Is it May yet?
I can't argue that winter hasn't been especially brutal this year, but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, let's welcome February, oh cruel February, with open arms. That's right, it's time to get out of the house and celebrate winter.
Fortunately, the confluence of Groundhog Day and Super Bowl XLII, on the eve of Mardi Gras no less, provides ample justification to check out some of the events around Madison this weekend.
The truly elegant (and well-funded) among us can grab a date, get all gussied up, and head to the Overture Center on Saturday night for the 22nd annual Frostiball. Tickets, starting at $100, will provide plenty of opportunity to mingle among the refined as you savor the hors d'oeuvres and desserts, work the dance floor, and of course sip a cocktail in the Martini Lounge.
Those with more anemic wallets can channel Molly Ringwald the night beforehand, though. DJs Mike Carlson and Amos Smith are providing the beats for an '80s Prom at the Majestic Theatre on Friday night. Cover is $5 if you get into the spirit and $10 if you show up in '08 attire.
Just up the street from the Majestic, you can enjoy a colder weekend outdoors at the Madison Winter Festival -- kids in tow, optional. A winter wonderland will descend upon the Capitol Square, combining annual cross country ski races with events for all ages, including tubing, snowshoeing, and a snow sculpture competition.
Of course, there are venues for Madison's altruists, as well. On Saturday at West High School, Souper Bowl XII will benefit Habitat for Humanity. For $15, guests will receive a full dinner, including soup in your own ceramic bowl. Families of up to 4 can opt to spend $35 for the meal and two bowls.
If none of these events strike your fancy, consider some of the other weekend happenings:
- Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve: Venture out to Barnevald on Friday night and all day Saturday for a midwinter celebration of Imbolc, a festival honoring the Celtic godess Brigid through workshops and a potluck feast.
- St. Albert's the Great: Enjoy breakfast on Saturday morning as you learn about the fate of winter from Jimmy the Groundhog, the most famous resident of Sun Prairie, the groundhog capital of the world!
- Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall: The Madison Orchid Growers Guild sponsors Orchid Quest, a showcase of beautiful flowers in bloom that runs all weekend.
- Alliant Energy Center Coliseum: Peppy, athletic teens bring it on at the Wisconsin State Cheerleading Championship and the Badger Cheerleading Championship all weekend long.
- Vilas Park Beach: Looking to witness something unique and charitable? Brave the cold for the Grill'n 4 Peace cookout with Savory Sunday. It involves forming a giant peace sign on Lake Wingra out of 53 Weber grills. Enough said.
- Roxbury Tavern: Both loyal Packers superfans football haters -- a Wisconsin anomaly -- can come together at a Forget the Super Bowl Party with the SpareTime Bluegrass Band at this Irish pub in Sauk City.
If you still aren't inspired to get out and about, and all you really want to do is watch the Super Bowl at home with some chips and dip as companions, that's okay. You can still connect to the outside world via the trusty interweb: Local ad firm Hiebing has launched a Super Bowl advertising blog, the Hiebing Super Blog XLII. It will provide commentary on the hits and misses of this year's ads, and you can chime in as you see fit, as well.
Celebrate: winter is officially half over!