Episode 100

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Published on:

9th Jan 2024

Winter Warm Up 2024 with Noelle Braun

Winter Warm Up is coming to Downtown West Bend and it's bigger and better, this year. Noelle Braun, executive director for the Downtown West Bend Association joins me to talk about Winter Warm Up 2024, which takes place Friday, January 19th through Sunday, January 21st, 2024.

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Transcript
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Hello, Washington county. As this episode airs, we are on the brink of a major snowstorm. And by saying this out loud, I realize that I've probably jinxed our chances of that storm actually happening. But this episode drops at midnight, so I'm going to roll the dice. Also, I have to say of this, the reason it hasn't snowed at all is because in November, I purchased my first ever brand new snowblower. All right, so I said this episode drops at midnight. And speaking of that, you may notice that my voice sounds like it's dropped a couple of octaves. That is because over the holidays I contracted RSV, which is a kid's sickness that somehow I got, which means my head feels fine. I just have a lot of throat and coughing issues. So thankfully, I'm almost over it. But right after I interviewed Noel for this, I lost my voice and I'm hoping I make it through. If not, then you're hearing an AI generated version of my voice. We'll see.

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This week, I'm joined by Noelle Braun of the Downtown West Bend Association. The DWBA's Winter Warm Up is coming to downtown West Bend on Friday, January 19 through Sunday the 21st. That's right, three days this year. There are a ton of great activities for you and your family, all while supporting businesses and restaurants, which are businesses too. With that, here are 15 minutes on the Downtown West Bend Association's winter warm up with Noelle Brown on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

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Hi Noelle. So this is not your first time joining me on this show, but it is your first time as the executive director at the Downtown West Bend association. How has your new role been going?

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Yeah, so excited to be here. The new role is going well. I'm really enjoying it. I love events and I love our community and bringing people together in the heart of West Bend. So it's going really well.

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Awesome. Well, we're glad to have you in here. On behalf of the downtown West Bend association, the West Bend winter warm up is coming back again this year. It's Friday, January 19 through Sunday, January 21. Can you give us a brief overview of what West Bend winter warm up is all about and what our attendees can expect this year?

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Absolutely. So West Bend Winter warm up. It's an annual event that just keeps getting bigger every year. The downtown West Bend association does this really in collaboration with the city of West Bend. We have a great committee too, filled with other community members as well, working with the bend and with the specialty shops downtown. But we really turn West Bend into a winter wonderland that weekend. So people can expect a lot of beautiful sculptures. We're going to have a record amount this year, 65 sculptures. And they're going to line downtown, the Riverwalk, 6th Avenue, and. Yes. So we just have a fantastic place for people to come and gather and enjoy winter. Bundle up. There's warming stations throughout downtown. There's going to be lots of fun activities for families, for individuals to partake in. There's going to be a lot of music. There's going to be the fire pits. There's going to be shopping and dining shows at the bend. There's going to be fun kid related activities that are happening that weekend, too. And then also something fun that pairs with the downtown event is there's events happening at Ragner park with the fat tire bike race and also the luminary walk at Lauren, too, that weekend, too. So it's a packed weekend.

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Yeah. And we're going to get into some details about that. But really, the whole idea with West Bend Winter warmup is to support these local businesses during these winter months, right?

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Absolutely. Yes. It's these cold months, getting people outside of their homes and coming on out to downtown. Just what you said. We want to make sure that different shops, restaurants, bars, everything downtown just comes alive. And, yeah, we're really supporting those small businesses at the weekend.

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Perfect. Great. So this year, as you said, there's a record number of sculptors, which means a record number of sponsors, which is awesome. What are some of the new attractions or features that maybe weren't a part of previous years?

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So new this year is an extra day.

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Okay.

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So normally the event has been, I believe it started just with a one day event and then increased to Saturday and Sunday. And now this year, we're starting on a Friday. So the sculptures are going to be delivered on Friday, January 19. We have an incredible sculpture artist from art below zero. They come with this huge trailer. Just drop all these sculptures off. And that evening, from four to 07:00 p.m. We're going to light the fire pits up at Old Settlers park. We have some music by Nathan Mayfield from five to seven, and there's shows going out at the bend. Obviously, the shopping and the dining. All of our specialty shops are staying open later, too, for people to come out, view it. The sculptures get lit up at night, too, so they have lights. So that's the neat thing, is you just get to enjoy the beauty, whether it's day or night. Something new that we are also incorporating this year is we recently connected with an individual who owns a business called Booze and Sam's and he reached out to us and he's like, I think that this would be a great fit for your winter event. So the whole weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So it's Friday from four to 07:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from ten to four is when a lot of the activities are going to be happening downtown. But he's going to have his tent set up at Old Settlers park and he's going to be serving mold cider and mold non alcoholic wine. So everything's non alcoholic for that weekend. But it's just something comforting, something warm that's going to just add to that wintry feel. Winter warm up. He will be selling these $6 a glass with a dollar per glass going back to the downtown West Bend association, which we sincerely appreciate.

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Great. That's excellent. Yeah. So you talk about the sculptures being lit up. What are some of the themes that we can expect to see? What are some of the cooler, interesting types of sculptures we might see this year?

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Yeah, so there are some Fun. The popular ones are like interactive sculptures. So whether it's like tictactoe or a photo frame, we have ones like where it looks like a person, you can put your face through it. But yes, there are so many to choose from. The ice sculpture artist gave us over 272 sculpture designs. So it could be anything from an animal to your favorite sports team, bucky Badger, things like that. The city of West Bend is doing a fun one. They're having a beerstein.

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Oh, nice.

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And they're going to be promoting Bach Fest, which is coming up the first Saturday of March.

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We got our tickets.

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Oh, awesome. Yes, we're excited for that. And got that partnership to have that fun Bach Fest and then also bring people downtown that weekend, too. But yes, there's also going to be some larger sculptures. Those are sponsored by our event sponsors at a higher level so they get what's called. I've been learning so much about ice sculptures, but a lot of our sponsors, including epic creative. Thank you. They are going to be having a one block of ice that's going to be created into something beautiful. But our event sponsors are able to do two block ice sculptures. So it could be like a nine foot snowman or. I know one of our event sponsors is doing two minions. Yeah. Delta defense is our ice demo sponsor. So that's going to be on Saturday starting around 11:00 will that be at old Settlers park? That will be at old Settlers park. So they're going to go with like a patriotic theme, eagle and flags. So there's just going to be a lot of really fun ones for people to see.

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Epics is a Trex.

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Yes.

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And our staff voted, like you said, you have like 270 choices. So we as a group picked three. And then on slack, we had our employees vote on which ones, and the Trex won.

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Awesome. I love it. I love when it's just a fun kind of random sculpture, like, just creative and. Yeah, I love that idea. So we're excited to see the T Rex.

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So how do local businesses and organizations contribute to winter warm up? And what kind of impact does that make for the downtown West Bend community?

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Yes. So a lot of that impact, of course, comes from those sponsorships or those ice sculptures. So again, there's 65 sculptures, but we also, for those one block sculptures, we do allow two or up to three businesses to partner and just to help sponsor a sculpture. So there's more businesses, for sure, 80 to 90 different businesses, really, that are coming together. We have some new businesses that have never sponsored before that are helping out. So that's really phenomenal because through this whole event, it really does boost downtown as a tourist destination. And it's just such a win for the community. The whole weekend, we're expecting thousands of people to descend on downtown and just to enjoy, know, visit those shops, visit those bars and restaurants and, yeah, just give back to local businesses.

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Perfect. So you'd mentioned that Nathan Mayfield will be playing on Friday from five to seven, but there are other musical acts coming on Saturday and Sunday, right?

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There are. So on Saturday and Friday night, I believe there's still tickets available for smells like Nirvana, which is at the Ben Theater.

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Sure.

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So that's something, too. That evening.

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Great.

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And on Saturday from noon to two, downtown Harrison is going to be inside the Ben Theater. So if you need to warm up, you want to see a fun performer, he'll be in there. Eugene Gruber is going to be outside at Old Settlers park on the stage from one to 03:00 p.m. That day, too. And then on Sunday, we have music at old settlers park from one to three. Tim Keefer will be performing up there.

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Great. Yeah, great. Always fun to go and stand around the fire and listen to some music.

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Yes. Speaking of the fire pits, too, this is new this year there is a company like the Tiki brand that makes these fire pits. So through a connection that reached out to us, they donated three fire pits that we'll have there, and they're the smokeless ones, and we're just really thankful to Tiki brand for sponsoring that and donating these fire pits that can be used year after year.

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Oh, great. Excellent. You mentioned it's a family event. Aside from the cool sculptures that the kids get to see, what are some of the cool attractions that maybe cater to a younger audience?

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Yeah, absolutely. So that weekend, besides the sculptures, on that Saturday, we are going to have in the centrum building where the downtown West Ben association offices, we will be having some kid activities. There's a church that's going to be there doing some activities. And also Wendy Wendor from Homestead Realty is going to be there as well, with just a lot of fun things for kids to do and hot cocoa. A lot of the warming stations and the stops up and down Main street will also have, like, hot cocoa or things for people to enjoy that way as well. On Sunday, there's some fun family things to do. The Bend theater is going to be showing frozen two. Yes, there's going to be three different showings at ten noon and two and a character meet and greet. Last year we showed frozen one. This year let's show frozen two.

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Is there a cost to that or.

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It can be, it's actually free. So yeah, we're excited. Like, you can just stop in for a little bit and warm up or you can just come and hang out for the movie and popcorn and things like that. So I'm excited for that. And then on Sunday, during the whole time, like from ten to four, there is a wonderful nonprofit called H two M two that works with sled dogs like huskies, malimouths. And there's going to be fun photo ops. So there will be sled dogs that kids can come and pet. They're really kind dogs. And you can learn more about that great nonprofit, too. And there's dogs that can be up for adoption and things like that. So that was, I believe, a first time thing last year. And so we're bringing them back and would love for them to be part of this event.

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My daughter loved that and she went, and now she still talks about seeing the sled dog. So we're going to have to come back. And it goes till, you said till four, right? On Sunday. And the packers game, I believe, is at 425.

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Well, that's perfect.

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Then if you got time to get home, you can get warmed up. All that.

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Exactly.

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I'm going to say this slowly and carefully. Coming up at Regner Park. Saturday is the Hugh Jass fat tire bike race at Regner park. Can you tell us about the Hugh Jass bike race at Regner park.

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Yes. So this is a really fun event that happens annually at Regner park. From what I understand, people can ride any bike, like any size tire. But in order to win, you have to have a specific width to your tire. Like larger than 3.7 inches or something like that.

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Sure.

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But people can sign up and there's a course, different courses that they get to race around Regner park. And as I've been understanding and learning more about it too, they add some really fun elements to it. I believe they have point structures too. And everything's available on our website. You can click to register. Click to just learn more about the bike race.

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Okay.

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But I believe they have like a cow theme. Like you could dress up like a cow this year. Play Hammerschlagen. You know that game like where you hammer that nail down into the big stump? They got that. They're going to have music at the pool house, like the brand new one after. Just a fun celebration after the race. So yeah, if you just enjoy watching bike races or want to participate yourself again, you can head to our website, downtownwestbend.com and to the winter warm up event and check out more information there.

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Awesome. That's like a touring race, isn't it? It is.

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So there's different stops that they make and Ragnar park is one of them.

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Awesome. Very good. Tell us about the luminary walk at Laclaran.

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Yes. So the luminary walk is such a beautiful opportunity. And it seems like there will be snow coming our way for this whole weekend. Hopefully the snow will stick around and those ice sculptures know, just not melt. That whole weekend, it looks like it'll be pretty chilly. But the luminary walk itself is at Lac Lauren. And they set up paths through their conservancy and the trails. And they're lit by these lanterns or they put the candles in the jugs. Yeah, it's just really peaceful. You just bundle up, walk with friends and family, and just enjoy the outdoors and the beauty that winter in our part of Wisconsin can offer.

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Perfect. Finally. So this is your first winter warm up as executive director and you're getting things planned and all these. Do you have any vision of what you'd like to see in the future at winter warm up?

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Well, I do like the fact that we have expanded it now to Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So it is absolutely just continuing to grow based on the businesses that we reached out to and that generously sponsored this year, I foresee it just getting bigger every year, not getting smaller.

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Sure.

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So, yeah, just looking at what could we do for different, more musical entertainment throughout the day? Looking at the fact that this drink company reached out to us and wanted to add that this year, something like that, could we have something wintry, warm related that I know we have our warming stations, but if someone's at Ragnar park, do we add something else like a drink or food related that's right there in the hub of activity? Sure. Yeah. And we're just continuing to work with the city and our amazing committee and keep brainstorming on ways to make it better. But those are just some ideas right now. And yeah, we look forward to seeing how this year goes, seeing how many people come out and continuing to think of ways to draw more people in and make it an even more fun and memorable event for everyone.

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Perfect. Well, if people want to learn more or see the map of where things are, where can they go to find out more?

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Yes, we are just finalizing the map. It is 99% done. So I would think that by tomorrow, because we're going to be printing those brochures, those map brochures that we hand out to everyone by tomorrow, that will be live and available to see on our website. So again, it's downtownwestbend.com. And if you just click on our events, the top one is winter warm up.

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Sure.

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And then if you just scroll down just a little bit, you'll be able to see the new map for 2024.

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Perfect. Looking forward to it. Noelle, thank you for joining me on the show again, and thanks for all you do for downtown West Bend.

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Thank you so much.

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Thank you again to Noelle Braun, executive director of the Downtown West Bend association, for joining me on this week's episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. Again, Winter Warm Up takes place in downtown West Bend on Friday, January 19 through Sunday, January 21, 2024. It's free. It's a great event for the family. You don't want to miss it. If you ever have an idea for a guest for this show, please email me fifteenwithfuzz@gmail.com. Be sure to spell out the word 15 instead of using the number fifteenwithfuzz@gmail.com. New episodes for the show come out on Tuesdays, though with me not having a voice, next week's episode was a little iffy. We'll see what happens. Oh, and also, thank you for listening to the 100th episode of the show. I guess that's an important milestone that I completely forgot to mention.

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Yay.

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Pretty cool. I really appreciate you listening. Episodes of this show are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, basically, wherever you listen to podcasts. And now on YouTube. We'll talk to you again real soon right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. Oh, and this whole outro was AI general rated by eleven labs. So crazy.

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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Showcasing the positive things happening in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

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Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.