6 Fox Cities Valentines Day Dates that don’t suck.

Do you have a lady that drives you crazy? Do you have a mister that makes your love blister? If so, then you’re probably looking for something cute to do this Valentines Day. Everyone wants to dress up, feel good, and have a good night. If you are trying to throw a little variety in your life and want to steer clear of the traditional dinner and a movie then this post is for you. I compiled a list of great date ideas that you can do to impress your sweetie this V-Day. Conveniently, if you’re busy on Valentine’s Day, some of these are available at other times as well.

1) For those of us who don’t have someone…

Shred Your Ex (Free Drink)

Pictures shredding

I didn’t forget that some of us aren’t so lucky to be in blossoming relationships, so there’s a great event for all of us salty single people out there. At Gameday Sports Bar in Appleton they will be having their Shred Your Ex event. If you come in with a picture of your ex on the 14th they will shred it and you get a FREE DRINK. What says “single” better than a free vodka cranberry?

2) Chocolate Drunk – The Cocoa Crawl ($5)

The Cocoa Crawl is an affordable and cool (or should I say hot) event where you get to sample hot chocolate from over 15 local downtown businesses in Oshkosh. Walking downtown in the winter is always a good time, especially after a nice cup of hot chocolate. You can even purchase a mug courtesy of Fire Escape and 50% of the proceeds will go to Day By Day Warming Shelter. If you’re looking for a cheap, fun date the Cocoa Crawl is a good start. Make sure to get food after, you’ll be hungry from all that walking! The event will be held on February 10th and you can get your tickets here.

3) The Newlywed Game at Backlot Comedy House ($10)

My mom always used to watch a show called the Newlywed Game where couples would compete based on how well they knew each other. It’s a really funny game to watch, but it is even more fun to play. Backlot Comedy House is bringing their own Newlywed Game to downtown Oshkosh. The event is rated R so don’t expect a family friendly show at the comedy club. The winner will receive a gift that is only described as a “grando-super splendid gift that will outlast the test of time”, so I have a feeling that it is going to be good. The event is Feb. 10th at 9pm, and don’t forget you have to be 21 because there will be drinks!

The Newlywed Game Show

4) Valentines Day 3-Course Dinner Magic Show ($40/per person)

I have a bit of a bias for this event because it’s my own. I host a dinner show called Now Serving Magic, which is a 3-course dinner. Between each course every table gets to see one of the three professional magicians perform close up magic right at the table. There is also a host that performs for everyone at the beginning and at the end of the show. The night is full of laughter and amazement and there’s never a dull moment with the three magicians. I host these events at different venues and always have different performers to keep it fresh. This Dinner will be held at Paloma Modern Mexican; one of the newest restaurants in Oshkosh, known for it’s gourmet fusion tacos. The $40/per person ticket includes the 3 course meal and the entertainment. There is also packages that include a bottle of wine or flowers. You can see more about the dinner here, and you can buy tickets by clicking here.

RJs Magic Show
Now Serving Magic Details

5) Escape Artist – A Double Date.. For One Couple ($95/couple)

This is a double date, and by double date I mean two dates in one. You receive an hour escape room voucher for two at Escape Oshkosh, one project for each of you to paint at the Fire Escape, and a $10 voucher for food at an Oshkosh Restaurant. You essentially get 3 dates in one. You could take that $10 voucher and get two Wisconsin Dogs with bacon sauce at Hotdog Charlie’s. Trust me, its worth it. Tickets can be purchased online at FireEscapeArt.com/calendar, by phone at (920)420-0700, or in person at Fire Escape 423 N Main St.

Valentines Day Event in Oshkosh
Escape Artist Details

6) Who Doesn’t love baseball?- 4-Course Timberattlers Dinner ($160)

Who doesn’t love a good baseball game? For $160, you can get a private suite at a Timberattlers game, which includes chocolate covered strawberries! The night features a 4-course dinner and champagne and features everything you can think of. Everything from home made crostini and apple/pear compote to Bacon 6oz beef chateau with glace de poulet. You can even make it a double date. An intimate candlelit suite with America’s favorite pastime and bottomless Rosé, sounds like a great night! It will take place Feb. 10th and the 14th at 5pm, and you can Get Tickets Here!

Timber Rattlers 4 Course Dinner Event
T-Rats Dinner Details

There is no reason why you shouldn’t have a unique and memorable Valentine’s day date that doesn’t suck. Now go make some plans and buy some tickets before everyone realizes that valentines day is only two weeks away!

Storycatchers: A Movement Capturing the Fox Cities.

Do you recognize these lyrics? “Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet has an original point of view”. If you guessed the Arthur theme song, you deserve a pat on the back and high five! Yes, Arthur, the TV show. That is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me that everyone in the world knows something that you don’t, everyone has a story to tell, and an original point of view to share. It is author, community organizer, and story catcher Tara Pohlkotte’s Job to help YOU find these stories.

“So what is Storycatchers?”

Storycatchers is a nonprofit, story telling initiative in the Fox Cities run by Tara Pohlkotte. The mission of Storycatchers is to create community with shared storytelling through different mediums like recordings, teaching workshops, and her free live storytelling events which have been packing venues all over the Fox Cities.

The live storytelling events are Tara’s most popular and well known ways of engaging the community. I like to describe it as an adult storytelling open mic in different unique locations, like cafes, the library, museum or on stage. People come to hear unexpected everyday people tell extraordinary stories about their lives. Tara focuses on the storytelling, with a minimalist setup including a microphone and a music stand.

Storycatchers event and minimalist stage setup.

Tara told me. “I wanted to explore the idea of why stories have stayed around for so long and why they are so important. We tend to think of stories as something elementary, something for kids…But why is that? [It was] Then I started understanding the human need for that connection.”

These stories are not the same as the bedtime stories for kids. They are unfiltered and uncensored stories about real life. Which isn’t exactly the same as “story time” for kids. At the beginning Tara struggled with parents bringing their children to the events, especially at her first event entitled “Stories of Youth.” Here the storytellers told stories from their past (stories that may not have been the most kid-friendly). The live events are designed for a mature audience, an outlet for people who want to be heard and tell their stories.

“People ask me, ‘Can I bring my 14 year old?’ And I say, ‘It depends what kind of parent you are…These aren’t fables being told, and they aren’t everyday stories.'”

As we age more people reserve stories for children, but Tara wants to reinvent the term storytelling, and treat it as the art that it really is. However, that doesn’t mean that children aren’t allowed. Tara recounts a time where her youngest storyteller, Jonathan a brave 11-year-old told the story of his struggles with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and what that means to him at 11 years old. At that point Johnathan’s mother hadn’t told her family about Johnathan’s mental illness, but his bravery inspired her to share her own experiences battling mental illness in her life on the same stage. That event was a very powerful moment, and it accomplished Tara’s goal.

Storycatcher event.

“This is bigger than me or even the live events, this is about creating something for the community. It gives people of all ages and walks of life a chance to tell their stories.” Tara did have one last message for all of the story lovers in the Fox Cities.

“While the live events are entertaining and fun, we are just getting started unearthing the stories that we need to hear in our community… We are working on a project called ‘Voices from the Margins,’ where we are trying to identify underrepresented voice in the Fox Cities and I think our job is to hep them tell their own stories. Going and getting stories that may not come to us is what is really amazing. We may have to just sit and be quiet to listen to these stories and to find them, but they are more than worth the effort to find them.”

You can see Tara at her next 2 events, Storycatchers Live: Voices of Our Elder Caregiving Community on November 16th, and Storycatchers Live: Holidazed and Confused on December 8th. The events are free but donations are encouraged. Donations are vital for the nonprofit to keep thriving, so don’t hesitate to support the art!

Thank you for reading. Share this with that storyteller in your life! Maybe they’ll end up at the next event. RJ is a contributor writer at Venture Wisconsin. RJ is also a magician. Be sure to follow his Facebook page for his upcoming classes and events.


4 Perfect October Date Nights in the Fox Cities, 4 Different Budgets

Two people on a date

If you’re a romantic like me you are always thinking of the perfect date night with that special someone (especially if you are single). In the 1950s, the perfect date was going to a drive-in burger joint and then finishing the night with a movie. But in 2017, we are constantly bombarded with new and exciting things to do Everything from escape rooms and magic shows to scavenger hunts and boozy bike tours. There are endless things to do in the Fox Cities that would make great unique date ideas, so I’ve sifted through all of October’s events to bring you the top three date night ideas that would impress anyone. The best part is that they range from FREE to Fancy, so there’s no excuse for you to not go to at least one of these awesome events!

1. No Money? No Problem! – Total Cost, Free!

The secret to planning a great free date is to make it something you would pay for. The University Of Wisconsin Oshkosh will be hosting Cycropia Arial Dance for a free performance at the Horizon Ampitheater .


“Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Cycropia combines modern dance, athleticism, and the magic of defying gravity in their dynamic performances. The aerial dance troupe performs in fantastical costumes using single-point trapeze, bungee, lyra, and aerial fabric suspended from a custom steel apparatus.”

Combining circus performance, dance, and a little illusion, the Cycropia Arial Dance performance is free to the public and a great date that will make a memory you can talk about forever. Make sure to pick up some food in Downtown Oshkosh before you go!

2. Gator Bites and Comedy – Total Cost, $20/Person

The traditional dinner date is overdone. The concept of dinner and a movie is a cliche. Also, the point of a date is to get to know someone, and the point of a movie is to sit quietly for two hours. The solution? An interactive show at Skyline Comedy Cafe. Skyline features incredible “as seen on TV”  comics every weekend for only $15/ticket. Skyline is the best comedy club in the Fox Cities and for a good reason, they bring in the best professional touring comedians. Plus, laughter is a great way to break the ice on a first date! If you happen to get hungry because of all the laughter you can pop downstairs to Stone Arch Brew Pub, (one of the best restaurants in the Fox Cities,) and enjoy their delicious alligator bites.

3. Pop Up to a dinner date- Total Cost,  $35/Person

This date is for the foodies that don’t want to spend a ton of money on great food. Popupfoxcities is an affordable (typically) 5-course dinner. Every dinner is in a different location in the Fox Cities! Sometimes places that aren’t even meant to serve food, and that’s what makes them so unique. The catch? There are open tables and no private seating. This might put some people on edge, but it is actually a very cool experience. It forces you to talk to other people around you, make friends, and have a better time being social.

Whether the dinner is in a rustic cafe, a garden, or a museum the food is always absolutely delicious. I had the pleasure of going to a 5-course meal hosted by Timshell Cafe in Neenah. It was only $35 and it was by far the best food I have ever had the pleasure of eating, and I am a self-proclaimed foodie.  From rich slow-cooked pork marinated in coffee (the best thing I have ever put in my mouth), to creamy au gratin sweet potatoes, to bone marrow butter on fresh hot pita bread and even coo sweet goat’s milk ice cream for dessert. Chef Tracy Darling leaves you stuffed and happy, and the food just keeps coming. Besides being in a different unique location every time, Popup Fox Cities has different themes for each event. There has been a comedy dinner show, a vegan dinner, a vegetarian dinner, featured poetry, and I have even worked with the company to produce a dinner magic show. I cannot recommend this dinner enough especially if you are the traditional dinner date type. Try something new, I promise it will be all you can talk about for weeks.

3. Fancy Formal Night Out– Total Cost, $150/Person

I am personally going to this event and am super excited. This unique, fun, and food filled event will impress anyone who goes. “So You Think You Can Cook” is a fundraiser for the Children’s Museum of GreenBay like you’ve never seen.

So You Think You Can Cook

“Over the course of the night, our amateur chefs will compete for three awards, “Raise The Most Dough,” “People’s Choice,” and the “Master Chef” award. Guests will have ample opportunity to sample the competing chefs’ creations and cast their vote toward the “People’s Choice” award. Other offerings include professional hors-d’oeuvres from, a cash bar and wine wall, live music from local musicians, and a silent auction!”

If you like eating delicious food; being stuffed with strolling hors-d’oeuvres, wine, music, dancing; and charity, this event is going to be one of the best events of the year. It is the perfect formal night out, and the best part… It’s for a great cause!

About the Author

Venture Wisconsin is proud to announce that this is our first contributor post. Written by Rajon Lynch. RJ is a student at UW Oshkosh,  a young entrepreneur, and professional magician. He spends his free time planning magic based events, teaching magic classes, and finding things to in the Fox Cities. Check out his Facebook page to find his upcoming events. RJ the Magician will be writing more blogs with us in the future!