, 500 W. College Ave.

  • Free samples!

Angels Forever-Windows of Light, 310 W. College Ave.

  • Enjoy 20% off gold jewelry, free calendars & cookies!

Copper Rock Coffee Co., 210 W. College Ave.

  • Enjoy 10% off all drinks!

Crazy Sweet, 201 W. College Ave.

  • Free hot apple cider!

Trout Museum of Art, 111 W. College Ave.

  • Enjoy live music 7:45-8:30pm while viewing the Festival of Trees at the Festival hub!  Free!

The Building For Kids Children’s Museum, 100 W. College Ave.

  • Not open tonight, but stop back to bid on our tree!

Appleton Public Library, 225 N. Oneida St.

  • Not open tonight, but stop back to bid on our tree!

Rookies, 325 N. Appleton St.

  • Stop in to enjoy our Friday Night Fish Fry!

Joseph’s Shoes, 10 College Ave (inside City Center)

  • In-store specials and treats!

Items of Interest, 10 College Ave (inside City Center)

  • In-store specials!

Boardlandia, 10 College Ave (inside City Center)

  • Freshly baked cookies & a free raffle for prizes!

DePawsitory, 103 E. College Ave.

  • Enjoy hot cocoa & cookies for you & Fido!

Vagabond Imports, 113 E. College Ave.

  • Enjoy Cookies!

The Vintage Garden, 119 E. College Ave.

  • Join us for treats & in-store specials!

hey, daisy!, 121 E. College Ave.

  • Customer Appreciation sale runs Nov. 9-14

Eco Candle, 123 E. College Ave.

  • Special discounts on great gift ideas

Just Act Natural, 129 E. College Ave.

  • Free food sampling. Live music. In-store discounts!

Tina Marie’s Unique Boutique, 206 E. College Ave.

  • Enjoy Cookies & hot chocolate!

Sonnet’s Garden Blooms, 206 E. College Ave.

  • Enjoy Cookies & hot chocolate!

Beatnik Betty’s Resale Butik, 208 E. College Ave.

  • Save 15% off select items!

Studio 213, 213 E. College Ave. 

  • Refreshments, plus 15% off antiques, glassware, primitives & furniture!

Dance!, 225 E. College Ave.

  • Pointe shoe decorating (pre-reg. required)! Refreshments!

Blue Moon Emporium, 227 E. College Ave.

  • Enjoy treats and 10% off your purchase!

Pinot’s Palette, 226 E. College Ave.

  • Watch live painting in the Picasso Studio and save $10/seat on any session booked.

The Fire, 230 E. College Ave.

  • Purchase an ornament & receive one half off (equal or lesser value) Plus bonus gift certificates!

The Traveling Palette, 109 N. Durkee St.

  • Enjoy the “Candyland Express” Model train exhibit with trains & photos by Lars Anderson!

Heid Music, 308 E. College Ave.

  • Not open tonight, but stop back to bid on our tree!

*Some exclusions apply.  See individual businesses for details.


Houdini Tower Showcases One Great Place Local Artistic Talents

2015-2016 Installation One Great Place  Houdini Tower in Houdini Plaza

Artisanship is a valued asset in our community and conducting our very first Houdini Tower photo contest for the centerpiece of our downtown is a great way to showcase this local talent!  


This year’s photo contest, sponsored by Creative Downtown Appleton Inc. and Sculpture Valley, celebrates the launch of Downtown’s new brand: One Great Place! The winning photos, on display through the summer of 2016, represent unique perspectives on people, places and events that make Downtown Appleton One Great Place to be! The submissions we received came from a wide array of skill levels and a spanning wide demographic range.

Creative Downtown Appleton and Sculpture Valley support the belief that the arts are an integral part of a healthy culture, economy and community. Public art connects people to a sense of place and can create a strong identity and competitive edge that helps attract young talent as well as visiting populations. 

Cities gain value through public art: cultural, social and economic value. Public art is a part of our public history and our evolving culture. It reflects and reveals our society and adds meaning and uniqueness to our community. Public art invigorates public spaces and is freely accessible. By creating a community that is active and vibrant with public art it becomes a catalyst for community generation.

Public art brings artists, vision and people together to inspire creativity and elevate a community’s sense of place and ultimately attracting a creative class. Public art matters.


“The Houdini Tower was created with the idea that these picture boxes would change over time, sharing images of our past, interpretations of our present and visions of our collective future. Appleton is proud to offer this opportunity to collaborate with our community partners and our area artists alike.”

-Karen Harkness

Here are your winning photographers for One Great Place, 2015-2016


Photographer: Jeff Lange, Skatepark Opening


Photographer: Ashly Gust, College Ave Bridge Sunset, Summer of 2014


Photographer: Lilly Owens, Houdini

This is my 8-year-old brother Dane as Harry Houdini. He had to give a speech dressed as him for 2nd grade and loved dressing up so we thought it would be fun to take pictures downtown.


  Photographer: James Vervoort, Trestle with Eagle


  Photographer: Michael R. Burmesch, Yarn Bench


  Photographer: Michael R. Burmesch, Zuelke Building

Michael’s photos are all taken with the use of lens attachments and his iPhone, a new art form commonly called iPhoneography. His work can be seen in galleries, museums and local businesses around the state under the name Mb Squared Photography. Full-time, Michael is the Graphic Communications Manager for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), having earned his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree in Communication Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). Michael currently resides in Bay View, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee lakefront community. Learn more about Michael at:


James Vervoort

Black and White and Color License to Cruise


Justin “Perry” Meyer

Drew St. “graffiti” wall


Erik Kielisch

Downtown Appleton Church Door


Erik Kielisch

Downtown Appleton Rail Bridge Walkway


Trevor Lord

Stairs at Lawrence University


Shirley Wolf

The horse head at 207 W. College Ave.  There was a livery stable at that location in the early days of Appleton.

Legislature Declares Mile of Music Weekend in State August 6-9

Through the efforts of Wisconsin State Representative Amanda Stuck and Senator Roger Roth, it’s official. The state’s Legislature has declared August 6-9, 2015 as the Mile of Music Weekend in Wisconsin and declares all residents of the state as honorary Appletonians for the weekend.

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“I am glad to see that the full Assembly has joined me in recognizing the tremendous hard work and dedication of Appleton’s own Cory Chisel and Dave Willems from Willems Marketing & Events who are the co-founders and organizers of the Mile of Music,” Rep. Stuck says.

“It is my hope that this recognition and honor will help to make Mile of Music 3 another record breaking event with even more performances and even higher attendance to the many events that weekend.”

Dave Willems, president of Willems Marketing & Events and co-founder of Mile of Music, says “This recognition from our state legislators is affirmation that the Mile of Music festival has far reaching impact on our region and state.

“The Mile of Music has done such a great job of bringing people from across the State and across the Midwest to Appleton to experience many great artists and the many venues that our city has to offer. In addition to this massive economic impact to our community, the profits from the festival will continue the tradition of giving back to the community with money going to support music education in the Appleton Public Schools and funds to help support a creative economy in downtown Appleton.

“I hope that everyone will take this opportunity to come up to Appleton this August to see some great live music, eat at great restaurants and enjoy the vivid nightlife of Downtown Appleton.  I look forward to seeing my legislative colleagues and citizens from across the state as we break the attendance record at Mile of Music again this year.”

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The regional draw of the festival multiplies the economic impact on the local area, a factor noted by Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown, Inc.

“The creative economy in Downtown Appleton continues to grow and Mile of Music plays a large part in that,” Stephany says. “With 200 original artists and  more than 800 live performances in 60-plus venues including two brand new outdoor small performance venues, it really adds up to 1 Great Mile of Music.

“In addition to the economic boost those 50 venues receive with increased sales of 10-100% over that period, the other restaurants, festival-friendly retailers and local hotels also benefit.   Spending in 2014 was estimated at $2million dollars and we expect that to continue to grow as the festival grows.”

Stephany added that the trickle-down economic impact is also worth noting, with employees happy with the additional hours and tips generated over the weekend.

Mile of Music is a weekend-long festival on a mile-long stretch of College Avenue in downtown Appleton that’s all about original, hand-crafted artistry. Now in its third year, Mile of Music will be serving up singer-songwriters, combos and multi-piece bands showcasing Americana music at its very best — from roots and indie rock to country, soul, r&b, jazz and folk – from August 6-9. Nearly all performances are free. Plus, there will be many free, hands-on Music Education events throughout the festival for visitors of all ages.

For all things Mile of Music, go online to

10 Great Reasons Downtown is One Great Place

Downtown Appleton is One Great Place.  Here are 10 great reasons why!

1. Houdini Plaza: Appleton’s front yard

2. Farm Market: Year round, fresh and local

3. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: 25 Wisconsin premieres

4. Free Summer Concert Series: Thursday Lunchtime Live and evenings!

5. Mile of Music:  Handcrafted, artisan festival.

6. Lawrence University:  Liberal arts college and conservatory of music.

7. Dynamic Arts Community:  Creative opportunities abound for all ages.

8. The Building for Kids Children’s Museum: Building imagination, creativity and confidence.

9. Interactive History and Art Museums: Iconic settings, exceptional exhibits and classes.

10. Downtown Businesses: Thriving foodie hotspot and hip shopping destination.

Willis of Wisconsin committed to growing the creative economy in Appleton!

Companies understand that creative placemaking contributes to a happier, more engaged workforce. That’s why they support the work of the Creative Downtown Committee. We are thrilled to recognize Willis of Wisconsin as our first Corporate Placemaker for 2015!


Their grant of $1,000 will bring new public art to downtown for the entire community to enjoy. At the same time they are helping to make Downtown Appleton a more fun, creative place, they are also making the Fox Cities a more attractive destination for existing and future employees to live, work and play. Not only is it good business, it’s the right thing to do.

Creative placemaking turns ordinary public spaces into engaging community places. It brings people together and inspires connections in a way that makes people want to stick around and come back again some day. This contributes to loyal employees for local businesses and return visitors to our city.

Josh Dukelow
Chair Creative Downtown Committee

Summer Outdoor Film Series in Houdini Plaza

The summer outdoor film series begins July 22nd in Houdini Plaza with the movie Planes.  The show starts at 8:30 pm. Appleton Public Library along with the YMCA, Building for Kids, Trout Museum of Art, P.A.C. are hosting these great family films in Houdini Plaza.

Put these Summer movie family outings on your calendar.  All shows start at 8:30 p.m.

July 22 – Planes July 29 –  Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas August 5 – Big Hero 6 August 12 – October Sky

Planes_BFKCM Grinch_PAC BigHero6_YMCA


Downtown Placemakers Campaign Growing with Community Support

IScreen Shot 2015-05-29 at 10.07.26 AMn April, we officially announced our Downtown Placemakers campaign, and in just a month we hit a major milestone: we’ve already raised more than $1,000!

Hard-working staff, dedicated volunteers, unique businesses, and a supportive community are among the vital ingredients for this early success. But the essential element is the donors! The individual men and women who took action to make a donation and support our work to make Downtown Appleton a fun, dynamic place.

In the months ahead you will see the fruits of this effort. Inspiring events like Art on the Town are becoming more engaging; underused spaces will be brought to life; the cityscape will blossom with color. This new energy will make our city center a more enjoyable place to live, work, and play, for both residents and visitors.

Do you want to be part of making Downtown Appleton #OneGreatPlace too? Then become a placemaker! Send your tax-deductible donation of $25 or more to Creative Downtown Appleton Inc (116 N Appleton St 54912) or call 920-954-9112. Your gift will help support creative placemaking in the heart of your community.

Please visit our site for the creative placemaking brochure.

Thank you!!

One Great Place Photo Contest

Photographers! Here’s your opportunity to showcase your One Great Place photos in Downtown Appleton.


We are looking for photos of Downtown Appleton and the Riverfront. Winning photos will be displayed in the Houdini Plaza Fountain!

Submit your entries in the following three categories:

1. Downtown & Riverfront Events: Events that are specific to downtown
Appleton and depict why Downtown Appleton is One Great Place.

2. Downtown & Riverfront Places: Locales, buildings, parks, businesses,
and architecture in downtown Appleton that convey a sense of place.

3. People enjoying Downtown and the Riverfront.

To be eligible for any category, a photograph must have been shot by the entrant since
January 1, 2014.

The contest begins on May 15, 2015. All entries must be emailed to by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on June 15, 2015.

Click here for Photo Contest Rules.

Click here for Photo Contest Entry Form.

Click here for Model Release Form.