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Enjoy a fling at the Nekoosa Cata-Pumpkin Launch. © Tom Loucks, Wis. Rapids Daily Tribune
Gas prices being what they are, it behooves all and sundry to leave the SUVs parked in the garage and maybe stick around close to town one time, hey. The things you'll discover inside a city's limits very likely will surprise and delight you just as much as the great unknown calling from beyond the county line.
For instance: Several communities invite visitors to spend the evening exploring and enjoying original works of art crafted by painters, printmakers, potters, photographers, sculptors and jewellers during special gallery nights. The Oshkosh Gallery Walk on October 7, the Waukesha Art Crawl on October 7 and December 2, and Gallery Night: Downtown Racine on November 18 are three such events. Art galleries located in the cities' historic districts stay open late to showcase the works of area artists. Stroll at your leisure, admire the architecture and art, find a future Picasso to buy and take home (and don't worry if it doesn't match the sofa).
In southwest Wisconsin, we take you down under the corridors of history. Cemeteries in Wisconsin's second oldest community hold stories untold. During Prairie du Chien's Cemetery Walk: Visiting Our Ancestors on October 7, follow interpreters through four historic graveyards and meet the people who shaped our future state. 608/326-6960.
No squash is safe in Nekoosa, where the second annual Cata-Pumpkin Launch commences at 10 a.m. on October 8 as part of the Nekoosa GIANT Pumpkin Fest. In an empty field across the street from the Rainbow Casino, teams will hurl the hapless vegetables from homemade catapults, shoot them from air cannons, crush them with cars or daintily toss them by hand under the close watch of officials from the World Championship Punkin' Chunkin' Association. Can't wait until the 8th? Catch the test launch on October 1st at 1 p.m. See Rainbow Casino for registration forms and ideas for catapult designs.
More respectful to cellulose-based life forms, Janesville's ArborFest 2006 celebrates the city's urban forest with self-guided tree identification hikes, exhibits, music and food on October 14 at Palmer Park. At Janesville Shade Tree Advisory Committee you can learn more about the events and the community's efforts to promote and enhance its trees, shrubs and greenery.
Our last stop on the city tour: Madison, home to the Wisconsin Book Festival, October 18-22 – five days of readings, lectures, book discussions, writing workshops, live interviews, children's events and more devoted to the pleasures of the written word. It's one of the largest literary festivals in the nation; more than 10,000 participants are expected to visit the city and join in events at different locations around town. See Wisconsin Book Festival for the details.