Who says having fun has to cost a lot of money?

Local city and county residents certainly know better and will have their chance to prove it when the annual Waukesha JanBoree winter festival rolls into town Jan. 20-22.

The three-day winter festival, now in its 32nd year, returns in 2017 with the theme of "Flake Out."  It kicks off Friday, Jan. 20, at Lowell Park, 2201 Michigan Ave., with opening ceremonies from 3 to 9 p.m., and continues, in the city of Waukesha and other county locations, Saturday and Sunday.

Most of the 30-plus events offered at the JanBoree are free, said Joanna Adamicki, special events coordinator for Waukesha's parks, recreation and forestry department.

Here's a rundown of some of the myriad activities offered each day. (For a full list of activities and a map and directions to the various sites, see the JanBoree's website at www.janboree.org. Event cancellations throughout the weekend will also be posted there.)


Festival-goers can enjoy the JanBoree kickoff with in a variety of ways Friday, among them taking a slide, or several, down the 350-foot toboggan run, observing some top-notch ice sculptors carve up a 3,000-pound block or stopping by Waukesha North High School, 2222 Michigan Ave., to see a traveling circus performance.

The toboggan run is open from 4 to 8 p.m. and the ice-sculpting demo runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., according to a news release.

The traveling circus, which performs two 30-minute shows, takes the stage around 6 p.m. at North and runs for an hour. Tickets to the show are available at the Schuetze Recreation Center in Frame Park, 1120 Baxter St., or the city's parks, recreation and forestry office at 1900 Aviation Drive. Seating for the shows is limited.

A fireworks show is scheduled to round out the night at 8 p.m.


The JanBoree resumes in full force Saturday with more than 20 events scheduled, including a handful of festival favorites.

The regular events on Saturday include the pancake breakfast at the Schuetze Recreation Center, the 5K run/walk that kicks off at the Rotary building, the popular ice-sculpting contest in downtown Waukesha, the penguin egg hunt for kids in Cutler Park outside the Waukesha Public Library and a country music show at the Elk's Lodge, 2301 Springdale Road.

Several other events Saturday have an athletic theme. There's an ice bocce ball tournament, a Futsal clinic, gym games and other fitness activities at the local YMCA, footgolf and "s'moorball," which combines soccer and billiards, at Moor Downs Golf Course and an ice hockey expo at Lowell Park.

The concert at the Elk's Lodge is scheduled to run from 7 to 11 p.m. Admission costs $10 per person.

There's also a small fee for participation in the bocce ball tournament. Individuals must pay $5 each to play. Those interested in playing can pre-register (by Jan. 14) for the tournament  by calling 262-717-9488.


The festivities wrap up Sunday with a handful of outdoor activities.

Those events include horse-drawn wagon rides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Minooka Park – where attendees can also view an official Alaskan Malamute Club of Wisconsin Dog Pull from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – as well as guided nature hikes organized by the Friends of Retzer Nature Center and an ice-fishing clinic.

JanBoree attendees can then warm up while taking in a concert by the Wisconsin Philharmonic (formerly known as the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra) from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Shattuck Music Center on Carroll University's campus. The concert is free.

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