New retreat, chalk fest, Beatles fest, Birkie events


Plenty of summer remains, and we have fresh ways to make the season feel special.

New near Bayfield is Wild Rice Retreat, a $10.4 million wellness center on 100 wooded acres along Lake Superior.

Lodging with modern Scandinavian design, a sauna house with rain room and a yoga building are in addition to the main retreat center.

“Our goal is to integrate arts and creativity with health and wellness practices, along with a continued tradition of exceptional, locally sourced food and service,” says Heidi Zimmer, founder and developer.

Travelers previously gravitated to the area because of Wild Rice restaurant, fine dining that closed in 2017.

Private, guided and group retreats will be scheduled throughout the year. Upcoming topics include a yoga retreat (Aug. 15-19), color relativity and mentorship (Aug. 15-19), shibori and indigo dyeing (Sept. 12-16) and yoga photography (Sept. 26-30).

The Museum of Wisconsin Art’s annual Art and Chalk Fest, Aug. 21-22 in West Bend, is expanding to include more state-based artists in a variety of mediums.

At the event’s core are artists who use chalk on concrete to create colorful, complex artwork as visitors watch. Also planned are demos by potters, glass blowers, flower sculptors, plein air painters, balloon twisters, henna tattoo artists and Turkish marbling artists.

Add music by Nineteen Thirteen, whose drummer is Victor DeLorenzo (of Violent Femmes), Milwaukee’s Dead Horses and Appleton’s Cory Chisel. Museum admission is free during Chalk Fest.

A late-summer rite of passage in Spring Green is Beatle Fest, a daylong musical tribute to the Fab Four, whose works are a key part of rock ’n’ roll history.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket to the back yard of Spring Green General Store for the free, Labor Day event, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 6. Well-behaved dogs and children are welcome too.

The tentative lineup: Backyard Ukes, Acoustic Mike, Joe Mirenna, Wild Love, Jim Barnard, Jeff Larsen, Vested Interest, Ancestra, Rob’s Alibi, Janna Johnson Band, Common Chord, Don Helix and the Champagne, Madam Mercury, Sugar Mama and the Rent Check, Hoot ’n’ Annie String Band.

For sale is locally brewed craft beer and a to-be-announced food menu. Spring Green General Store is known for unusual merchandise and daily specials (examples: apple pie pancakes, chorizo and roasted corn chilaquiles, curried chicken salad with mangoes).

Coming Sept. 24-25 near Cable is the Birkie Trail Run Festival, with events for uber athletes to children. Expect runs of 1 to 100 kilometers, most for solo participants, but also for relay teams of three to six people.

The half-marathon trail run will be USA Track and Field’s national championship event.

For more details or to register for any of the events, check out

“We have a lot going on with the acquisition of the Telemark property (formerly known as Telemark Lodge), launching a new professional cross-country ski team (Team Birkie), and adding a new event to the Birkie Ski Week in February,” reports Kate Barido, new communications rep for the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.

Under construction at Madison Children’s Museum is a huge climbing sculpture that will open in mid September and anchor the Wonderground. Project work began in April.

The 10,000-square-foot exhibit is a former parking structure, behind the museum. The sculpture is the centerpiece and consists of seven columns of 14 trees, plus recycled materials. It is 22 feet tall and weighs 20 tons.

“The exhibit will provide a fun, healthy outlet for getting young bodies in motion,” the downtown museum states, in a press release. Already on the site are a historic log cabin and a giant wooden bucket that is set on its side.

Tristan Crist, owner of Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, Lake Geneva, recently was named Master Illusionist of the Year by the International Magicians Society.

“To celebrate, my team and I have put together an incredible show this summer, featuring several spectacular large illusions you won’t see anywhere else,” he says.

Besides dividing his assistant in half, Crist magically makes motorcycles and helicopters appear.

The Luxembourg American Cultural Society presents the 35th annual Luxembourg Fest in Belgium (Ozaukee County) on Aug. 14-15.

A parade down Main Street at 10 a.m. Aug. 14 begins with the traditional Hammelsmarsch (sheep march). Fest organizers say the annual Treipen (blood sausage) eating contest is the world’s largest. Sampler platters of the sausage and frozen links are for sale.

Add a Sunday polka mass and other music, street market and diversions for children.

Love bratwurst? The new Johnsonville Marketplace in rural Sheboygan County, across the road from the sausage maker’s global headquarters, sells everything you might need or want for a brat fry.

The shop is west of Sheboygan Falls, open daily and sells 70-some food and beverage products that have a Johnsonville connection. Some aren’t sold in the average grocery store.

Anything needed for grilling, besides the food, is sold here too. That includes T-shirts with make-you-smile slogans, like “You’re the wurst.”