Returning from a 150 Year Hiatus: Neighborhood Breweries

Neighborhood Brewery Oshkosh

It doesn’t take a wayward stranger in an unfamiliar city saying, “Wait… Wisconsin?.. Beer & Cheese, right?” For locals to know, Wisconsin loves beer. According to our states historical society, ” German immigrants brought a heritage of beer making to Wisconsin.” And we’ve been tipping them back ever since. You’ve heard that we hold 6 of the 10 drunkest cities in America? In Northeast Wisconsin there seems to be a beer trend re circling that we haven’t seen since the mid 1800s. The trend is “neighborhood breweries” popping up in communities all around Northeast Wisconsin.

“Neighborhood brewery” means smaller scale breweries that are mainly focused on selling their beer in their taproom and in nearby, local establishments. To get into what a neighborhood brewery is I will let Lee Reiherzer explain. Reiherzer runs the Oshkosh Beer Blog, and has spent countless hours researching beer history in Oshkosh.

[[You can hear a conversation I had with Lee on my live show "But Why Not?" by clicking this link. Lee has written two books on the subject of Oshkosh Beer, going to lengths of reading old newspapers and court document tirelessly studying beer history in the Oshkosh/Winnebago area. His explanation of the neighborhood brewery is below.]]

Reiherzer explains, “Prior to the Civil War, American beer was not a mass-produced, commoditized product. The typical brewery was small; comparable in size to the most recent wave of craft breweries that have opened. And they operated in much the same way.” The new wave of craft breweries that have opened in the past two or three years in Northeast Wisconsin have a decidedly grassroots approach. “We want to be the neighborhood brewery in this area.” Fifth Ward co-owner Ian Wenger told me last year while discussing Fifth Wards business approach. “We want to be a solid spot for people to come into the taproom and enjoy a few great beers.”

Neenah’s newest brewery, Barrel 41, had a similar sentiment. Co-owner Matt Stubing said of his brewery, “We’re a relaxed brewery where you will see one of the owners behind the bar.” You’d be hard-pressed to see the owner of Goose Island or even some of Wisconsin’s larger craft breweries in their taproom. Barrel 41 is cozy brewery with a, “northwoodsy vibe,” as Stubing describes it. They just added canning capabilities after a year in business, and are focused on, “growing with Neenah.”

Back to neighborhood brewery history, Reiherzer tells us, “Their beer was made in small batches with most of the work of brewing being done by hand. Bottled beer was rare. Their beer went into kegs and was usually served either in their brewery taprooms or in local saloons. Few of these early breweries distributed their beer much beyond their immediate vicinity.” This describes these small neighborhood breweries to a T. So what is causing us beer consumers to slowly cascade away from mass production back to our home town taprooms? Perhaps history repeats itself? Maybe the internet has brought us back to community roots through opened communication?

One thing is certain, craft beer exploded in the past decade. In 2009 there were 1,600 craft breweries in America. The number of craft breweries rose to 6,300 by 2017. Craft beer now has 24.1% of the dollar share of the US beer market. These numbers are nothing to shake a stick at. It’s almost as if the market has woken up sick after noticing that they slept on their left arm funny, and it’s been feeding them watered down, flavorless beer for decades. The desire for a novel beer flavor experience and for connection to the beer you’re drinking seems to be keeping neighborhood breweries watered and fed.

McFleshman’s is the newest brewery in Appleton. Their focus, taproom manager Layla Cowper tells me, “Well we’re a public house. That’s why the Wi-Fi password is up there on that teeny-tiny plaque up by the door.” McFleshman’s also has no TVs, and their goal is create a brewing school to be a hub for homebrewers and small breweries to learn, practice, and network. Not surprising as the principal owners, Allison and Bobby Fleshman, have both served as professors at Lawrence University in Appleton.

The phenomenon has even made it’s way to Door County, where local brands and businesses often struggle to focus on the localized community in favor of thick-wallet-wielding-tourists. Underneath Sonny’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria is the early stages of Bridge Up Brewing Company. Head brewer Trent Snyder told me, “We want to be a neighborhood brewery where you can come in, talk to the head brewer, and learn about what you’re drinking.” The taproom is beginning construction in 2020. Not even open yet, Snyder wants the approach to be, “ego-less.” Their website even says it’s a craft brewery, “for the people of Door County.” Their beer can currently only be found at the bar inside Sonny’s .

It seems history has come full circle. A brewery in nearly each neighborhood used to be the situation in 1870, there were 11 breweries in Winnebago County, six in Oshkosh alone. There are currently 4(ish) breweries in Oshkosh. Maybe the neighborhood breweries don’t have as many neighborhoods covered as they did 150 years ago, but the movement has the same energy. To really bring the historical comparison together, Reiherzer explains that even “growlers,” those glass bottles you thought only hipsters and your hip, beer-fanatic uncle Mike purchase, emerged as a trend at the 1800s neighborhood breweries. He says, “People who lived nearby the brewery would often come in and have “growlers” (essentially a bucket) filled with beer to take home with them.”

I guess people never change. Wisconsin still loves beer, and we can still get it by the bucket right from the people who fermented it. I recommend checking out the neighborhood breweries around Northeast Wisconsin. One thing that has changed in the past 150 years is our ability to travel to these local breweries very quickly. Where is your favorite brewery? Do you think that what we’re seeing is the same pattern of the neighborhood breweries of the mid 1800s? Let me know in the comments.

NEW Albums & Songs from Northeast Wisconsin: 2019 Music Roundup

New music from Northeast Wisconsin blog graphic

The local music scene is on the rise in Northeast Wisconsin. Many attribute this to the growth of large music based events for original music like Mile of Music. It seems like the roots of a music scene already existed, and have now been getting the attention necessary to grow. Cory Chisel, co founder of Mile of Music even said in an interview back in 2014 that Mile of Music was building on what is here, “which is a great local music scene.” As the scene grows and adds new talent, we’ve decided we’d find 2019’s NEW music and deliver it to your phone. Also, there’s a Wisconsin Original playlist already put together on Spotify.

Albums and Eps

7000Apart: [Debut Album] We Are More

7000Apart is a Green Bay based duo and husband and wife. The couple met at Bay Port high school in music theory class where Amelie was a foreign exchange student from Sweden. The couple started 7000Apart as a YouTube project to stay together, and really launched their music career this year with their debut album “We Are More.” It’s a 10 song album and the most popular song Blank Check has over 32,000 streams on Spotify. The duo has over 1,200 monthly listeners on Spotify, and they’ve been touring in Wisconsin, Europe, and with a St Luis based duo around the Midwest.

See 7000 Apart playing two songs from their debut album live on the Fox River in Green Bay from their Sailboat Session video we recorded with them below.

Christopher Gold: [Ep] Wilderness Years

Christopher Gold is a Kentucky born musician who has lived and performed in Appleton for over a decade. Gold’s Ep is a short, folky set of 4songs. The most storytelling-centric song being “Plane Crash Dream Song.” Gold also released a string of 17 singles on Spotify in 2019 under his group’s account “Christopher Hold & the New Old Things.”

See Christopher Gold playing two of his songs live on the Fox River in Green Bay from his Sailboat Session video we recorded with him below.

Genevieve Heyward: [Ep] The River

From Door County, Heyward released a 5 Song Ep titled the “The River.”

“The River” is the Eps Title Track and opening track. Heyward just got back from a tour in Norway and Sweden, which is interesting because 7000Apart’s Amelie is from Sweden. Maybe Wisconsin is more connected to Sweden than we think?

Substyle: [Ep] Letters

Wausau based Substyle is releasing an Ep titled “Letters” on December 14th. At this point we kind of have to leave it at that. Don’t miss it.


Kyle Megna: Taking You Back

Megna has been recording for the better part of a decade. He’s produced 12 albums in his career. The Kaukauna born artist just opened up a craft cocktail lounge in his hometown called 313 Dodge. He also released a single titled “Taking You Back.”

See it live on the Fox River below.

Tae: I’m Through

A Green Bay native, now living in Ripon. Tae has been making waves as an up and comer playing tons of live shows, and now there’s rumors she’s ready to release an album. Currently she has released a single “I’m Through.”

Franki Moscato: Aware

Oshkosh native, Franki Moscato was on the most recent season of American Idol and made it to Hollywood. This year she’s release two singles, “Aware” and “Tightrope.”

Dead Horses

Originating in Oshkosh, Dead Horses is possibly the most successful active group to come out of Northeast Wisconsin in terms of listens, views, and numbers in general. They’re now based in Milwaukee, and we’re still proud of them. Dead Horses released 3 singles in 2019. Their most recent is “Birds Can Write the Chorus.” The other two are titled “Family Tapes” and “Mighty Storm.”

Unity the Band – House is on Fire

Unity the Band is very active in Northeast Wisconsin. They’ve been together and around playing in the region for years. They currently play big and small shows all around. They just released their first single in a while, (at least on Spotify in a while,) called House is on Fire. Unity the Band has a fun, Reggae style.

Honorable Mentions

Feed The Dog: Tenderloin [2018 Album]

Feed the Dog is currently on fire in Northeast Wisconsin. With a very strong fan base, and consistently fantastic performances, Feed the Dog is currently working on another album completely self funded.

Horace Greene: The Diamond Engine [2018 Album]

Horace Greene originated in Oshkosh, and have garnered a good online following through Spotify. They currently have 1,800 monthly listeners, and their most popular single “Sunflower Silo” earned 44,000+ streams on Spotify. Horace Greene regularly plays around the Fox Valley.

Dead Horses: My Mother the Moon [2018 Album]

Released last year, My Mother the Moon is a 10 Song album with leading track “Turntable” garnering 18 million streams on Spotify.

The Wisconsin Original Playlist

Band members of Horace Greene have spent the time to curate the best music from original artists all across Wisconsin on a Spotify playlist here. You should follow the playlist, and stumble upon more creators across our great state.


It’s been amazing to see the original music scene grow in Northeast Wisconsin. Local businesses and event promoters have been extremely supportive to artists who are successfully making a living in the area. Events like Mile of Music, Oshkosh Main Street Music Festival, Rhythm & Brews, Steele Bridge Fest, and even Bazaar After Dark have been great systematic ways to bring local music to a new level. Here are some of Northeast Wisconsin’s new music in 2019. We hope you’re able to explore some of the artists, and find some tunes that you like. Did we miss any music? Let us know in the comments.

9 Awesome Nov 2019 Events in Northeast Wisconsin

November is a rollercoaster of a month. It’s cold outside, but tolerable. We turn our clocks back and say goodbye to the sunshine we love so much. It kicks off the holiday season, but you’ll never really know what holiday each retail store will be preparing for. We celebrate Thanksgiving by eating way more food than we need to (not complaining!) and then we stay up all night to buy another TV we likely don’t need. But hey, a deal’s a deal. Here at Venture Wisconsin we are bringing you a round up of all the unique things to do in the Fox Cities during the month of November – get out there and enjoy!


When? November 9, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Where? Aurora’s Apothecary in Appleton

Cost? Dependent on what you make

Have you been eyeing up Pinterest all year, hoping to be a DIY queen by the time the holidays around? Try out your skills with custom body products and home sprays through the one and only, Aurora at Aurora’s Apothecary. You will be able to make anything from perfume, lotions, massage oils and so much more. Think about it, you could potentially get all of your stocking stuffers done in one day! Worth it.


When? November 9th, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Where? Fifth Ward Brewing Company in Oshkosh

Cost? FREE admission

A heated tent, local Oshkosh, WI beer, food trucks and music. What more could you actually ask for? Celebrate Fifth Ward’s two year anniversary by doing what no two year old should ever do – drinking beer!


When? Sunday November 10th, 1:30 PM

Where? Player 2 Arcade Bar, Appleton

Cost? $5 Admission

As if we really need another reason to be a child at heart, right? Well, now you can play your favorite video games with a cocktail in hand at Player 2. Players are encouraged to bring their own Switch, Switch Controller, Gamecube Adapter or Gamecube controller. The $5 entry buy – in will go into a prize pool where the top three players will split the earnings in a 60 – 30 – 10 basis. This tournament will be single matches in a double elimination bracket. Come on out and show your competition what you’re made of!


When? Tuesday November 12, 2019 at 8:00 PM

Where? Bazil’s Pub, Appleton

Cost? FREE

We all know Wisconsin has some amazing beer to offer. And no, that’s not a typo… the beer tastings are free! Head over to Bazil’s to hear Chris from Ale Asylum Brewery talk about new and current beers offered by Ale Asylum. Are you really going to turn down the classic “Keep ‘er Movin’ Light Lager”? I didn’t think so.


When? November 14, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Where? Downtown Oshkosh   

Cost? FREE

Kick off the holiday season nice and early in Oshkosh! Get into the spirit with music in Opera Square starting at 5 PM. The tree lighting ceremony will be at 6 PM, and the parade will promptly begin at 6:15 PM. Get yourself a cup of your favorite local hot chocolate and enjoy this beautiful event in the community!


When? November 14 – 17, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Where? Backstage at Mayer Theatre in Green Bay


This is a dinner format theatre show. How neat is that! You have some awesome dinner options to go along with this classic hit show. Let Me Be Frank Productions puts on some amazing must see shows – you don’t want to miss out!


When? November 16, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Where? Mr Brews Taphouse in Appleton

Cost? Varied

What is it with us reverting to our childhood with a beer in hand? Actually, who cares. Moral of the story is that yes, you read that correctly. Wear your pajamas to Mr Brews on November 16th and you will even get $1 off of your flight. Your beer isn’t just paired with some old television classics, but also with some amazing doughnuts from Hill Top Bakery.


When? November 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM

Where? 44 W Sixth Avenue, Oshkosh

Cost? FREE admission

Alright Oshkosh, another good spot to add to your list of lunch venues to suggest to the coworkers. Join Greene’s as they excitedly debut their second location in Northeast Wisconsin. After the ribbon cutting, enjoy some amazing lunch. It will be hard to turn it down!


When? November 26, 2019 at 7:00 PM

Where? College Avenue

Cost? FREE

A holiday classic! You will really be in the holiday spirit when you check out the 49th Annual Christmas Parade. They anticipate the parade to have about 80 units in it, which is pretty impressive.

We were a little late getting the events blog out this month. There’s always something to do around Northeast Wisconsin! Do you have any floats you look forward to seeing yearly? Let us know in the comments!

10 Professional Art Classes for every age in the Fox Valley: September 2019

The art scene in the Fox Valley is booming the last few years, and we noticed a lot of cool opportunities for you, dates, lovers, friends, and kids to learn different skills.

Step 1: Basic Hand Lettering Class – Preparation for Calligraphy

When? September 6th

Where? Letter Create

A prerequisite for all Letter Create Workshops is the Basics Hand Lettering Class.

This class translates into all forms of writing techniques including brush lettering, calligraphy, modern flourish script, paint lettering, to name a few.  It is a pencil and paper penmanship class. They recommend you take a Step 2 class if you would like to learn calligraphy, brush lettering, or flourish calligraphy.
Tickets/Sign Up

Hand Lettering

Water & Skies Landscapes Watercolor Class

When? September 11

Where? : Mud & Prints

Channel your inner Bob Ross OR your inner Lee Mothes!

This is a three week class and you meet two hours each Wednesday to really develop your skills over time. Wednesday September 11th, 18th, and 25th from 6pm-8pm.

Classes are beginner friendly (ages 10+)

Tickets/Sign Up

Immersive Painting Class: “Critters” (Ages 12+)

When? Sept 12

Where? Mud & Prints

An immersive painting class led by Terri Einer. Fun for all ages & skill levels. Bring a picture of a critter to life! They call it their “Critter Class”

Bring a friend and master your skills. No experience is necessary. Learn about loose, spontaneous styles as you discover your own artistic voice. September 12th from 6pm to 9pm. $45/person entry fee.

Tickets/Sign Up

Terri Einer “Critter” example from a past class.

Dot Art Class

When? September 14

Where? The Rustic Burrow

The cost is $40.00 per person and includes a 12×12 stained project board, all paint and supplies and a light snack.

    Your choice of 6 different designs:

  • Elephant
  • Heart
  • Paw
  • Wisconsin
  • Dragonfly
  • Butterfly

Tickets/Sign Up

Functional Hand-building Workshop

When? September 14

Where? Mud & Prints

Learn basic hand-building techniques to make plates, cups, and vases. Hosted by local artist Samuel Thompson.

Tickets/Sign Up

Clay Animation (Ages 11 – 14)

When? September 18

Where? Trout Museum

Participants are in charge of every step of making a claymation. Develop a story, create clay characters, build set design, select music, and learn the basics of video movement in this fun beginner class. Students will have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials as they plan, produce, and assemble their videos. Working in teams of 2-3, students will use a stop motion app on an iPad to record their clay animations.

Tickets/Sign Up

Collage And Print Class (Ages 12+)

When? September 18

Where? Mud & Prints

Learn to incorporate layers into your art with a printmaking collage class hosted by Mel Kolstad.

Only $40, materials included. Ages 12+

Tickets/Sign Up

Multi-Arts Studio (Ages 8 – 11)

When? September 18

Where? Trout Museum

This after school class is a crash course in all things art! Painting, drawing, ceramics, printmaking, and more! Repeat students welcome!

Every Wednesday until November 6th.


DIY Rug Making Class

Where? Letter Create

When? September 22

Make your own rug in this workshop.  You can bring additional fabric (any type) to this workshop to create a more interesting depth to your rug.  We will have a limited variety of fabrics to choose from. Cotton is the best fabric to use. T-shirts make a great option as well.

Everyone will go home with a 2×3 foot rug.  If you do not finish your rug during the workshop you will take home the instructions and be able to finish your rug at home. 

Tickets/Sign Up

Time to get creative! Have fun. We hope this inspires a few people to make the leap, and try their skills.

The 3 Best Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants in 4 NE Wisconsin Cities

I’m going to go ahead and start this with my definition of a “Hole-in-the-Wall” restaurant. To me, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a place that is small with limited or no indoor seating. Typically a place where something about the restaurant is deceiving, AKA the food surpasses the expectations set by a usually lack-luster interior or exterior. A hole-in-the-wall to me has an infamous character, a place where not everyone within a 5 mile radius eats there, but everyone in a 5 mile radius HAS eaten there. Places that are either simply great quality, passionately patronized by droves of regulars, or carry a special history or reputation when discussed in conversation. I hope this list finds you well, and gives you a few spots to go next time you and you’re friends are on the road in an unfamiliar area, or you and your partner need a new spot in town to check out.

Green Bay

Al’s Hamburger Shop

Address: 131 S Washington St, Green Bay, WI 54301

Al’s is a Green Bay classic. In the heart of Downtown Green Bay and a few doors down from the Meyer Theater, Al’s has been serving up classic American fast food since 1934! That’s older than McDonald’s (Est. 1940)

Joe’s Texas BBQ

Address: 1800 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304

A quaint and long established eatery, Joe’s recently moved locations to be closer to Lambeau Field. They serve classic barbeque that surpasses the expectations of their small shop.

Taqueria Don Pancho

Address: 1807 N Irwin Ave, Green Bay, WI 54302

This “Hole in the Wall” is such a hidden gem, we haven’t heard from them online since 2016. Taqueria has very high reviews for their authentic Mexican Cuisine at very fair prices. Don’t be scared off by the exterior, the food gets high marks from their customers.


Basil Cafe

Address: 1513 N Richmond St, Appleton, WI 54911

Basil Café is on the line as a “Hole-in-the-Wall” The location isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to accommodate, but the exterior makes the real deal feel like a mirage. From the outside, Basil appears to be basic, but once you step foot inside, you’re transported into another world! The food lives up to the expectation set by the interior. Highly regarded in the Appleton community.

Home Burger Bar

Address: 205 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54911

Home Burger Bar is reminiscent of comfortable, delicious burger bars in larger cities like Madison and Milwaukee. Tucked in on College Ave Downtown Appleton, Home Burger Bar is clean, quirky, and delivers on their name sake, their burgers.

Mai’s Deli

Address: 104 S Memorial Dr, Appleton, WI 54911

Mai’s Deli is an awesome food shop with an awesome history. For years local immigrants sold their stuffed chicken wings essentially egg rolls but instead of the roll, the insides are stuffed into a chicken wing. Eventually, the family opened Mai’s Deli, and they’ve been consistently packed ever since. Very small, quaint location on the corner of College Ave and Memorial Drive. Mai’s Deli is a great spot for a tasty bite.


Pete’s Garage

Address: 1514 Oregon St. Oshkosh WI

Pete’s has become somewhat of an unstoppable force in Oshkosh. The place barely has a chance to breath it’s often packed with warm faces, and happy customers.

Co-Owner Ryan at a Halloween event.


Address: 121 W Murdock Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54901

Leon’s covers the Northside of Oshkosh for it’s tasty fast food, and amazing custard needs. In fact, a custard machine from Leon’s was purchased by the Culver family for their first location. I don’t have a source for this, but I heard Craig Culver say this to the owner of Leon’s at an entrepreneurship event at UW Oshkosh (Craig Culver’s alma mater).

Ardy & Ed’s

Address: 2413 S Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54902

Ardy & Ed’s on the flip side, covers the Southside of Oshkosh’s needs. Ardy and Ed’s still has car hops on roller skates that serve their customers.


Shulz’s Restaurant

Address: 1644 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Shulz’s has been around for DECADES! A truly classic American dining experience, and something that you have to see for yourself.

Chester’s Drive-In

Address: 1504 Eastern Ave, Plymouth, WI 53073

Not exactly in Sheboygan, Chester’s is a classic drive in with delicious American fast food and ice cream. The drive-in is over 40 years old.

Harry’s Diner

Address: 2504 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan

Harry’s Diner is a 1950 style diner open for breakfast and lunch. If you’re looking for a unique, quaint spot for breakfast in Sheboygan, Harry’s is a great place to start.

Honorable Mentions

The Booyah Shed – Green Bay

Mr. Taco – Downtown – Appleton

My Lee’s Egg Roll House – Appleton

Rhapsodies – Oshkosh


Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are interesting because they are always changing. For example, Joe’s Texas BBQ, just moved locations. Plus, sometimes new joints emerge or old ones lose their consistency. As Venture Wisconsin grow, and we learn more about Northeast Wisconsin, we will share the knowledge with you! What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall? Do you agree with our definition? Let me know in the comments.

14 Off-the-Beaten-Path Wineries in Northeast Wisconsin

There’s over 25 wineries in Northeast Wisconsin! No surprise… We wanted to bring you some of the wineries that aren’t Downtown or right off a major route. These are the wineries that are tucked into the woods a little bit.

1. Stone’s Throw Winery – Bailey’s Harbor

3382 County Rd. E, Baileys Harbor

Photo Credit: Door County Today

2. Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery – Sturgeon Bay

5896 Bochek Road, Sturgeon Bay

3. Harbor Ridge Winery – Egg Harbor

4690 Rainbow Ridge Ct, Egg Harbor

4. Forgotten Fire Winery – Marinette

N2393 Schacht Road, Marinette

Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin

5. Duck Creek Vineyard & Winery – Denmark

5046 County Rd R, Denmark

6. Cold Country Vines & Wines – Kewaunee

E3207 Nuclear Road, Kewaunee

7. Trout Springs Winery – Greenleaf

8150 River Road, Greenleaf

Photo Credit: Trout Springs Winery

8. Rushford Meadery & Winery – Omro

8389 Liberty School Rd, Omro

Photo Credit: All Events

9. Armstrong Apples, Orchard & Winery – Campbellsport

W853 County Road B, Campbellsport

Photo Credit: FDL Reporter

10. Woodland Trail & Winery – Lakewood

17153 Big Hill Rd, Lakewood

11. Silarian Winery – Reedsville

11715 Hilltop Road, Cato

12. Wild Hare Winery – Reedsville

11807 Hilltop Rd, Reedsville

13. Vines & Rushes Winery – Ripon

410 County Rd E, Ripon

14. The Blind Horse Winery – Kohler

6018 Superior Ave, Kohler

Photo Credit: Sheboygan Press

So what do you think? Are you surprised at how many local wine spots you’ve missed? Have you been to a few of these? What’s your favorite? Let us know if the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About EAA Air Venture

EAA Air Venture just celebrated it’s 50th year in Oshkosh, and the EAA brand and their flagship week long event have become an international brand that’s put Oshkosh on the map on a level akin to Oshkosh B’gosh. We’ve been hearing a lot recently about the massive economic impact of the event on Northeast Wisconsin. We’ve been watching the online word of mouth for the event build, and we’ve learned some things about EAA Air Venture you may not have known.

1. In July, outside of Wisconsin, the word “Oshkosh” literally means, “EAA Air Venture”

The event, and it’s seemingly obscure location in our amazing, quaint city of Oshkosh, has become a nickname for the event itself. Many people from around the country and around the world who have been coming to the event for a few years Tweet things like., “Oshkosh starts today.” People in their lives know this to mean, they are headed to EAA Air Venture

There were Tweets of people quoting their dads referring to EAA Air Venture as simply “Oshkosh.” If you say “I’m headed to Oshkosh” in any state that isn’t Wisconsin, and July is near, you can assume they’re going to EAA Air Venture.

Tweets about the 2019 event from around the world.

2. It’s the most attended aviation event in the world

EAA Air Venture has consistently brought in more than 500,000 visitors over the past few years. What makes EAA so popular? The event brings together programming and excitement for all ages and all aviation stripes. Since EAA is Experimental Aircraft Association, they bring in everything from commercial aviation, to historical, drones, model airplanes, personal aircraft, and even home built air craft.

EAA 2015. Credit: Wikipedia

3. The event started as a “fly-in” in Milwaukee

Although 2019 marked 50 years of the Air Venture event which came to Oshkosh in 1969, the event was seeded in Milwaukee in 1953, and it was called “EAA fly-in”. The event even moved to Illinois before settling in Oshkosh (I know… It hurts.)

A welcome sign at EAA. Credit:

4. The fly-in manual before landing is 30 pages

Know as a NOTAM or Notice to Airman, the manual to read before flying in to Wittman Regional Airport is 30 pages long. They are landing over 10,000 aircraft over the span of the one week event, causing the air traffic control tower to be known as the “busiest in the world”.

A feature volunteer at EAA. Credit:

5. The event attracts aviation loving celebrities

This year, 2019, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins was a speaker at the event. Other aviation loving celebrities such as Harrison Ford have made stops into Oshkosh for Air Venture in the past.

Harrison Ford. Credit: Celebrity Diagnosis

6. Thousands of volunteers make the event happen

In 2018, there were over 5,000 volunteers. The event regularly uses more than 4,000 volunteers to make the show happen.

The air traffic control tower at EAA. Credit:

These are some interesting things we found in our research! EAA Air Venture’s 50th year was an amazing show as always. A bonus, more commonly known Air Venture fact is the economic impact of the event, over $100,000,000 in Northeast Wisconsin. What was the most surprising fact to you? Did I miss any?

New Social Animation App. Raises $600k in Combined Locks, WI

Dodles App in Action. With Mario animation

Big Tech in Small Town Wisconsin

(Note: Full video interview with Dodles founder here.)

Imagine you have a crazy experience with a stranger at the grocery store. You want to tell people, but you need to show them. Do you go tell the story to your mom? Maybe your three best friends in person? What if you could quickly make your story into a cartoon, and share it to the world?

Dodles wants you to make your story into an engaging animation, and share it with your friends, all on your phone. The app was conceived by Craig Doriot with money from one of his past startups, an online mortgage engine.

Dodles sign inside the Combined Locks Headquarters. A refurbished church.

When you think about social media startups, you probably think of Silicon Valley. So what about Combined Locks, WI, a small village on the Fox River outside of Appleton? A few months ago Dodles, a mobile social animation app, closed on a $600,000 round of fundraising, and have launched the beta version of the app in smaller markets around the world.

The app is meant to bring animation to a broader audience. Just in time considering the constant rise in video content online. YouTube alone says 1 billion hours of video are consumed each day on their platform alone.

Dodles And Autism

Dodles also intends their product to be useful in engaging autistic users. Playing to their strengths by allowing them to express themselves through technologies, and also giving them an opportunity to make money on the app if they are creative enough. Doriot says that some members of the Dodles team, including himself, are on the autism spectrum.

“Traditionally we’ve had a hard time with gainful employment because of being on the spectrum usually presents a number of interpersonal challenges that employers have a hard time with.”

A senior developer at Dodles.

According to, people with autism, “are often disadvantaged when it comes to getting and keeping a job because of difficulties with social communication and interaction, other people’s lack of understanding, and sensory issues.” Dodles is a tool that works well with this group’s strengths and weaknesses.

Funding Dodles

It is unusual for Northeast Wisconsin to see this type of startup outside of Green Bay or the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dodles continues picking up steam. They just finished their third round of funding, picking up $600,000. Doriot initially invested two million dollars of his own capital into Dodles. He says of Northeast Wisconsin, “I believe you can build a good technology company here. As well as you can build it in any other place.”

Dodles app in action.

Cost of living was cited as a benefit to starting a tech company here in Wisconsin, along with other factors. The company has launched the app in beta in secondary markets around the world.

Writer’s Thoughts

The prospect of a well executed app that can deliver on making animation accessible to a broader audience on your phone is very promising. I hope that Dodles acts as an example to local tech companies in Northeast Wisconsin. Showing the region and other entrepreneurs and investors what’s possible. I highly recommend you watch the full interview here! What are your thoughts on Dodles? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!

Outdoor Spotlight: 1000 Islands Nature Center

1000 Islands is an awesome nature spot in the Fox Cities. Located right off of downtown Kaukauna, you can find 7.2 miles of hiking trails. Including 1 mile of trails along the Fox River!

1000 Islands shoreline fox river picture
The Fox River at 1000 Islands. Source:

The land is set aside for the public to enjoy. According to the Conservancy, the land is set aside, “with the idea of teaching good conservation practices and preservation of natural resources.” We at Venture Wisconsin support this sentiment! Our goal is to show you that awesome places like this exist, and to convince you that they are worth visiting!

Activities: Hiking, sight seeing, wildlife viewing, classes, snow shoeing, fishing, canoeing, and any classic outdoor activities (frisbee, catch, picnics, etc.) are welcome. If you’re running out of ideas of outdoor activities, we made you a list of a few!

What else? There is an amazing nature center, full of awesome displays and information about our local natural history, and other cool things!

1000 Islands Nature Center
Inside 1000 Islands Nature Center.

1000 Islands is open year round, and unfortunately, no pets allowed. Seriously though! Go visit! Leave yourself some time to hike. It’s worth it. What’s your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Looking for something more?? Something you didn’t already know?! We did our first Neature Feature episode at 1000 Islands! Oh, also, they rent different items to enjoy the outdoors in a new way!

Check out our Neature Feature episode below on 1000 Islands. (Recorded February 2018)

“There is nothing to do around here!” Many people, mostly young people, complain of the Fox Cities. At Venture Wisconsin we’re taking it upon ourselves to lay out all the awesome things to do, as well as create awesome things to do across Northeast Wisconsin. This is why we spotlight outdoor areas to explore via our Neature Feature series, and our Instagram account.

11 September Events in the Fox Cities You Don’t Want to Miss

Blog Image Events in the Fox Cities - September 2018

Maybe you have kids, they’re now back to school, and the family is back into the comfortable groove of daily routine. Fall is near, and the crisp smell and feeling of winter looming. Thoughts of family and fresh dinner rolls loom in your mind. Maybe you don’t have kids, maybe you are going to school, college or high school. You’re back, the excitement of friends and a new chapter surround your daily life. EVEN if you have no kids in your life in any form, maybe you’re a young professional, a retired soul, or you just take life easy, September is a time of change. Event though September’s rain and temperatures are unpredictable, there are still events and opportunities for fun and community for all types of people, especially you! Which is why we made this list, to make sure you at least know what you’re potentially missing out on.

Seafood Fest – Friday & Saturday September 7th & 8th

Take the wildly successful, monthly Fox Valley Food Truck Rally that happens all summer at Jefferson Park in Menasha, and add two days of live music and lobster and salmon dinners from 4pm-9pm! If you love music and seafood by the water, this event may be for you!

Eve of Destruction – Friday September 7th

At the Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna is the annual Eve of Destruction event. From 7pm-10pm, you can expect a monster truck show and rides, extreme freestyle motocross, figure 8 racing, two man crew racing, pyrotechnics, and fireworks. $12/person entry. Expect an intense night of family fun! More details here.

Eve of Destruction 2017
2017 Eve of Destruction. Credit: Instagram @mayrae009

Green Bay & Oshkosh: Summer Send-Off Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl – Friday September 7th & 8th

Looking for a fun way to celebrate the end of summer with your friends? Venture Wisconsin has scavenger hunt bar crawl events in Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Appleton on September 7th, 8th, and 14th respectively. These events line up with the syllabus week for each city’s university. The goal is to welcome the students to join the community over some beers. Sponsored by Fox River Brewing, the events include drink deals and activities at each bar, and a photo scavenger hunt with prizes for the winning teams. $16 to register ahead or $20 to register at the door for each event if you wait until the last minute. Register by purchasing a shirt for your city at this link.

Bazaar After Dark Night Market – Menasha – Wednesday September 12th

The popular Bazaar After Dark series is taking place in Downtown Menasha for their final event of 2018! Don’t miss your last chance to join this night market and see what the buzz is about. You can expect a food truck rally (16+ trucks), crafts, food, and more!

Bazaar After Dark
Bazaar After Dark. Source: Fox Cities Magazine

Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too – Thursday September 13th

This is a fundraising event at the NEW Zoo in Green Bay. From 5:30pm to 8:30pm there will be 70 different craft brews, wines, and non-alcoholic drinks to sample while raising money for conservation. Unlimited tasting, $35 to participate. Buy tickets here!

Appleton Summer Send-Off Scavenger Hunt & Bar Crawl – Friday September 14th

Celebrate the end of summer, join us for drinks, games, Blu Bobber and a photo scavenger hunt. Just like the Oshkosh and Green Bay events, you purchase a shirt to register. In Appleton we have Player 2, D2, OB’s Brau Haus, The Bar, Jim’s Place, and Mill Creek. Activities include Bobbing for Blu Bobber, Bags, Flip Cup, N64, photo station, and Hammerschlagen, plus the scavenger hunt! Purchase your shirt here to register. $16 ahead of time, $20 at the event!

Oshkosh Biking Brewery Tour: Final Ride

A 14 mile bike loop around Oshkosh along all of the main water ways with three stops! Fox River Brewing Co, Fifth Ward Brewing, and Bare Bones Brewery. Ride with us or ride with your friends. Enjoy $1 off pints at Bare Bones and Fifth Ward, a logoed glass from Fox River Brewing, games, giveaways, and fun! Tickets are $15 and you get a mixed six pack of Oshkosh beer, two from each brewery. Buy your tickets in advance here. $20 at the event.

Biking Brewery Tour
Touring Oshkosh Local Breweries

1st Annual Harvest Fest – Sunday September 16th

Bluegrass music, new local draft beers, an art fair, and a new special harvest menu at The Source Public House in Menasha! Visit The Source and enjoy the food, drinks, and art. Free entry event.

Brews, Bistros & Bonfires – Friday September 21st

Taking place at the Green Bay Botanical Garden is a cozy night of local brewery samplings and local food while you enjoy The Ultimate Steele Dan Tribute Band, the glow of the fire, and the fall air. More details here.

Appleton’s Octoberfest (37th annual) – Saturday September 29th

Self proclaimed, “Appleton’s largest block party.” All profits go to community projects, charities, and events. 100+ food vendors and live music throughout College Ave. Free entry event.

Too White Crew at Appleton Octoberfest
Credit: Too White Crew

Barktoberfest (During Octoberfest) – Saturday September 29th

A free fun event for humans and their pups. There is costume contest. Categories include: Kids and Dogs, Most Original, and Best Theme. Trophies for “Best Trick for a Treat.” There will be dog beer, pretzels, and cigars. As well as “Yappy Hour” from 1pm-4pm. This event takes place at the DePawsitory in Appleton during Octoberfest!

Just because summer is turning into fall doesn’t mean there isn’t ample opportunity to have fun with your family, friends, and community! We hope you find an event that fits your schedule and peaks your interest. Please share this list with your friends, and let us know if we missed any events in the Fox Cities that your are excited for September 2018!