Published Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Downtown Appleton will glisten with themed ice sculptures and draw in visitors with special gift-giving attractions when Creative Downtown Appleton hosts the Avenue of Ice Festival on Saturday, December 17. Activities get underway at 9 a.m. And the Fox Valley Food Truck Association will have eight trucks located along the Avenue to add to the festivities.

Planned activities in Houdini Plaza include professional ice carvers in action, visits with Santa and his reindeer, horse-drawn wagon rides, music, games, a talking tree courtesy of Wolfrath’s Nursery , and refreshments. Children are also invited to get creative decorating corrugated gingerbread people courtesy of Great Northern Corporation, and Skyline Technologies will share their interactive bobble head experience with attendees.

Additional holiday event sponsors include Tundraland, the City of Appleton, US Bank, Pfefferle Companies, Inc., CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa, Event Production Systems, Stellar Blue Technologies, and Octoberfest.

Be dazzled by professional ice carver, Paul Salmon of Krystal Kleer Ice Sculpture demonstrating his sculpting talents from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in Houdini Plaza, where additional carvings will be displayed. An additional 20 themed carvings sponsored by various Downtown businesses and organizations will also be placed along College Avenue for the public to view throughout the weekend.

A viewing area for the reindeer, talking tree and games will be stationed in Houdini Plaza, which also will be the starting place for horse-drawn wagon rides, and holiday music from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visits with Santa in the Tundraland Sunroom will be available from 10:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The Indoor Winter Farm Market inside City Center Plaza has extended its hours from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. with vendors offering a selection of produce, dairy, meats, bakery, and specialty food items along with decorations and other crafted items. ESTHER, Faith Communities United for Justice, will be holding a Chili Cook-off fundraiser on the first floor of City Center from 10 a.m. to noon. To facilitate finding unique presents, the Handcrafted Holiday Gift Market will return to City Center Plaza from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and occupy both the second and third floors with unusual gift items and decorations including jewelry, purses, soaps, signs and more. And Mrs. Claus will be offering free cookie decorating for kids from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. while supplies last!

The One Stop Elf Shop Kids Market will help young shoppers seek out special gifts for family and friends from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. inside City Center Plaza, in a storefront adjacent to Squires Stylists. Items offered in the shop are priced under $10 to keep gifts affordable for young shoppers. Children also may design their own gift wrap and bags for their purchases.

Downtown merchants and restaurant and pub owners will welcome event attendees and shoppers looking for last-minute unique gift ideas in time for holiday gift-giving, or something to eat and drink throughout the day.

“This day really makes the Downtown come alive with holiday spirit,” says Anne Wiegman, ADI marketing director. “It offers something fun for all ages. It also really showcases the uniqueness of Downtown Appleton, which is made up of 95 percent locally owned businesses that welcome shoppers and visitors year-round.”

For a listing of Downtown locations featuring holiday-themed ice sculptures or food trucks, visit the ADI website at

For more information on Creative Downtown Appleton and projects that enhance the creative placemaking efforts underway here, contact Jennifer Stephany, Executive Director for Creative Downtown Appleton and ADI, by emailing her at, or call 920-954-9112. For more information about the arts in Wisconsin and Arts Wisconsin, contact Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin Executive Director, at 608 255 8316 | |

About Appleton Downtown Inc. (ADI) ADI is a non-profit advocacy source for the businesses and merchants of Downtown Appleton, dedicated to an economically strong, safe, attractive and exciting downtown. For more information about Creative Downtown Appleton and ADI and/or a complete listing of upcoming Downtown happenings, visit ADI’s website,, or check them out on Facebook at Appleton Downtown or on Twitter @dwtnappleton.

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