Travel

Horsing around in Kentucky

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When the first Saturday in May arrives, at least 150,000 spectators fill Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, long referred to as the “greatest two minutes in sports” because that’s about how long the marquee horse race lasts. This year marks the 140th run.

Mint juleps, the event’s signature cocktail, arrive in frosted souvenir glasses all over Louisville. Lots of ladies swank it up, wearing cocktail dresses and big, beautiful hats to the racetrack. It is customary to arrive hours before race time.

Attending the Kentucky Derby also means paying premium rates for a hotel and jockeying for elbow room at area restaurants, bourbon bars and tourist attractions. Derby admission this year is $698 ($799 for covered seating); the two-day ticket includes Kentucky Oaks racing on Friday.


Wisconsin’s Holyland: Churches dot Fond du Lac, Calumet counties

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With the arrival of spring comes the promise of renewal, revival and — especially for Christians — rebirth and resurrection as Easter approaches.

It was that way for German farm immigrants in the mid 1800s, too, and hundreds brought to the Midwest their prospects for prosperity and the faith to be at peace with whatever was out of their hands.

For the birds

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You could say Wisconsin is for the birds and be relatively accurate, for at least three reasons.

One-third of the state’s residents who are age 16 or older consider themselves birders. Only Vermont has a higher percentage, concludes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maple syrup business thriving, changing

6

The quaint notion of sap dripping from tree to bucket is a quickly fading snapshot for some maple syrup producers, and this is the time of year to better understand how the business is thriving and changing at some farms in Wisconsin.

Drewry Farms in Sheboygan County produced about 2,700 gallons of sap from 4,500 trees in 2013, a record for the family’s 120 acres of forest, on a hill near the Onion River.

An atypical brewery tour

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Two things make this Milwaukee brewery tour atypical: Your free pint is tapped before the sightseeing begins, and five minutes — tops — are spent talking about how beer is made.

What visitors learn will pertain much more to advertising, architecture, relationships and rebirth than hops, lagers, filters and fermentation. The 90-minute tour at Best Place is all about brewing history and the rise, fall and resurrection of the Pabst Brewing campus.

The craft of Wisconsin brewing

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Nowhere in Wisconsin does the craft of contemporary brewing seem more contagious than Madison and Dane County.

The area is filling growlers and opening new breweries at an appreciable rate. It’s not any one place’s level of production that raises eyebrows, but the proliferation of like-minded businesses, neighborhood brewpubs to production plants with ambitious goals.

What’s brewing in Denver?

9

Under an I-25 overpass, one block from a power plant and almost 1,000 miles from home, I catch a whiff of Wisconsin in Denver.

This is about beer, folks, not marijuana — although the latter has drawn tons of attention since Jan. 1, when pot was legalized for recreational purposes in Colorado.

A slice of Mennonite life

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Less than 200 miles separate Wisconsin from Bloomington, Ill., but what a potential difference in buffet lines: Red beet eggs. Ham loaf. Vareniky (stuffed dumplings). Turnip slaw. Suet pudding. Shoofly pie.

This is “Menno food” and some of the recipes — like the suet pudding, palatable because of molasses or sorghum, plus whipped cream topping — are generations old.

Wisconsin Dells keeps on making a big splash

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In the Wisconsin Dells area are more hotel rooms (8,000) than year-round residents (5,600). No Wisconsin city contains more accommodations for tourists, and that is one indication of the locale’s popularity.

What’s the big deal? Families with children know best. They head to indoor and outdoor waterparks: No other place in the world has a larger concentration.

Wisconsin chefs dream up new ways to serve pork

4

Meat lovers crave thick and juicy steaks, right? Let’s say “part right,” because pork during the past two years has been the food-service industry’s fastest-growing protein.

That means cutting-edge restaurant chefs are giving pork entrées more than a perfunctory nod on their menus. The Wisconsin Pork Producers Association helps this along with the annual Taste of Elegance contest, which rewards chefs for thinking creatively as they cook with pork.





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    If the shoes fit: Family wants to show younger generation the value of shoe repair

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    Think twice before tossing out those really comfy Alan Edmonds, Clarks, Keens, Gabors, Pikolinos, Kois, Chippewas, Durangos or whatever trusty footwear — flip-flops don’t count — you’ve come to love.

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    News briefs: Man arrested after driving recklessly

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    Court Roundup: Bicycle thief must make restitution

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    A longtime Kenosha business is getting a new owner and a new name, but will keep the same hometown feel.

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