This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, May 11
Spring continues to blossom this week with another round of market openings. Leading the way is the Eastside Farmers' Market, which sets up shop this evening for its ninth season. Situated for its first eight years at the future Central Park in the heart of the Marquette neighborhood, the market has relocated to the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center this spring. More than two dozen vendors offer seasonal produce and plants, as well as meats, cheeses, baked goods, honey, and specialty items from pickled preserves to dog treats. Wil-Mar Center, 953 Jenifer St.., 4-7 p.m. Call 251-6776 for more info.
The ninth annual Taste of Willy Street fundraiser will be held alongside this evening's season opener of the neighborhood market. Diners will find a generous array of dishes at the tasting, from appetizers to entrées to desserts, that showcases the culinary riches to be found along the Williamson Street corridor through the heart of the near east side. Organized by the Greater Williamson Area Business Association, the benefit raises money for the Youth-Business Mentoring Program with Common Wealth Development. Wil-Mar Center, 953 Jenifer St., seatings at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., $15 adults and $7 kids under 12. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Wednesday, May 12
Shoppers can start making the most of spring in Jefferson County as the Lake Mills Farmers' Market opens its season this afternoon. Both farm-fresh foods and handcrafted goods are available at the market, along with more ready-to-eat treats prepared by a local non-profit group and a special event every week. Organizers also encourage patrons to make an evening of it with a stroll around the town's main drag and dinner at one of its restaurants. Commons Park, between County Rds. A and B and E. Lake St., Lake Mills, 2-7 p.m. Call 920-648-2344 for more info.
Thursday, May 13
The Middleton Farmers' Market starts its season this morning, set up in a parking area in the middle of Greenway Station Shopping Center. Vendors at the market offer a customary selection of seasonal and perennial products, including fruits, veggies, flowers, meats, dairy, baked goods, and more. Greenway Station, Deming Way and Greenway Blvd., 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 872-2152 for more info.
Judy Haight will cover the baking basics in her Gluten Free on a Budget class this evening, focusing on recipes that are simple to both plan and prepare on a regular basis. She will also discuss the value of homemade versus purchased products in terms of both cost and nutrition. The menu for the lesson includes herbed focaccia bread, curried tomato and white bean soup, and chocolate snack cake. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6:30-8:30 p.m., $15 owners and $25 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.
University of Wisconsin gridiron legends return to their alma mater this evening for the Badger Glory Days fundraiser dinner. The program for the evening also includes live and silent auctions of sports memorabilia, and patrons will be have the opportunity to listen to stories from and ask questions of the Badgers. Alumni scheduled include Dale Hackbart, Anthony Davis, Rufus Ferguson, David Greenwood, Chris Chambers, Dennis Lick, Ron Dayne, Al Toon, and others. The benefit is organized by Buckets for Hunger, which donates all proceeds to provide food for hungry families in Wisconsin. Exhibition Hall, Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Way, 6 p.m., $100 or $800 per table. Call 888-351-9154 for more info.
Friday, May 14
Stoughton inaugurates summer this weekend with Syttende Mai, its annual celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day and the community's Norske heritage. The fun at this venerable festival includes: a massive Norwegian-themed parade, folk dancing performances by the "world famous" Stoughton Norwegian Dancers, street dances exhibitions of Norwegian rosemaling (painting) and hardanger (needlework), an arts and crafts fair, a quilt show, Norwegian church services, performances of The Curse of King Olaf's Cup (Forbannelsen til Kongens Kop) OR The Ole Grail by the Stoughton Village Players, a Viking encampment, a 20-mile run, a 10-mile run, a 17-mile walk, a canoe race on the Yahara River, a sailboat race on Lake Kegonsa, an "Ugliest Troll" drawing contest, and many other festivities, all reigned over by the Syttende Mai king and queen and prince and princess. Then there's the feast, consisting of some two dozen food stands and sit-down luncheons, operated by Stoughton non-profit groups and serving a smorgasbord of American summertime grill standbys and Norwegian specialties. Save room for plenty of lefse, sandbakkels, krumkake, rommegrot, riskrim, and more. Stoughton, Friday-Sunday. Call 873-7912 for more info.
This weekend is one of the most profitable of the year for the Madison hospitality industry, thanks to the commencement ceremonies honoring thousands of graduates of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Restaurants across the city will be buzzing, if not outright filled to capacity, with newly-minted alumni and their families celebrating the occasion, with many offering special menus over the next several days. One good example of this is the farm-to-table Harvest, which is holding the first in a series of three 2010 UW Commencement dinners this evening. The six-course menu for this meal will include an amuse bouche, multiple options for both the first and main courses, an after-dinner salad, several dessert selections, and a mignardise. Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St., 5 p.m.-close Thursday-Saturday, $100 deposit required for every reserved table. Call 255-6075 for reservations.
Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville is playing host to its third annual Art & Wine Festival this evening. Visitors will be able to view and procure works by local artists, as well as purchase tickets to sample a variety of wines and both sweet and savory appetizers. Rotary Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, 6-9 p.m., free admission with tickets for wine. Call 608-752-3885 for more info.
Saturday, May 15
The simple yet fleeting culinary wonders of Morchella will be exalted this weekend at the 28th annual Morel Mushroom Festival in Muscoda. Attractions at this quintessential country celebration include: a mushroom contest, a carnival and parade, an arts and crafts fair and flea market, softball and horseshoe tournaments, 5K run/walks, antique and modern farm tractor pulls, helicopter rides, lectures, tours, music, dancing, fireworks, and plenty of food stands operated by local community groups and businesses, including Spurgeon Vineyards & Winery and Meister Cheese. The seasonal bounty of wild mushrooms are at the heart of this festival, though, and fried morels will be served at its headquarters as long as they are available. Visitors will also be able to buy and sell fresh-picked fungi, as well as pick up souvenirs and apparel proclaiming the community's status as the "Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin." Muscoda, Saturday-Sunday. Call 608-739-3182 for more info.
Bicyclists will get a chance to take on one of three courses -- 5K, 50K, and 100K in length -- in the second annual benefit bike ride for the Restoring Hope Transplant House in Middleton. After the morning bike ride, participants can enjoy on food, drinks, and live music while celebrating their support for the House. Money raised in this fundraiser will go to renovations that are necessary to "welcome transplant patients and their caregivers to their new emotionally and financially supportive home-away-from-home." Capital Brewery, 7734 Terrace Ave., Middleton, 7:15 a.m.-2 p.m., $45 adults and $15 kids under 12. Call 831-1726 for more info.
Fromagination is playing host today to Master Cheesemaker Myron Olson of the Chalet Cheese Co-op in Monroe. Visitors to the shop on Capitol Square will be able to sample its Deppler's Baby Swiss and famed pungent Limburger, the only one that's still produced in North America. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 10 a.m.-1 p.m., free. Call 255-2430 for more info.
Alliance for Animals invites supporters to attend its Spring Fiesta and fundraiser this evening. The meal will consist of Chipotle vegan burritos, chips, salsa, desserts, and beverages, and will be followed by a silent auction. UW Arboretum Visitor Center, 1207 Seminole Hwy., 6-8 p.m., $12 adults and $7 students. Call 257-6333 for more info.
Sunday, May 16
Liliana's is offering one of its hands-on cooking classes this afternoon. Just in time for summer, this intermediate lesson focuses on barbecuing, with a curriculum that covers making marinades and rubs, grilling, and slow smoking. Liliana's Restaurant, 2951 Triverton Pike, Fitchburg, 3-5 p.m., $100 individuals and $150 couples. Call 442-4444 for more info.