This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Wednesday, June 2
The Capitol View Farmers' Market makes its debut this afternoon, the first to open on the far east side of Madison. After noting this was one of the only areas of the city still not hosting a market, Ald. Lauren Cnare and Tara Furst of DSI Real Estate worked with volunteers from the McClellan Park, Heritage Heights, and Sprecher East neighborhood associations to organize this outlet, drawing inspiration and ideas from the Monona Farmers' Market. The goal of this market is to "bring quality, fresh foods at an affordable price to east Madison by providing an outlet for purchasing locally grown produce, farm fresh meats, dairy products, and baked goods." Grandview Commons neighborhood, on the south side of Sharpsburg Dr. at the corner of North Star Dr. and just off Cottage Grove Rd., 3-7 p.m. Call 577-2527 for more info.
Taking a break from its regular monthly speakers series, the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin is holding a "Members & Friends Share Evening" instead. The meeting will take the form of a show-and-tell, with participants encouraged to bring and discuss a favorite food story or memory, a long-treasured or newly-discovered recipe or cookbook, a cooking tool or publication, or simply any form of culinary love. The sharing will also include a potluck, so a dish should be brought to accompany the story. Attendees are also encouraged to donate non-perishable products to the Fritz Food Pantry. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7:15 p.m., free. Call 233-5488 for more info.
Thursday, June 3
The bonds of community are the focus of Celebrate South Madison, a festival that coincides with the Thursday opening of the South Madison Farmers' Market. Along with all of the fresh products available for purchase, participants will also be able to enjoy local foods prepared by Taqueria Guadalajara. Other activities at this event include a drum circle, dance performances, spoken word, storytelling, sun-gazing and face-painting, workshops on urban agriculture and spoken word, a documentary screening, and more. The Villager, 2300 S. Park St., 3-8:30 p.m., free. Call 260-8098 for more info.
Mount Horeb heats up this weekend with its Summer Frolic, a four-day festival inaugurating the season. The fun includes a carnival, live music, a talent contest, softball and volleyball tournaments, the 10K Norsk Run and a 2 mile run/walk, the "Tough Truck" competition, a dog show, bingo and a raffle, a parade, fireworks, a rib cookoff, and a beer tent. Grundahl Park, 400 Blue Mound St., Mount Horeb, 5-10 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m Friday, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Call 437-5914 for more info.
Friday, June 4
Festa Italia is a three-day celebration of the heritage and history of Madison's Italian community, rooted in neighborhood picnics of yesteryear held across the city. The festival this weekend is presented by the Italian Workmen's Club, and features live music, dance performances, a raffle, and plenty to eat and drink, including an opening pasta dinner and a pasta eating contest. McKee Farms Park, 2930 Chapel Valley Rd., Fitchburg, 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Call 258-1880 for more info.
Portage welcomes the onset summer with its annual Canal Days celebration this weekend. This three-day festival commemorates the legacy of the Portage Canal, the final stage of the region's long history, as reflected in the city name, as a commercial and cultural crossroads along the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway. Held in numerous locations around the community -- downtown, county fairgrounds, canal grounds and other historical sites -- the festivities include a carnival and parade, canoe and kayak races, historical reenactments, a softball tournament, vehicle shows and contests, an arts walk, a flea market, live music, children's activities, and much more. What about the food? Hungry revelers will find a pancake breakfast, a frontier lunch, fair food vendors, a beer tent, and the Elks 26th annual Fisheree. Portage, multiple locations, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Call 608-745-1861 for more info.
The Village of Maple Bluff invites both residents and non-residents alike to join in its eighth annual Beach Blast & Bocce Tournament this evening. Along with the competitive bowling atop the lakeside turf, this summer-starting party features a buffet catered by Pedro's Mexican Restaurant, a cash bar, and a "legendary" and reportedly rather noisy silent auction. Tournament participants will be randomly paired, but can pick their partner for $50 per player. Attendees must be 21 years old to party. Maple Bluff Beach, 365 Lakewood Blvd., Maple Bluff, 5 p.m., $10 tournament and $12 buffet. Call 244-3048 for more info.
Saturday, June 5
Cows on the Concourse is an annual celebration of the Wisconsin dairy industry that runs concurrently with today's Dane County Farmers' Market. Organized by the Dane County Dairy Promotion Committee, this agricultural carnival is first and foremost about food, with the Big Cheese Zone featuring fresh grilled cheese sandwiches for a buck-fifty, as well as Sassy Cow Creamery ice creams and multiple flavors of "ice-cold" milk. Organizers promise a "dairy good time" at the festival, which also includes: a "Cow Zone," petting areas featuring several different breeds of cows and calves; "Moo Experts" in the "Ask a Farmer" Zone answering questions about our bovine neighbors; the "Get MOOving & Fit Zone," with athletic stations for kids and more health info for their parents; the "EdMOOcation Zone," with hands-on games for kids to learn about dairy farms; and, live entertainment by Dick Leo & the Trio. Families will also be able to don a milk mustache at the "Milk the Moment" mobile tour put on by the national "got milk?" promotional campaign. Finally, there's the Cousins Subs Moo Tour, a contest and benefit for Wisconsin 4-H clubs in which local moo-ers audition to make the most bovine sound possible; winners receive a golden cowbell and are invited to compete in the Moo-la-palooza at the Wisconsin State Fair on August 11. Capitol Square at Main St. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., 8 a.m.-1 p.m., free. Call 575-5388 for more info.
The wildly popular Burgers & Brew returns to the Bier Garten at Capital Brewery this evening for another round of mouthwatering summertime pairings. This third annual culinary festival is a fundraiser for the REAP Food Group and its Buy Fresh, Buy Local partner businesses working to build a sustainable local food system. Every ticket is redeemable for three quarter-pound burgers made with locally raised ingredients, and each paired with a five ounce pour of a craft beer made by a Wisconsin microbrewery. Attendees will be able to select from a menu that features 15 creations conceived by chefs from a dozen restaurants and groceries, including Alchemy Cafe, Brasserie V, Bunky's Cafe, Fresco, jacs, L'Etoile, Lombardino's, Metcalfe's Market, Sardine, Tornado Steakhouse, The Weary Traveler, and the Willy Street Co-op. The ingredients will be sourced from a regional local farms and ranches, including Northstar Bison, Foutain Prairie Farm, Sprouting Acres, Keewaydin Farms, Pecatonica Valley Farm, Fountain Prairie Farm, Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms, Cates Family Farm, Garden To Be, Jordandal Farms, Lange Family Farm, and Black Earth Meats. Finally, another dozen breweries will be providing an impressive array of ales and lagers specifically selected for pairing with the sandwiches: Pearl Street Brewery, Furthermore Beer, Capital Brewery, Hinterland Brewery, O'so Brewing, Sand Creek Brewing, Milwaukee Brewing, the Great Dane, the Grumpy Troll, Tyranena Brewing, Central Waters Brewery, and Sprecher Brewing. Tickets will be sold at the event for additional beer servings and Sassy Cow ice cream sold by the Beans N' Cream Coffeehouse. This feast will also feature live music by the TakI Allstars, and a raffle for a "Taste Is Local" burger and brew kit. Tickets are going very fast, and it is all but certain that the event will sell out once again. Capital Brewery, 7734 Terrace Ave., Middleton, 4-7 p.m., $25. Call 310-7836 or see Facebook for more info.
Sunday, June 6
Downtown plays host today to the first of two Ride the Drive celebrations in Madison this summer, once again bringing "car-free, care-free city streets" to anybody willing to claim a space on them. Seeking to build upon the positive reception to last year's debut event, organizers once again invite "all citizens to leave their cars behind to experience some of Madison's most scenic byways a whole new way -- by riding, walking, skating, or strolling along some of our city's most beautiful streets." The festival features dozens of activities throughout the day, a block-after-block parade of demonstrations, exhibitions, performances, lessons, installations, and free-form fun. Participants will be able to keep fueled with picnics, hot dog stands, food carts, and pedal-powered smoothies. Around downtown Madison, including on John Nolen Dr. from South Blair to Lakeside St., East Washington Ave. between the Capitol Square and Paterson St., along with stretches of the Square, State St., Lake St., Dayton St., Bedford St., Wilson St., and Broom St., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. free. Call 251-4456 or see Facebook for more info.
The Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition is once again holding a series of workshops about "Extending the Local Food Season" via preservation. The opening workshop this morning covers freezing. The lesson will cover the basics of preserving farm-fresh produce as a means of extending the life of CSA shares through the winter, focusing on selection, preparation, and storage with an eye towards planning quick meals. Participants will receive info sheets to bring home for reference, and get to sample refreshments made with frozen fruits and veggies for inspiration. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 10:30 a.m., $10. Call 226-0300 to RSVP and for more info.
Clinic at a Time is a Madison-based non-profit organization working to provide basic medical care access and supplies for underprivileged communities in the Gojjam province of northwestern Ethiopia. The group is hosting a benefit concert this evening featuring a performance by Natty Nation and a variety of kids' activities. Supporters attending the fundraiser will also be able to sample traditional Ethiopian foods and purchase handmade Ethiopian crafts. Capital Brewery, 7734 Terrace Ave., Middleton, 2-6 p.m., $5 donation. Call 239-3091 for more info.
Walbridge School, a private K-8 day school on the west side dedicated to teaching children with learning disabilities, invites parents and supporters to its Summer Sizzle scholarship benefit this evening. This third annual fundraiser features a fajita dinner, live music by Allen Jazz, a silent auction and raffle, games, and more. Keva Sports Center, 8312 Forsythia St., Middleton, 4-8 p.m., $25 adults and $10 ages 3-17. Call 833-1338 for more info.
Monday, June 7
The Rock River Coalition is breaking out the paddles this evening for Send Your Legislator Down the River, its annual excursion in support of healthy regional waterways. The event opens with an indoor buffet picnic at Nau-Ti-Gal, which is followed by a town hall meeting with local and state elected officials. It culminates with a four-mile paddle -- in canoes and kayaks -- on Cherokee Lake and Marsh on the north side of town. Madison Parks conservation resource supervisor Russ Hefty will be joining the journey to discuss restoration efforts in the marsh. Nau-Ti-Gal, 5360 Westport Rd., 4-8 p.m., $13 members and $18 non-members and $11 kids 6-12 and $7 kids 5 and under, with $5 late registration fee and $5 canoe rental. Call 920-674-7297 for more info.