Posted on Saturday December 22, 2018 by Vanessa Lenz

East Troy's 18 best moments of 2018

2018 was quite a year in East Troy. While there were so many wonderful moments, these are the ones we're still thinking about. 

1. East Troy Brewery Opens!

Dec. 26 marked a milestone for East Troy with the opening of East Troy Brewery on the southwest corner of the historic East Troy Village Square – the first of its kind in East Troy history. East Troy Brewery features world class beer brewed on site, plus delicious food with locally sourced ingredients. The microbrewery and restaurant has made its home inside the 120-year-old State Bank of East Troy building. As part of a sweeping renovation, the brewery features an automated brewing system that enables customers to view an interactive control system to understand how the brewing process takes place. For details, visit

2. Santa Claus came to town

The East Troy Electric Railroad Santa Parade Train made its annual journey from the Elegant Farmer to East Troy on Saturday, Dec. 1. The event was magical with so many people working together to make it happen. The East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce is grateful for the many, many volunteers who gave their time and talents to usher in the holiday season in East Troy, including Ivan's Backstage East Troy for providing an amazing venue.

3. East Troy Bluegrass Celebrates 25 years

Thousands gathered from near and far for the 25th annual East Troy Bluegrass Festival at East Troy Village Square Park Sept. 8 & 9. The East Troy Bluegrass Festival celebrated the landmark year with a weekend lineup that included two of the industry’s biggest names, including 13-year-old Bluegrass sensation Caron Peters & Iron Mountain (pictured) and Volume Five, which has been blazing a red-hot trail on the bluegrass scene. (Photo by Eric Kramer) 

4. LD's finds new home

LD’s BBQ, 2511 Main St., opened its new completely renovated space in the former Burger King building in East Troy, more than doubling the restaurant space.   Owner Leon Davis has made a home in East Troy for LD’s BBQ, popular in southeastern Wisconsin for its ribs, smoked brisket, pulled pork and chicken and more. For more information, visit (Photo by Sarah Manke) 

5. Walk of Terror & Pumpkin Walk pop up at Square

Looking for a way to combine community service and holiday fright, Jeff and Vicki McKone began the annual tradition that is the Walk of Terror three years ago. East Troy’s Walk of Terror set up shop in a new location on the East Troy Village Square this fall. The elaborate haunted house, which offers experiences for both adults and children, raised $10,145  for the East Troy Volunteer Fire Department. East Troy Village Square Park transformed into a Halloween hot spot on Oct. 31 with hundreds of lit pumpkins, carved by East Troy Prairie View Elementary School students and donated by Bower’s Produce, lining the walkways for the first time this year. 

6. High school students show East Troy some love

East Troy High School students spent their first day of school doing community service projects in their community. Students who stopped by the square gave passersby a treat by waiving an inspirational sign up high for all to see, made East Troy Rocks, cards for residents at East Troy Manor & more!

7. East Troy toasts the arts

DJ J.c. Hanna performed live from the bandstand (decorated by Lovelight Flowers & the East Troy First Fridays Committee) at East Troy Village Square Park during the East Troy Art & Wine Walk Nov. 2, featuring wine curated by The Global Glass and cheese by Hill Valley Dairy LLC Thanks to everyone who supported the 2018 First Fridays series! (Photo by Sarah Manke) 

8. Bestselling author visits Read & Feed event

Author Chloe Benjamin visited East Troy during her latest book tour for her bestselling novel, “The Immortalists.” Benjamin joined locals for an intimate dinner as part of InkLink Books & 2894 on Main's Read & Feed event series featuring food and drink pairings inspired by a novel. Chef Jonna Froelich of 2894 on Main prepared a four-course meal inspired by the book’s characters, including a Thanksgiving dinner with Indian spices served with a Malbec to represent one of the book's main characters.

InkLink Books & 2894 on Main's next Read & Feed book dinner, featuring "Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World" by Marcia Bjornerud, will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at the café, 2894 on Main, located on the northwest corner of the East Troy Village Square. Bjornerud, a professor of geology and environmental studies at Lawrence University, will lead the discussion with food prepared Froelich. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at InkLink Books, 2890 Main St. For more information, call (262) 642-9607. (Photo by Dither Studio)

9. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles event makes its debut

East Troy hosted its first Planes, Trains & Automobiles event on Aug. 11 bringing a fun filled and action packed day to town. The event kicked off with the much-anticipated return of the Friends of the East Troy Airport’s open house & pancake breakfast fly-in, featuring an assortment of vintage, homebuilt and certified aircraft. From there attendees caught a free shuttle to the East Troy Fire Department's Open House featuring demos, games, food and firetruck rides, then explored a variety of antique trolleys and interurban coaches at the East Troy Electric Railroad and finished the day with vintage and muscle cars at Gus's Drive-In Cruise Night.

The event will return on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Watch for details. (Photo by Sarah Manke) 

10. Meadery grows local craft drink sector

The Hive Taproom celebrated its opening in 2018 with an East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting & Business After 5 event July 26 followed by a Grand Opening event the next day. Owners Ayla and Tim Guild (center) carry out the ribbon cutting honors surrounded by family, including (from left) Rolf Turnquist, Liz Turnquist, daughter Adaleigh Guild, son Ellison Guild, Cheryl Gooss and Jerry Gooss. As Wisconsin’s newest meadery, the Taproom produces small batch mead, honey kombucha and soda elixirs. For more information, visit (Photo by Sarah Manke) 

11. East Troy Cycling Classic celebrates successful 7th year

The Tour of America's Dairyland, the largest competitive cycling event in the United States, continued 11 consecutive days of racing June 22 at the East Troy Cycling Classic, hosted by the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce and title sponsor the Klumb Family Foundation. Pictured: Ayden Nichols (left) and Adelyn Luppino (assisted by dad Garret) cross the finish line during the Tour de Square Kids Race in the ages 4-7 category during the event. (Photo by Sarah Manke) 

12. New shop brings global flavor to your glass

Melanie and Richard Denhart opened up the doors to The Global Glass on June 8, featuring a full selection of beer, wine and spirits inspired by their travels across the globe. Melanie, who remembers going into the local liquor store as a child with her dad, is a lifelong resident of East Troy and the Denharts wanted their business to reflect this. The Denharts have renovated the store, aiming for an approachable vibe that makes shopping fun. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit (Photo by

13. Wisconsin Oven Corporation named Business of the Year

Wisconsin Oven Corporation was named 2018 Business of the Year by the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce. The Business of the Year Award recognizes business growth, community involvement and innovative efforts in the East Troy area. President and CEO Dave Strand accepted the award at the Chamber’s annual meeting and awards dinner on April 5 at Ivan’s Backstage.

Wisconsin Oven began gearing up for big things in 2018. The business purchased a new 140,000-square-foot facility in East Troy that doubled its manufacturing floor space to allow for the production of composite materials in the automotive and aerospace industries. Wisconsin Oven’s massive facilities have gained them a competitive edge, allowing it to build some of the largest ovens in the industry. For more information, visit (Photo by Sarah Manke) 

14. Grassway Organics brings slice of farm life to East Troy

Grassway Organics owners Chaz and Megan Self and their three young sons — (from left) Otik, Xasion and Oscoda with dog Chopper — moved their entire grass only, certified organic dairy and beef operation from New Holstein to their current location at W2716 Friemoth Road in East Troy in 2018.

Grassway Organics grew buzz with its Pizza on the Farm events on Saturday nights, May through October, inviting people to visit the farm for live music and fresh, delicious wood-fired pies packed with all local ingredients – from the grain to the vegetables to the cheese. The farm uses the pizza nights as a welcoming lure to bring people closer to the source of their food as it is estimated that meals in the United States travel about 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate. (Photo by Vanessa Lenz)

15. Brewfest says cheers to the start of summer

East Troy's third annual Brewfest returned on Sunday, May 27 at East Troy Village Square Park, 2881 Main St., featuring unlimited samples of over 75 craft beers and micro brews from area breweries, including Lakefront Brewery, Sprecher Brewing Company, City Lights Brewing Company, The Hive Taproom, Westallion Brewing Company, Explorium Brew Pub and more. The event also featured local homebrewers in East Troy, bringing out their best drafts for you to taste and rate, including East Troy Brewery's head brewer Ryan Hammerel.

The event will return in 2019 as part of the 43rd annual Memorial Day weekend Corn & Brat Roast May 24-27, featuring roasted sweet corn, brats, hot dogs, burgers, soda and beer, as well as live entertainment. The weekend events will also include the Chamber's 28th annual East Troy Community-wide Rummage Sale. Watch for details at (Photo by Sarah Manke)

16. First Fridays return with big dose of free, family fun

Each First Friday, May-November, featured a showcase event at East Troy Village Square Park with surrounding local businesses collaborating to bring an afternoon and evening of fun. The series, hosted by the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce, will return in May through November in 2019. To support future programming, click here. For details, visit (Photo by Sarah Manke)

17. Chamber members gather on the green

East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce members enjoyed a day at Evergreen Country Club in support of East Troy community development during the Chamber's 21st Annual Golf Outing. Winning team members, including captain Dave Strand, Mark Schahczinski, Steve Bertschinger and Greg Jennings of Wisconsin Oven Corporation, went home with the coveted East Troy Chamber traveling golf outing 2018 championship trophy. Pictured: American Family Insurance-Kyle Resler Agency, including captain and golf outing chair Kyle Resler, Tyler Kinnick, Hand Becker and Sam Mantych took second place. (Photo by Sarah Manke)

18. Alpine Valley Music Theatre back in business

After a no-show season during what would have been its 40th anniversary in 2017, Alpine Valley Music Theatre reopened in July for the first of a two-night Dead & Company residency, featuring members of the Grateful Dead and John Mayer. Brad Paisley and Hank Williams Jr. follow July 7, and Zac Brown Band played two shows there Aug. 11 and 12. Mayer had this to say about his two night stint in East Troy (see above). (Photo by John Mayer)

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