A tractor rumbles along the rolling hills of Green Meadows Petting Farm's back 40 as it pulls hayride passengers toward the farm’s animals' barns and pens. There, hands of all ages can snuggle on the fuzzy fleece of a baby goat or sheep, brush against the bristly hide of the 700-pound Patty the Pig, or comb fingers into the soft mane of Lad the Pony. Farmers on the staff also share insights and anecdotes on the farm and its four-legged friends as guests roam the farm at their leisure. For Charlie and Mavis Keyes, of all the sights and sounds on a farm that's been in the family since 1964, the ones they enjoy most watching and hearing are from the children and parents who come to visit. It's a thrill, Charlie says, to hear the kids say that they had "the best day ever," providing a happy counterpoint to childhood days that include trips to the doctor's and punishments to file and catalogue a sister's dolls' dresses.
Rockstock IV, sponsored by Rock 108 FM, merges with the 2011 Carnival of Madness to showcase 11 hard-hitting rock bands, punching ears and lifting spirits in a long night of rousing performances sprawled across two stages. Headlining the festivities, platinum-selling Vancouver quartet Theory of A Deadman exhorts raucous anthems such as "Bad Girlfriend" and "Hate My Life," whose wrathful riffage, tongue-through-cheek humor, and cathartic lyrics keep Eeyore from pouting himself to death. Filling the carnival’s roster of head-banging roustabouts, Alter Bridge shreds blocks of euphonic metal over moats of chugging guitars and petulant double-bass kick pedals, and Black Stone Cherry narrates southern Gothic stories with guitars forged from Tom Petty’s femur. Concluding the cluster of combustible rock 'n' roll, Adelitas Way scores unflinching tales of perseverance with hardcore and classic influences, and Emphatic unleashes chugging sonnets. Keeping both stages of Rockstock IV equipped with jackhammer melodies, a sextet of head-bangers, including Nonpoint, Pop Evil, and Bobaflex, also appears to bludgeon the remaining sunlight out of the day.
New releases get an old-fashioned treatment at McHenry Outdoor Theater, a 1950s-style drive-in screening two back-to-back movies every night. With a special focus on family films, the starlit screen shines across comforts including a concession stand vending burgers, brats, pizza, and hot dogs, and a dog-friendly policy to ensure everyone has someone cuddly to grab during the scary parts. While the story unfolds on screen, the theater pumps the sound through complimentary radios, and approximately half the viewing spots are equipped with vintage speakers that complete the timeless slice of Americana. Besides new releases, which are regularly updated every two weeks, the theater might show anything from golden oldies to alternative comedies to classic blockbusters.
Keen Fox Events hosts a variety of fun events that help burn calories and do some good. The Wicked-Fun 1990s Run encourages runners to race while traveling back in time to the era of grunge, virtual pets, and boy bands. In addition the workout and community-wide good cheer, some of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Special Olympics.
The 5th annual Waukesha BluesFest celebrates an expansive swath of music and art in two days swollen with 14 prime blues, soul, and roots acts, along with a wealth of locally made handicrafts. The festival plays host to a rollicking roster of bluesy virtuosos, who bend notes like sonic origami under a large festival tent that protects melodies from exposure to ultraviolet rays. Headlining Friday’s septet of song-sluggers, legendary Bluesbreaker John Mayall takes flight at 9 p.m., showcasing the skills that made him a godfather of British blues and Eric Clapton’s emergency contact. Saturday’s parade of 12-bar bolstering concludes with another collection of musical Redcoats, as steam-powered British mavericks Savoy Brown treat fans to sweet hunks of marinated boogie-woogie.
At Xtreme Wheels Roller Skating & Family Fun Center's 30,000 sq. ft. facility, the rental center stocks skates as tiny as a toddler size 7. Here, skaters of all ages are welcome to take a turn on the rink. This is no big surprise, given the history of the father-daughter team who runs the rink. Dean Hohl has more than three decades of rink management under his belt, while his daughter Kimi started toddling on wheels as soon as she could walk.
They welcome families to make skating a part of their history on the rink's 17,000 sq. foot wooden floor during a variety of often themed open-skate sessions. They often host birthday parties in a fun family atmosphere in one of their five party rooms. During Kids Celebration Skate, parents get even the smallest members of the brood in on the fun by pushing their strollers around the rink, and packs can dress up for the Halloween costume contest or skate off excess caloric intakes at the Skate Your Turkey Off Thanksgiving event. To refuel after a day on the rink, skaters break at the concession stand to snack on pizza, pretzels, and hot dogs.