St. Ann’s Fall Festival is a sure sign of autumn’s arrival

It’s the third full weekend in September, which means time for St. Ann’s Parish’s annual Fall Festival.

This year’s festival is set for Saturday Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21, with activities including a 5K run/walk, a variety of youth events, carnival games, inflatables, a country store, cornhole tournament, concessions, antique car rides, a cake walk and more. The community is invited to join in the fun.

Saturday will feature the run/walk and “Youth-A-Palooza,” for kids in grades 6-12, including a DJ and water balloon battles. On Sunday, a country café and store event will be held in the gym, serving fruit, desserts and coffee. People are invited to sit and chat, play cards in the café or just relax. There will be plenty of food and beverages for sale, including a pie contest Sunday morning.


LaFarge brings old-time ‘variety show’

Photo courtesy Chester Simpson. Pokey LaFarge’s Central Time Tour headlines the Stoughton Opera House Saturday, Sept. 20.

Pokey LaFarge and his band are bringing some fellow old-timey and Americana artists along when the Central Time Tour stops at the Stoughton Opera House on Saturday.

The Central Time Tour is designed as a variety show, and opens the Opera House’s new 70-plus show season.

LaFarge’s concerts have become an annual event at the Opera House since he and his band first appeared there in 2010.

This year, LaFarge has organized the Central Time Tour and will bring three bands new to the Opera House. Also joining the tour as Master of Ceremonies is Dom Flemons, founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops (who return next week for two shows).

“The idea was to put together a variety show of American roots music, with bands being from the Midwest and every band being different from the others,” LaFarge said in a telephone interview from his home in St. Louis.


Cooksville Lutheran Church to hold annual Fall Festival on Sunday

The Cooksville Lutheran Church fall festival is this Sunday.

The public is invited to attend Cooksville Lutheran Church’s 19th annual Fall Festival, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 21, rain or shine. The day will include a worship service, meal, music, wagon rides and games for the whole family.


Wine tasting fundraiser aims to raise money for scholarship

The fourth annual Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Grape Expectations fundraiser will be take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Stoughton Country Club.

Guests can enjoy an assortment of wines including reds, whites, sparkling wines and ports paired with a selection of gourmet entrees, artisanal cheeses and chocolates.

Enjoy nearly a dozen stations to pair different wines with food selections.

There will be a silent auction featuring original works produced by area artists. Additional works by these artists will be available for purchase.

The event typically draws about 150 people throughout the course of the evening.

Proceeds from this event will help fund the Rae Ladd Volunteerism Scholarship given to a graduating Stoughton High School senior. Tickets are $50, available through the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, call the chamber at 873-7912.


Stoughton Public Library book sale set for next week

If you’re planning on curling up with a good book this fall, you may want to check out the Friends of the Stoughton Public Library’s biannual book sale coming next week.

From popular fiction books to non-fiction books about gardening, crafting, quilting and cooking, the book sale has something for nearly every reader. The fall sale will have several years of various woodworking journal issues.

There will also be children’s books, CDs and DVDs for sale, and special attractions not sold online will be available.

The preview sale kicks off the four-day event on Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. for Friends of the Library members only. Memberships are available at the door, which allow people special discounts and coupons.

The book sale opens to the general public on Thursday at 9 a.m. and will continue through Saturday.

Materials left at the end of the sale are cleared out, usually given to another non-profit organization.


Doing battle with disease

Uw-whitewaterphoto/craigschreiner photos. 2008 Stoughton High School graduate Michelle Storage is shown here working earlier this year in a laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she graduated in spring with a double major in chemistry and cell biology. Storage recently won a scholarship worth more than $300,000 for a doctorate degree program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Ebola. Anthrax. Tuberculosis.

With deadly communicable diseases like these still on the loose, this increasingly interconnected world can certainly be a scary place.

And that’s where Michelle Storage comes in.

The 2008 Stoughton High School graduate recently won a research scholarship worth more than $300,000 to pursue her dreams of earning a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary biomedical sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee this fall. When she graduates, she wants to pursue a career with the national Centers For Disease Control, developing vaccines to fight diseases that can kill thousands, if not millions of people if unchecked.

Storage, who double-majored in cell biology and chemistry at UW-Whitewater, graduating this spring, will receive around $61,000 a year for the next five years as she works her way toward her goal.


Karaoke Queen

Photos by Bill Livick. As she sometimes does, Blue Moon Karaoke owner Renee Johnson joins in with another singer during a show last month at Cully’s.

It’s 9:45 and a slow Saturday night in the city. Downtown Stoughton resembles a ghost town. Despite it being a warm summer night, there’s no one on the street, and it’s eerily quiet.

Quiet, that is, until you turn off Main Street, head down Water Street and pull up in front of Cully’s Cocktail Lounge.

That’s where Renee Johnson’s Blue Moon Karaoke is in full swing. Inside the small bar, there’s a crowd of 15 to 25 singers, along with a few onlookers, having an absolutely great time. You can feel the energy immediately.

Cully’s is where KJ (karaoke jock) Renee and her crowd of singers gather almost every weekend to sing, dance and enjoy each other’s company.

It’s obvious that the followers of Blue Moon Karaoke are well acquainted. After each singer finishes a song, the crowd erupts in applause. Johnson gives the singer a hug, and then calls up the next performer.

She’s been doing this since starting her business 10 years ago.


Learning to batik photos

The Adult Craft Club at Stoughton Public Library learned a new art technique called batik on Thursday, Sept. 4. Batik involves creating designs on fabric using wax, which resists dyes and allows the artist to color selectively. The club learns a new craft each month, with future dates from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursdays Oct. 2, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4. No crafting experience is necessary, and teens are welcome with an adult. For more information or to register call 873-6281.


Stoughton WWII vet on Saturday Honor Flight

Stoughton’s Robert “Bob” Schwartz spent a good chunk of his young adulthood riding the waves of the Pacific Ocean aboard the escort carrier USS Savo Island, dodging kamikazes and providing a safe place for pilots to land.

Saturday, he’s going to take a much more leisurely – and well-deserved – trip to Washington D.C. aboard the latest Badger Honor Flight. People are invited to share in the often-emotional send-off and return ceremonies at the Dane County Regional Airport.

The Badger Honor Flights are a regional affiliate of the national Honor Flight Network that provides World War II veterans the chance to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D. C., as well as other war memorials. The flights started in 2010, and according to the group’s website, more than 500 veterans from Wisconsin have been able to travel to the nation’s capital through the program.


14 South Fall Studio Art Tour set for this weekend

Ever wonder who is the talent behind the artwork you see at local galleries? This weekend visitors will have the opportunity to meet artists demonstrating their craft at the 11th Annual Fall Studio Art Tour.

The event will be held at various locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, and Sunday, Sept. 14.

Presented by 14 South Artists, a local group of artists who aim to promote visual arts in south central Wisconsin, the tour allows visitors to see artists at work demonstrating their craft.

By driving from studio to studio, visitors will not only have the opportunity meet artists in their creative environment, but they can also discuss their work with them.

The tour includes 10 galleries, three of which act as information centers and starting points – The Wood Cycle at 1239 S. Fish Hatchery Road in Oregon, Paoli Mill Park Gallery at 6891 Paoli Road in Paoli and Allen Creek Gallery at 137 E. Main St. in Evansville.