Wacky Wisconsin: 4 Strange (But Fun!) Winter Events

Mariah Haberman headshot

Mariah Haberman is one of the hosts of Discover Wisconsin, the nation’s longest-running travel TV show.

Wisconsin is weird, wacky, zany – all of the above! And I hope I speak for most Wisconsinites when I say we don’t hide our crazy – we flaunt it!

One of the best parts of getting to host Discover Wisconsin is learning about some of the quirky ways we embrace the winter months. Here are just four strange (but super fun!) winter events you’ll find right here in the heart of the Midwest:

1. Recliner Racing – Conover

A race for couch potatoes? Now this is something I can get on board with! I actually partake in my very first recliner race at this year’s Northwoods Blizzard Blast in Conover. So, I am currently taking tips and suggestions – comment below!

But from what I gather, this entails teams racing against one another. One contestant sits on the recliner while the other (less fortunate) competitor does all the pushing across the snow and ice. Ah, if this isn’t a good ol’ wacky Wisconsin event, I don’t know what is!

2. Human Dog Sled Racing – Lake Geneva

Take the reins and partake in human dog sled racing at Lake Geneva’s annual Winterfest tradition. First, pick your team of six (four sled pullers, a sled rider and a sled pusher) and then, decide upon a strategy. (Pure power? Swift speedsters?)

Next, compete against each team in the double elimination tournament to determine the winner of this nutty event. To amp the crazy factor, teams are, of course, encouraged to dress in zany costumes. Get creative because there’s a prize for best dressed.

3. Ice Bowling – Rome

Us Wisconsinites like to add a wintry spin to a sport most would already consider to be a winter activity: bowling. Except now, we’ve added the outdoors, and thus, lots of snow and ice.

It’s called ice bowling, and there are a few spots across the state that celebrate this up-and-coming wintry sport. One of my favorite areas to throw a strike is SnoBlast Winterfest at Lake Arrowhead in central Wisconsin.

But wait! There’s more weirdness to embrace at SnoBlast, such as lawn mower races and snow golf.

4. Smooshboarding – Hudson

Hudson’s Hot Air Affair is perhaps best known for the big, beautiful balloons that fill the winter sky every February, but the activity that brings out the laughs is called smooshboarding.

Never heard of it? You’re not alone – that is, until I was asked to join a team for our Hudson episode!

Here’s the lowdown: each team consists of four contestants who are typically costumed to a theme of their choosing and strapped into one set of two skis or boards. The first team to complete the obstacle course and cross the finish line with all four contestants still strapped into their skis wins!

Believe me, this is a lot harder than it looks. (I think I fell maybe eight times in a matter of 30 seconds. 


I’m always on the lookout for weird Wisconsin events and festivals so if you have ideas for me, comment below or chime in on social media: #discoverwisconsin. Stay warm!

It gets even weirder. Check out five more wild Wisconsin sports, from sailing on ice to climbing frozen waterfalls!


Mariah Haberman is the host of Discover Wisconsin, the nation's longest-running travel TV show. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Tweet her: @MariahHaberman

This entry was posted in Fairs & Festivals