My very first date with my now boyfriend, Tyler, took place completely by happenstance in August of 2016 when I posted a poor quality video of myself kneeboarding on Facebook that prompted him to respond with an offer to improve my skills under his expertise and to come to his cabin for the annual Venetian Festival in Lake Geneva. While the kneeboarding lesson was more or less a success, it was the beauty of Lake Geneva and the charm of the city and the festival themselves that has ultimately made me grow to love this part of Wisconsin and return every year!
Almost two years into our relationship, the Venetian Festival, as well as neighboring Williams Bay’s Corn and Brat Fest, remain two highlights in our summer calendar. If you’re looking for a new series of events to attend this August, I invite you to visit Walworth County this coming weekend and the next to enjoy the lake and all of the fun activities these exciting events have to offer:
41st annual Lion’s Corn and Brat Festival – Williams Bay, WI; August 10th – 12th
As a vegetarian, I love this event for the same reason I love State Fair: corn! Or, more importantly, that not only is there a vegetarian option available, but also that I won’t be eating it alone. As a German-American, I love a good brat (I don’t eat them anymore, but from past experience I know they taste great and the smell of brats cooking is hard to beat!) and appreciate events that pay homage to Wisconsin’s German heritage. In addition to the food (and drink assortment available at the bar), local bands take the stage every night and create an upbeat, energetic contrast to the usually quiet town.
William’s Bay, located on the northern shoreline of Lake Geneva, is where the cabin I first visited on that date with Tyler is located, as well as a multitude of small shops, cute local eateries, and a great sense of community (a separate post on the food in William’s Bay may be on the horizon!). Edgewater Park, where the festival takes place, is juxtaposed by downtown William’s Bay on one side and the shoreline on the other. It is also a short walk away from the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, which is a nature walk I cannot recommend enough! On a warm summer day it feels like you are in The Everglades – minus the sawgrass and plus a wide and stable walking bridge – making it great for both avid hikers and casual strollers.
56th annual Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival – Lake Geneva, WI; August 15th – 19th
If your favorite type of vacations are more about finding things to do instead of doing nothing (i.e. relaxing on the beach with a drink in your hand), then you are exactly like me and will love Lake Geneva’s Venetian Festival! There is a lot to see and do here, in addition to the fact that the city itself always provides for scenic walks, great shopping, and quality dining.
Some of the weekend’s festivities include a carnival, arts & craft fair, and musical entertainment. The major events all take place on Sunday and include a water ski show from the Wonder Lake Ski Team (my personal favorite, but I’m biased), the famous Venetian boat parade, and a fireworks display to end the weekend!
What Wisconsin festivals are on your calendar every year? Give a shout-out to your city’s best fest in the comments below!