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Winterfest returns to Green Bay’s Broadway District

Warming hearts — and stomachs — with fun and flavorful events

By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor

Next Saturday, the streets of the Broadway District will be hustling and bustling with folks enjoying On Broadway, Inc.’s annual Winterfest event.

Brooke Hafs, On Broadway, Inc.’s director of marketing, said that Winterfest is first and foremost a celebration of winter and all it has to offer.

“The goal of the event is to harness everything Wisconsinites love about the cold and snowy season and bring it to one location for an outdoor festival for families,” she said.

Of course, Hafs said she hopes Winterfest, and all of On Broadway, Inc.’s events for that matter, also serve a greater purpose.

Winterfest offers attendees a variety of activities and experiences, including the opportunity to interact with winter animals, like the alpaca pictured here. Submitted photos

“The goal of every event is to draw people to the Broadway District to showcase all of the wonderful things happening here,” she said. “We want to create an environment where folks stop in and visit our businesses to shop, eat or snag a drink. They might discover a new business they have never seen before and want to keep coming back to the area.”

Hafs said that goal is something that’s always at the heart of On Broadway Inc.’s programs.

“Our organization has worked to evolve this event to get people moving throughout the entire district,” she said. “We really see the value of creating programming that gets people walking the streets and visiting our businesses.”

Hafs said the business owners in the district see the value in their programming, too.

“We always receive great feedback after hosting this event. The business owners who participate in the programming are always so grateful for the exposure and love interacting with the community,” she said. “The attendees are happy to have a wide variety of activities to engage with. We consistently hear people say, ‘I didn’t know this business was here.’ It makes us so happy each time someone in the community says they’ll be coming back.”

To get people out and about in the Broadway District and discovering the hidden gems within, Hafs said this year’s Winterfest will feature a variety of activities, some new and some old.

Ice sculpture carvers and wood sculpture carvers alike will be on-site at Winterfest, working on their latest masterpieces.

“This year we have ice sculpture carvers and wood sculpture carvers. There will be winter animals like alpacas for folks to interact with. Families can enjoy a number of winter-themed games and activities,” she said. “There will be food trucks and vendors selling seasonal products. There will be s’more making and a soup tasting contest inside the Lyric Room. People can also participate in our Candy Land Scavenger Hunt at participating Broadway District businesses. A colorful map will be provided to seek out a variety of treats.”

The Candy Land Scavenger Hunt, Hafs said, is just one of a few more recent additions to the Winterfest festivities.

“The scavenger hunt is a relatively new part of the event that gets people moving,” she said. “It gives people a chance to warm up, move their bodies, explore new businesses and hopefully elongate their stay in the district on that day and keep them coming back for more in the future. The Soup Tasting Contest is also a newer part of the event that features some of our district restaurants. This is a chance for people to try out soup from four or five different restaurants in the district and maybe it’ll entice them to go grab lunch on that day or come back on another day.”

Hafs said there’s one new event this year that attendees should be on the lookout for.

“We are very excited about this year’s wood sculpture that will be created by Casey Earl Krueger during the event,” she said. “The artist is creating a stag with a moveable head and we have plans after the event to find a permanent home in the district for this art piece.”

The inclusion of the live sculpting, Hafs said, is in line with the overall goal On Broadway, Inc. has of becoming a district that values public art.

“We love supporting local artists and finding ways to create more public art during our events and showcase them long-term,” she said. “When we look at cities across the country that have been successful with revitalizing the area, public art is a large part of the success. Public art makes a space feel safe and clean. It really gives people a purpose in being in that area.”

If you’re interested in attending Winterfest or participating in the Candy Land Scavenger Hunt, checkout downtowngreenbay.com for more details and be on the lookout for next week’s issue of City Pages, which will feature the scavenger hunt map!

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