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Venetian Fest arrives in time to save summer



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August 12, 2014 | 04:05 PM
The Fourth of July is a dim memory, the State Fair is over, the dog days are here.

Things gonna be dull?

Not in Lake Geneva. Venetian Festival is here Aug. 13 to 17.

That means music, a craft fair, a water ski show and, as the grand finale, a parade of lighted boats and fireworks.

This is the 52nd straight year Venetian Fest has been sponsored by the Lake Geneva Jaycees.

Festivities run from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Friday and from noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday at Flat Iron, Seminary and Library parks.

All shows are in the Jaycees Entertainment Pavilion beer tent.

You must be 21 to enter. IDs are checked at the door.

• Wednesday’s opening night entertainment is Bella Cain, a top 40 country band, that will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight. Cover charge is $5 at the door.

• Thursday from 8 p.m. to midnight is retro night with Cherry Pie, with music from the 1980s, days of big hair, fog machines, explosions and tight-fitting clothes.

Cover charge is $5 at the door.

• Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight brings The Toys, voted number one party rock band in the Midwest for the third year in a row. Cover charge is $5 at the door.

• Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. features the Fresh Hops Band, with originals and fresh takes on old favorites, this band mixes soul, bluegrass, classical, metal and progressive jam rock. And no cover charge.

Also Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., a Baggo Tournament.

The music continues from 8 p.m. to midnight with Too White Crew, a tribute to the golden age of hip hop, with all-live music (no tracks.)

Cover charge is $5 at the door.

Sunday features the Lake Geneva House of Music from noon to 3 p.m.

No cover charge.

Also on Sunday, Megan Ruger from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Ruger is a Wisconsin native and Badger High School graduate, who by age 16, was opening for acts such as ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Darryl Worley and Rascal Flatts. Most recently she was on this season of The Voice. Ruger is a regular Nashville performer, having shared the stage with musicians from bands such as Kellie Pickler, Lorrie Morgan and Gavin Degraw.

Cover charge $5 at, where else, the door.

The Venetian Festival Beer Tent will be open Wednesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to midnight.

Money is no good at the beer tent. Only tokens can be used. Tokens are available in the beer tent.

Venetian Fest also features a craft fair at Library Park with 110 exhibitors.

The fair runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

It wouldn’t be Venetian Festival without a bratwurst stand.

The stand will be in Library Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 10 p.m. Brats, soda, water, chips, pretzels and candy for sale.

The carnival is a central part of Venetian Fest and this year, Mr. Ed’s Magical Midways will run the rides and amusements throughout the festival in Flat Iron and Seminary parks.

Hours on Wednesday and Thursday are 5 to 10:30 p.m., from 5 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday from noon to 11:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10:30 p.m.

Ride specials include $20 wristbands on Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Wonder Lake Ski Team, sponsored by Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva, puts on its show starting 6 p.m. Sunday on the lake, of course, in front of Library Park and the Riviera.

The lighted boat parade, which gives Venetian Festival its name, starts at dusk on Geneva Lake right in front of Library Park and the Riviera. This year’s theme is Americana.

For more information call Harold Friestad at Gage Marine (262) 248.5642.

The final crowd pleaser and closing act for Venetian Festival is the fireworks, sponsored by the Jaycees, the city of Lake Geneva and individual fireworks sponsors.

Fireworks are launched from Geneva Bay and can be seen from the lake front, Riviera Beach, Library Park and Flat Iron Park.

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