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Take the Fun Indoors at These Wisconsin Festivals

By Pat Dillon
Special to TravelWisconsin.com

When the temperature levels dip but your energy stays high, check out Wisconsin’s plethora of indoor festivals and events designed to keep winter blues at bay. Explore cultural heritage, get your hands in art, learn Wisconsin’s natural history or rummage at a local swap meet.

Here are few fun and information-filled ideas, but there are so many more statewide.

Indoor Fair Trade

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure—a truism proven every Saturday when the Shawano Flea Market takes its wares inside from January to the first week of April. You’ll also find food vendors and local artisans hawking their goods.

In the Fox Valley, the indoor Appleton Flea Market sells arts, crafts, antiques, new products and local food from 40-50 vendors every Saturday and Sunday. Enter through BumblePuppy Store.

Door County Festival and Arts

There’s plenty to do within the Door Peninsula’s frozen tundra, but Fish Creek gives indoor lovers a break during its Winter Festival. Within a grand heated tent, festival goers can enjoy events such as “wild winter games,” a live DJ, local food and drinks and vendors selling merchandise from area shops. Festivities are the first weekend in February.

Also in Fish Creek, art lovers can sign up for Family Art Days on the third Saturday of each month at the Peninsula School of Art. Participants will explore techniques and themes of the current exhibit on display and then show their creations during the school’s We Love Art exhibit.

Great Lakes Pet Expo

When the Wisconsin State Fair isn’t in full swing, its Wisconsin Expo Center is still hopping. Take the first Saturday in February when animal lovers flock to the Great Lakes Pet Expo, a charitable event bringing rescue organizations and pet care-giving retailers and wholesalers into one spot. This is where you can hold or adopt a rescued rabbit or ferret and talk to rescue organizations about how to fill your house with the perfect furry companion. All proceeds are donated to animal-protection, non-profit organizations (rescues and humane societies). All dollars raised stay in Wisconsin.

Art & Heritage

Come in from the cold and into Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts where you can make a book in conjunction with the Center’s Gallery 1 exhibit “15,” This show examines the possibilities of the book as a form of artistic expression, and teaches materials, methods and techniques used in bookmaking.

Then, the last Saturday in February, the Overture Center celebrates the heritage of more than thirty cultures during its International Festival. View stunning art, taste foods indigenous to countries around the world and learn about connecting to international businesses in this global economy.

Kids in the Horicon Marsh

Parents! Don’t put nature outings on hold when it’s cold! The Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center engages kids every other Thursday with stories about their natural surroundings. In January and February kids will hear about owls and the eagle’s eye, and what tracks and scat have in common. Then they’ll put together a take-home craft about what they’ve learned.


Keep browsing Wisconsin's unique and exciting events happening throughout the year!