There’s no business like snow business.

It’s been a great weekend! Though at one point, I thought we’d made a big mistake and wished we could have cancelled our hotel booking.

A couple of months ago, I came across an ad for the 28th annual Winterfest event in Lake Geneva and was immediately intrigued. In addition to the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship – the only competition of its kind in the United States – it promised a Downtown Ice Sculpture Walk, bonfires on the beach, live entertainment, and more. We had a $130 room credit courtesy of and we’re always down for an adventure, so we booked a room and eagerly awaited the festival.

What we did not know was that 20,000 other people eagerly awaited the festival, too. The majority of them from Illinois. A fact we only discovered much later, at a dive bar in Elkhorn Saturday afternoon, where we had backtracked after getting caught in the Mother of All Traffic Jams in Lake Geneva. It was so bad, we couldn’t even make it to our hotel. Rather than fighting the hordes, we decided to kill a few hours at a bar, only to find every single place with indoor seating had lines out the door. Rather than wait 45 minutes for a table, we decided to turn around and drive back to Elkhorn, about 15 minutes away.

“I bet we’re already eating cheese curds in Elkhorn when they text us that our table is ready,” I predicted.

Sure as hell, that’s exactly what happened.

We had a few drinks in addition to the curds and waited until after dark to attempt a return to Lake Geneva. Fortunately, by then the crowds had cleared out and we were able to check into our room. We then walked around downtown a bit before ducking into Lake City Social for more drinks and a fantastic dinner.

From left to right: panko-crusted deviled eggs with bacon, bleu cheese, and everything bagel seasoning; crab crusted salmon with lobster sauce over a bed of almond rice pilaf (and mashed potatoes, which they apparently considered the vegetable side); Brandy Old Fashioned; shrimp and crab chowder. Yes, it was all as delicious as it looks.

Afterward, it felt too early to go back to the room, so we found a much divier place with a DJ spinning mad tunes. “Stayin’ Alive” was playing when we walked in, so I knew we were going to have a good time. We sure did. Even danced a little and didn’t get out of there until shortly after midnight. Who are we?!

Walking around town after dark, it felt like it was still Christmas in Lake Geneva. I guess they don’t really disassemble the holiday until after Winterfest.

It was obviously very late when we got back to our room, so we basically crashed. But we were up pretty early this morning to take advantage of the sparse (but certainly not non-existent) crowds and check out the various snow sculptures, as well as the ice sculptures downtown.

The level of detail was amazing! I’ve seen sand castle contests before, but never anything done with snow. It’s a much more fragile medium. This morning, the ice sculptures were already melting. And then I went and bumped into one like an idiot.

OK, just kidding. It was like that when I got there. But the reactions of people walking by were priceless.

We grabbed breakfast, walked out onto the frozen lake, and then began the trek home.

But not straight home. We detoured through Janesville to hit up Home Depot, where we finally made some decisions on the house.

We’re going with vinyl wood-look plank flooring in the living room, dining room, and hallway, and carpet in the bedrooms/on the stairs. It’s amazing how realistic these products look. Even side by side next to real oak, I could hardly tell the difference. We’ve also decided on colors for the living room, office, and guest room. Narrowing our choices down for the master bedroom still. We haven’t ordered anything yet, but we scheduled an appointment for the Home Depot people to come out and take measurements. It’ll be the Friday after we close.


By the way, in case you still have me bookmarked under, that domain expires in six days and I won’t be renewing it. “Swinged Cat” was a South Dakota nickname and therefore no longer relevant. If you want to keep reading these emotion-laden, thought-provoking meditations on life – or you just want to see me continue to act like a goober and pretend to break detailed ice sculptures – make sure to follow instead.

And if you think I only behave this way for the blog, ask Tara about that time we stayed out late at a dive bar in Lake Geneva and I dropped to the floor for some fake break dancing…

37 thoughts on “There’s no business like snow business.

  1. Love the flooring and it does look like real wood but doesn’t show everything. I wish it were around when I put in my hardwood. Back then it was Pergo and my late husband (a carpenter) wouldn’t permit it in the house. LOL That festival looks fabulous and the food, OMG. I want those deviled eggs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember when Pergo was all the rage. They still sell it…in fact, we looked at it in Home Depot…but ultimately, I think some of the newer engineered products are even better.

      The deviled eggs were fantastic. They don’t get any more kicked up than that.


  2. I would have totally believed you broke the sculptures. I’m still as gullible as ever. Note to self: stay off all blogs April 1st. 🙃

    The pictures are amazing and brought back a memory when I was in Quebec on a ski excursion with school where I saw a snow and ice sculpture display like this!

    Very cool weekend.

    Why the name Lake Geneva? Seems like a lot of Switzerland is happening in Wisconsin…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The name is actually a reference to New York, not Switzerland:

      John Brink, a government surveyor, laid claim to the waterfall power and adjacent land at the White River outlet to the lake in 1835. He named the lake after the lake in his home in Geneva, New York.

      But don’t worry, New Glarus still has its claim to the land of the Swiss!


  3. Oh those Illinois folk. Do you know we Wisconsinites have a special name (acronym, actually) for people from Illinois? I can’t write it in a PG-13 comment box, but you probably know it already. 😉
    Yay for wood (or wood-simulated) flooring!
    Another blog buddy of mine, Ruth Rosenfeld (whom we met rather spontaneously in Colorado this past summer) just posted about the International Ice Sculpting Championships in Breckenridge. There were two sculptors from Wisconsin. Here’s the post if you’re interested in comparing/contrasting sculptures:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the link! I’ll give it a read. I don’t know which is harder to carve: snow or ice. Either way, those are some pretty talented people.

      I do not, in fact, know the name for Illinois folk but would love to hear it. I do know, based on all the chatter in the bar in Elkhorn (and previous outings) that Illinois people are not revered in America’s Dairyland.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Panko-crusted deviled eggs? That’s something I’ve never heard of yet think I might like. I like your idea of not using real wood floors. We have them and I’m kind of lukewarm about them. Pretty, but require upkeep like refinishing. Good luck with your closing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That meal and the snow and ice sculptures are worth battling traffic for. Sounds like a great weekend.
    We’re going to be shopping for new flooring soon but the thought of moving all our furniture makes me keep putting it off. So much easier when the house is empty. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, we were glad we went. It’s good to have a Plan B, especially when you eventually circle back around to Plan A.

      FWIW, Home Depot said the installers move furniture around as part of the service. This was good to know, because it looks like it’s going to take a little bit longer to get them out there. We might end up moving in first after all, and just holding off on setting up the aquarium and a couple of the other heavier things.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sand and snow sculptures are cool, but the skill level to do an ice sculpture blows my mind. They are incredible.

    Love LVP (luxury vinyl planking); don’t love Behr paint 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I can’t imagine the patience and skill involved in chipping figures out of ice.

      Behr is all that Home Depot had. I don’t know if I’ve ever used it before, but kind of always assumed paint is paint?


  7. The snow sculptures are amazing. I don’t know how the artists pull them off so well. Those panko-crusted deviled eggs sound awesome too. I’ve never heard of them before, but I know I’d like them. I’m a fan of hardwood floors, but I have heard the vinyl really looks good!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some are so beautifully done… although probably not the best technically, the cow jumping over the moon brought a smile. There seems to be both snow and ice sculptures. In Cripple Creek, Colorado, there’s an ice sculpting festival later in February. They are so delicate looking. Glad to find your site!

    Liked by 1 person

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