Throughout this year, Wisconsin is reveling in anniversary celebrations, toasting its oldest breweries, and celebrating the milestone birthdays of a pioneering daughter and a native son.
The 150th birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright is being observed all year in Wisconsin. Arguably America’s best-known architect, Wright was born in Richland Center June 8, 1867.
The state has 41 Wright-designed sites.
A new 200-mile trail directs visitors to those sites, homes and buildings he designed. Highway signs — with design and typography inspired by Wright’s spare, geometric aesthetics and style — direct travelers on the motor route through nine counties.
One destination on the trail is Taliesin near Spring Green — Wright’s home, studio, school and agricultural estate. In early June, Taliesin Preservation announced a robust calendar of events and programs on the 800-acre estate to celebrate the architect’s birthday, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Center.
Another celebration takes place in Milwaukee July 28, when the Milwaukee Art Museum opens Buildings for the Prairie. The exhibit, which runs through Oct. 15, features Wright’s early portfolio designs, as well as furniture, stained glass and textiles.
Travel Wisconsin provided a guide to other notable 2017 milestones:
One of the oldest continuously operating breweries in the United States is celebrating its 160th anniversary. Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point provided beer to soldiers during the Civil War and survived Prohibition by brewing soda pop and near-beers.
The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company — founded by Jake Leinenkugel in 1867 — is marking its sesquicentennial with a celebration Aug. 11–12 at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls. The brewing company is creating an anniversary lager with Hofbräu München and also published a commemorative book.
In February, Pepin — a small town on the Mississippi River north of La Crosse — hosted a party to celebrate the birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved Little House on the Prairie books. She was born there 150 years ago on Feb. 7 and set her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, in Pepin County. Residents have reconstructed the cabin “Pa” Ingalls built in 1863 north of the city, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days festival takes place in Pepin Sept. 9–10.
Camp Randall Stadium turns 100 this year. It’s the home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers. But more than a century ago, the site held a Union Army training facility — Camp Randall — and later a Civil War hospital and stockade.
Also in Madison, the State Capitol Building turns 100, a centennial observed with a Wisconsin Historical Society exhibit, A Century of Stories, and a July 5 Concerts on the Square celebration. State law prohibits construction of a building taller than the Capitol — topped with the only granite dome in the United States — within a mile radius of the landmark.
The Washington Park Velodrome in Kenosha marks its 90th anniversary. Since 1927, the 333-meter bicycle track — the oldest operating track of its kind in the country — has produced many national, world and Olympic champs.
The Ridges Sanctuary in Door County marks 80 years of protecting some of Wisconsin’s most ecologically diverse lands. The sanctuary in Bailey’s Harbor is the state’s oldest private nature preserve.
Milwaukee’s biggest music festival is also the world’s biggest, with some 800 acts performing over 11 days on 11 stages. And this year Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink and the Zac Brown Band will help celebrate Summerfest’s 50th anniversary. The festival takes place June 28–July 2 and July 4–9 on the lakefront.
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan is marking its 50th anniversary in 2017 with a yearlong series of 15 exhibitions dedicated to artist-built environments. It’s called Road Less Traveled.
The Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha County, one of the most popular in the nation, begins its 30th season in July. But beyond the admission gate, it is always 1574 in the English port city of Bristol, and Queen Elizabeth is the reigning monarch.
Milwaukee PrideFest celebrated its 30th festival in June. It’s been celebrating LGBTQ Pride on Milwaukee’s lakefront festival grounds since 1996, and traces its origins to 1988.
Shipwrecked Brewery in Egg Harbor is not Wisconsin’s oldest brewery — not even close. But at 20, it is Door County’s oldest microbrewery. Shipwrecked now produces about 1,100 barrels of hand-crafted beer each year.
In Onalaska, the Three Rivers Rodeo celebrates 10 years. The rodeo takes place at Great River Landing, a historic logging site on the Black River in western Wisconsin near the Mississippi, and features a nationally televised log-rolling tournament. Amateurs and pros compete — and get wet. This year’s rodeo is July 8.