Several area events and activities that were cancelled last year because of the coronavirus are set to return in 2021 at this point.
Representatives from the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District and VISIT Lake Geneva announced their event schedules for this year during the Jan. 6 Business Improvement District Board meeting.
Several of the planned events were cancelled last year, while others went on as scheduled.
The Business Improvement District will kick off its event schedule with the annual Cocoa Crawl, which is set to be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Feb. 5 in downtown Lake Geneva.
Cocoa Crawl is a part of Witerfest weekend and includes participating businesses offering cocoa and other chocolate treats. The event was held in 2020.
Kristina Tarantino, event director for the Business Improvement District, said to have a better idea of how many people may visit the businesses, attendees are encouraged to register through the district’s Facebook page ahead of time.
There is no cost to attend.
“There’s different ways to disperse crowds, save money and still have the event,” Tarantino said. “Hopefully, we will have a better count, so we can inform the stores and keep with the flow, so it’s not a lot of people all at once.”
Tarantino said, after people register, they will receive an email message that will include a map of the participating businesses. The maps also will be available at VISIT Lake Geneva’s visitors center, 201 Wrigley Drive, and at participating businesses.
“We will make sure it is available for people who can’t print it out at home,” Tarantino said.
People also can attend the visitors center to vote for their favorite chocolate treat.
The Business Improvement District plans to conduct its annual Wine Walk from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 9. The event was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus.
Maxwell Street Days— which includes downtown businesses conducting sidewalk sales— will be held Aug. 27 through Aug. 29. The event went on as scheduled last year.
Oktoberfest is scheduled for Oct. 9 and Oct. 10 throughout downtown Lake Geneva.
The event initially was cancelled last August, but then rescheduled in September and held Oct. 10 and Oct. 11.
The Business Improvement District plans to conduct several of its holiday-related events including the annual tree lighting ceremony, which is scheduled for Dec. 3.
Other planned holiday-related events include holiday open house, which is set for Nov. 13 and Nov. 14, and the annual holiday window display competition, which will be conducted Nov. 13 through Dec. 28.
Santa Claus will be strolling through the downtown area Dec. 6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, and will be stationed with a reindeer, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.
Most of the Business Improvement District’s holiday-related activities were held in 2020.
The Business Improvement District plans to host new events in April, June and September, depending on available funding.
“We’re flexible with all the changes that are going on around the world, but this is what we have on the books,” Tarantino said of the planned events.
VISIT Lake Geneva plans to kick of its event schedule with Winterfest, which is set to be held from Feb. 3 through Feb. 7 in downtown Lake Geneva. Winterfest was held as scheduled last year.
Winterfest includes the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition, downtown ice sculpture tour, bonfires on Riviera Beach and other winter-related activities.
Deanna Goodwin, marketing director for VISIT Lake Geneva, said the tourism-promotion group plans to conduct its annual Restaurant Week April 25 to May 3.
Restaurant Week— which includes participating restaurants offering special menu items— was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus.
VISIT Lake Geneva’s Concerts in the Park series is set to return this summer.
The concerts— which are held once a week at Flat Iron Park- feature area bands performing jazz, folk, alternative or bluegrass music.
VISIT Lake Geneva cancelled the concert series last year because of concerns related to the coronavirus.
The Electric Christmas Parade also is expected to be return and is scheduled for Dec. 4.
VISIT Lake Geneva had planned to conduct a reverse electric parade, Dec. 5, 2020, in which lighted floats were set to be stationed along Broad Streets with motorists driving by to view them.
The parade was cancelled after multiple potential participants indicated that they were not comfortable decorating a float in a group, because they felt they would not be able social distance.
“Those events are on our docket this year. We will be moving forward with them,” Goodwin said. “Hopefully, there is not an issue since we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with COVID.”
Mayor Charlene Klein presented ideas for other events that could be held during the year including a “cabin fever day,” in which businesses offer specials with various activities occurring throughout the downtown area.
Klein said the city also could host a winter golf tournament or a bags tournament.
“There’s all kinds of ideas you can do with very little cost,” Klein said. “You don’t have to do much.”
Alderwoman Shari Straube— who also is a member of the Business Improvement District Board— said she would like the city to host more activities that would attract more residents to the downtown area.
Straube said many residents do not like to come to the downtown because it is crowded and it is difficult to find parking.
“They need to utilize the downtown on a weekly basis,” Straube said. “We have a huge population that views the downtown as a hinderance.”
Laura Thompson, Business Improvement District Board member, said she would like VISIT Lake Geneva and the Business Improvement District to work together more often to host events in the community.
“We’re all trying to reach the same goal,” Thompson said. “I think it’s just a matter of everybody starting to work together, and we can do a lot more.”