Ice castles, Winterfest, cooking classes, cocktail contest


End-of-year holidays are history, so now what can preoccupy your time and mind?

Opening as soon as weather allows, likely mid to late January, is another glorious round of ice castles at Lake Geneva. Expect a one-acre fortress of ice with slides, fountains, caves, tunnels and crawl spaces.

The massive work at Geneva National Resort represents the work of a Utah-based company that is in the area for its third season.

Admission is $13 to $23, depending upon age and day of week. Ticket sales begin soon; advance ticket purchases are advised since the attraction will operate at a reduced capacity because of the pandemic.

Ice Castles – the company – also is constructing winter wonderlands in Utah, New Hampshire and Colorado this winter.

Also possible is an overnight stay with an ice castle view. Packages at Geneva National cottages, suites and rooms can include ice castle tickets and easy access to other outdoor activities – ice skating, candlelight snowshoeing, sledding – as weather permits. Overnight rates depend on day of week and number of guests.

To deepen the experience: Lake Geneva’s annual Winterfest, whose anchor is the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship, is downtown Feb. 3-7. Ice sculptures and bonfires on the beach are part of the free event too.

Seeking just the right souvenir to remember 2020? A Madison editorial cartoonist has a political satire card game that just might be the perfect keepsake.

Phil Hinds illustrates the 2020 Cognitive Test Person Woman Man Camera TV, a 72-card game where the five key words “must be repeated in the right order or players will find themselves acting out the crazy happenings of 2020.”

Count Corona, Kanye and Tiger King among the featured card characters. Cost: $20, at

Chef Dave Swanson at Braise Local Food, Milwaukee, conducts small, hands-on cooking classes during winter.

Most offerings last two hours, cost $70 and occur on a weekday evening. Advance reservations are required. Upcoming topics include cheesemaking on Jan. 6; Indian vegetarian fare, Jan. 7; Spanish tapas, Jan. 12 and 28; Thai curries, Jan. 13; bread making, Jan. 14; coq au vin, Jan. 19; pasta specialties, Jan. 20; Cajun specialties, Jan. 27; Indian classics, Feb. 3; and pasta basics, Feb. 9.

Swanson also arranges private classes that start at $45 per person (six-person and/or $400 minimum), and these sessions can be paired with dinner.

If you’ve upped your bartending skills during this pandemic year, Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee is ready to reward the most excellent of efforts.

Submit a recipe that uses one of the distillery’s products for a chance to win a bottle of liquor and a chance for your cocktail to be featured on the Great Lakes tasting room menu.

The Stay at Home Cocktail Contest is limited to one entry per person per week. Do not resubmit the same cocktail recipe each week.

Winners are selected by the creativity, taste and ease of making their cocktail at home or behind a busy bar.

Arriving in February is a new Roth Cheese version of gouda, one with spinach and artichokes. The combo was pursued after the public asked for it.

Watch for the product’s transition vat to table at That’s where cheese storage tips and recipes also are gathered.

The Monroe cheese company’s multitude of awards is led by Grand Cru Surchoix, an alpine-style cheese that became top cheese during the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest.

So you’re a Milwaukee Brewers fan? Ages 14 or younger can demonstrate their devotion with a $30 membership to the Kids Crew.

The team’s official club for children provides six ticket vouchers for select 2021 home games, a jersey, lunch bag, knit hat, sunglasses, lanyard and membership badge. That’s in addition to exclusive Kids Crew events, which include a free ballpark tour and early access to the ballpark on select dates, to watch the baseball players in batting practice.

For more:

New at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport: an extension of nonstop service to Tampa and Fort Myers, Fla., on United Airlines until April 12. The service had been scheduled to end Jan. 10.

New vendors also are operating at the airport. That includes No Boundaries, a retail store specializing in outdoor clothing, equipment and accessories. It is in the pre-security area of the Main Terminal.

Two new dining options on Concourse D are Great American Bagel, serving bagels and paninis, and Garden District Kitchen and Bar, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Last: If you want to travel light to a warmer climate this winter, consider the airport’s coat check service, where you can leave a parka behind for $2 per day or $10 per trip.