Iowa Chicken Run: a rural Mardi Gras tradition

On his head is a cowboy hat, between his lips is a whistle and in his hands is a stunned, slow-blinking chicken. The man, Rodney Victorian, leads an impromptu lineup of tractors, wagons, horses and ATVs through Iowa. Not the state, but a weathered town of 3,000 residents in southwest Louisiana. When he toots the(…)

Take Ten: Fox Valley breweries

Midwest Features Syndicate is partnering with the Department of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to help students gain work experience and build a writing portfolio. This week’s author is Jessica Zemlicka of Ripon, a senior majoring in journalism with a public relations emphasis. She chose to spotlight breweries “to celebrate the experiences they(…)

Field Museum explores tattoo art, history, logic, popularity

More people are adding an indelible mark on their life, based on a process that is thousands of years old. When asked to write about tattoos during my first newspaper job around 1980, it was hard to find anybody besides military vets and bikers to interview. Now nearly one-half of Americans who are 18 to(…)

Great chili debates: sauce to seasoning, mac to meat

If you seriously doubt our nation’s ability to seriously but pleasantly debate anything, I have one word for you: Chili. After asking Facebook friends what makes a bowl of chili distinctive, passionate preferences bubbled up pretty quickly. Geographic loyalty mattered a little, but certainly not politics. Hallejulah! What must chili contain to be worthy of(…)

2017 travel hot spots: Canada, Europe, Finland, Montreal, Anchorage

Visionaries bring out their crystal ball in January and share what they know, think or hope for the new year. That is especially true during years when a new U.S. president begins work, but the whirl of predictions thankfully doesn’t begin and end with politics. As you burrow in for the winter and await vacation,(…)

Carnival’s new Vista: waterpark, brewery, IMAX

Name a village of 4,500 with a brewery, waterpark, casino, IMAX theater and dozen dining outlets specializing in steak to sushi. Thirty years have passed since my first Carnival sailing, and the cruise line no longer is simply a nonstop floating frat party. Sun decks, slushy drinks, silly games and gyrating dancers remain, but this(…)

Take Ten: Northwoods wedding venues

Midwest Features Syndicate is partnering with the Department of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to help students gain work experience and build a writing portfolio. This week’s author is Jessica Johnson of Roberts, a senior majoring in journalism with an emphasis in writing and editing. She was editor-in-chief of the Advance-Titan, the college(…)

Massive ice castle sprouts near downtown Wisconsin Dells

A farmer’s progress comes at the mercy of Mother Nature, and that’s true for Dan Beck’s crew in Wisconsin Dells, too. He jokes that they have an icicle farm, and above-freezing temps are about as bad for growing them as lack of rain to a corn farmer. Another challenge is wind that races in from(…)

Best lodging of 2016: Eau Claire to Tobago

A memorable overnight getaway doesn’t have to break the budget, or maybe it’s high time that you splurged. Where? I count these properties as remarkable, based on my travels and experience in 2016. Lismore Hotel, Eau Claire: Swanky new accommodations downtown are a quick walk to the riverfront, artsy venues and other casual to classy(…)

Old Fashioned products, recipes, nostalgia, roots

To you, an Old Fashioned is the unofficial cocktail of Wisconsin and a popular prelude to special meals, especially during end-of-year entertaining. To Bob Meyer, the mixed drink is a matter of heritage and livelihood, intensely personal and a part of his family’s legacy. He bottles and markets Meyer Brothers Old Fashioned Mix, which provides(…)