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Snyder: It's still summer, so get out there and enjoy it
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Snyder: It's still summer, so get out there and enjoy it

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This global pandemic has messed with the pace of time.

Without our regular work/school routines, days melt one into the next. We’ve adapted (well, most of us) to masks, hand sanitizing and social distancing. Much of the day is spent inside our homes, listening to music, watching TV, reading, playing video games, Zooming in to work meetings, getting together with friends for video chats.

Still, somehow, time moves on. With or without us.

And now it’s August. That means you have four weeks left to make the most of this most unusual summer.

Don’t scoff and turn the page just yet.

It is still possible to enjoy an all-American summer. It just won’t look like the summers we’re used to. We’re not listening to (or playing in) Kenosha Pops Band concerts at the band shell, finding our favorite rides at car shows or sharing deep-fried doughnuts at church festivals. (That last one haunts me. With no church festival season, I’m reduced to playing Chuck-a-Luck in my dreams.)

Before summer slips away, make time to:

Get wet

Late summer can be the best time to venture into Lake Michigan, now that it’s had all summer to warm up a bit. Yes, the beaches have been crowded this summer, especially Simmons Island Beach, but don’t let that keep you at home.

I spent four hours on the beach at Simmons Island last Saturday, with my butt in a chair, my feet in the surf and a David Baldacci thriller on my lap. (He’s good company, if a little bloodthirsty!) It was busy, yes, but no one crowded me. Children ran past on their way in and out of the water, but I was socially distanced and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. To nab a parking spot, get there early (experts suggest no later than 9 a.m.). I lucked into a spot on top of the hill when someone left at 12:30 p.m.

Looking for less of a crowd? Head north of Simmons Island to Pennoyer Park Beach or south to Southport Park. Away from Lake Michigan, Silver Lake has a lot of space to spread out this summer because only 120 cars are allowed inside at a time. Again, get there EARLY for a parking spot or you’ll find yourself circling the park while waiting for someone to leave.

If you’re seeking water that comes with rafts and slides and a lazy river, go to the Hurricane Harbor outdoor waterpark at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill. Hurricane Harbor has reopened with new pandemic rules. You MUST reserve a spot before going. Find details online at www.sixflags.com. (The theme park itself is still closed.)

Get rolling

The city of Kenosha’s streetcars are running downtown again. New procedures have been put in place for operating the streetcars in a COVID-19 world, including new Plexiglas “sneeze guard” barriers placed at the front of each vehicle.

Also, to make social distancing easier, no more than 15 people will be allowed on board at a time. Masks are encouraged but not required.

The streetcars run on a two-mile loop that provides views of Lake Michigan, HarborPark, downtown and the Metra train station. Streetcars run 11:05 a.m. to 6:35 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10:35 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The fare is $1 for people age 13 and older, 50 cents for kids ages 5-12 and free for children age 4 and younger. An all-day pass is $3.50 per person. Note: Have the exact fare ready; no change is given. For more information, call 262-653-4287 or log on at www.kenosha.org/departments/transportation

Get to a market

Kenosha now has two outdoor markets on Saturdays — the Kenosha HarborMarket, located on Second Avenue, between 54th and 56th streets, and the new Kenosha Public Market, set up between Sixth and Eighth avenues and 52nd and 54th streets (south and west of the Kenosha Municipal Building).

During the week, Kenosha farmers markets start at 6 a.m. in Pennoyer Park (Tuesdays), Columbus Park (Wednesdays and Saturdays), Lincoln Park (Thursdays) and Baker Park (Fridays). All the markets offer fresh produce.

Get to Simmons Field

While Major League Baseball’s season is in disarray — the Milwaukee Brewers’ home opener Friday was scrapped after the St. Louis Cardinals reported positive COVID-19 tests — the Kenosha Kingfish season continues.

Kenosha’s local team created a “bubble” with the newly formed K-Town Bobbers for a league of their own this summer. The games are Wednesday-Sunday, with today’s game starting at 1:05 p.m. For more information, go to kingfishbaseball.com.

Get some live music

We’re not going to lie. This has been a terrible summer for live performances. Already, Hawthorn Hollow’s Pike River Concert Series and the Somers Time Jazz Festival have been canceled, but Twilight Jazz is still scheduled for Tuesday evening outside the Anderson Arts Center. Fingers crossed! The grounds, 6603 Third Ave., open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. concert, featuring vocalist/saxophonist Suzanne Grzanna. Get there early; socially distanced seating is blocked off on the lawn, and it’s first come, first served. Bring a lawn chair and/or a blanket. Concessions will be available for purchase; concert admission is free.

You can find more live music at the Petrifying Springs Park Biergarten. The Brewhaus Polka Kings start at 3 p.m. today, performing German, Slovenian and other “standard” folk songs along with Yankovic tunes to create what they call “a unique repertoire.” The Biergarten is open 4 to 9 p.m. weekdays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Check the Biergarten’s Facebook page for the latest updates. Do we really have to say this by now? The Biergarten is operating under COVID-19 rules, including social distancing. And leave your chairs at home; no outside seating is allowed this year inside the Biergarten

Other venues regularly offering live, outdoor music include Union Park Tavern, the Lakeside Deck at the Wyndham Hotel and 58 Below. Check their Facebook pages (and the Kenosha News, of course) for performances.

Get moving

Kenosha — the city, the county and the surrounding area — is home to beautiful parks just begging visitors to come and take a walk. (They’re also great for a picnic lunch or a relaxing afternoon curled up with a chair and a novel.)

Petrifying Springs is deservedly popular, but there are many other options. Why not head out to a county park you haven’t visited before? Brighton Dale. Fox River, Silver Lake (the park area, NOT the beach) and Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park (formerly known as KD Park) are all waiting to be explored. Find your new favorite park at parks.kenoshacounty.org.

Get soaring

Looking for more of a challenge than strolling through a park? The Boundless Adventures zipline and aerial park, which opened last spring in Bristol Woods County Park, is operating under COVID-19 guidelines. The venue, featuring nine ropes courses, is designed to challenge all skill levels with such obstacles as rope bridges, swinging logs and ziplines. There are no walk-ins accepted. Reservations and waivers must be completed at three hours in advance of a visit. Guests are also asked to bring a mask to be worn at check-in. The course is open to people ages 7 and older. Admission is $41-$55, with discounts are available for groups. To make a reservation and for more information, call 262-924-8781 or log on at https://boundlessadventures.net/wi-park

Get on the road

We get that this is a summer of sticking close to home, but sometimes you just gotta go somewhere.

We love this road trip a reader suggested, which gets you out and about in this area: “I went from Bristolwoods park yesterday down Hunt Club Road (County Highway U) a couple miles south into Illinois (we’re only banned in Chicago) and the homes and landscapes are fabulous. Go down Crawford Road and see the habitat restoration project near the interstate and the horses to the west. A mile south of the state line on Highway U is Pine Dunes Forest Preserve, a new little park with a really clean restroom. And the Dutch Gap preserve is really big, but I don’t know how to get in there.”

She added, “You know our rustic roads are pretty, too, and after all that driving around, you’d have to end up at a nice Kenosha County restaurant.” Let’s get in the car right now!

Get your Fair Food fix

The venerable Walworth County Fair was the latest organization to cancel this summer’s event (Kenosha County’s fair was canceled weeks ago), but you can at least drown those sorrows in deep-fried cheese curds.

The Wisconsin State Fair is offering a Fair Food Drive-Thru Thursdays-Sundays through Aug. 16 at State Fair Park, 640 South 84th St. in West Allis. The Drive-Thru offers food items from State Fair vendors. The menu will change each week and be posted at www.WiStateFair.com.

The different fair foods are spread out over 2.2 miles throughout the historic Milwaukee Mile and State Fair Park. It’s open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, and features items such as corn dogs, pizza, funnel cakes and Island Noodles, along with plenty of deep-fried items with CHEESE.

Get a grip

You might not be able to cross off everything on your 2020 Summer To-Do List, but with the right attitude, this season doesn’t have to be a complete loss.

We don’t want anyone wasting this beautiful weather perched in front of a television set.

Even with time working differently in a COVID-19 world, before you know it, I’ll be writing about sledding hills and Christmas lights … and you’ll be wondering if you ever got that hammock out for the summer.

Has the pandemic affected your summer plans? Email Liz at esnyder@kenoshanews.com or call her at 262-656-6271.

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