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Downtown Beaver Dam

Downtown Beaver Dam, as seen from Front Street, is experiencing a surge of vitality following years of neglect and abuse.

Riding on the tail of the Nation of Patriots Patriot Tour on Saturday will be the Downtown Wisconsin Open House.

The event, with more than 15 communities and 80 sites participating throughout the state, will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is an opportunity for all people, local and around the state, to see firsthand what is going on with our downtown Beaver Dam revitalization efforts,” said coordinator Evonne Boettge. “There is a lot happening here, and we invite everyone to come and see all of the good things that are either open for business or in the works here in our downtown district.”

The day begins with a Patriot Tour Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. at the west end of Front Street near Rogers Cinema. Dignitaries will speak and motorcycle riders will take an oath to the nation and to the cause. The tour involves one American flag that will embark on a 110-day journey, transported 14,500 miles through all 48 continental states in a city-to-city relay that raises funds to support disabled veterans.

At 11 a.m., it’s kickstands up and the riders (and drivers) will be off. Beaver Dam is the starting and ending point for the ride.

The Downtown Open House begins at 10 a.m. and includes a number of activities, including self-guided mural tours (with mural maps available at many downtown businesses), specials at local businesses and live music.

Many downtown businesses will be joining in a “Patriot Passport” promotion. Participating businesses will stamp the passports, and each stamp may be exchanged for a bucket raffle ticket at Las Dos Chicas, a clothing emporium at 120 Front St.

A Discover Downtown Facebook Video Contest challenges visitors to make a video featuring what they learned during the event. Videos are to be posted to the the Downtown Beaver Dam Inc. Facebook page. The winner will receive a wagon full of prizes donated by downtown businesses.

Guests are also welcome to join in supporting Green Valley Enterprises at their 10th annual “Ham N Jam” event at the Watermark, 209 S. Center St., from 3-8 p.m. There will be raffles and silent auctions, plus food and drinks available for purchase. Live entertainment will be provided by BD Most Wanted.

Open houses with free admission will be held at the following locations:

Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Fine Arts Center, 130 W. Maple Ave., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., handicapped-accessible. Guests may view an ongoing video of building construction and remodeling, guided tours, and complimentary cookies and beverages.

Dodge County Center for the Arts, 130 W. Maple Ave., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., handicapped-accessible. The exhibit is titled The Awakening: Birds, Blossoms & Butterflies.

Northwoods Casket Company, 109 N. Lincoln Ave., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., handicapped-accessible. Tour a casket gallery featuring caskets painted by local artists. Musical entertainment will be there by historian Roger Noll’s Monarch Calliope, reproducing an instrument featured in Beaver Dam parades and at community events for several decades.

Dodge County Historical Society Museum, 105 Park Ave., noon to 4 p.m. Guests may view exhibits and artifacts from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum is housed in a rare Richardsonian Romanesque structure built in 1890, now containing a treasure trove of local objects and history.

Praise Assembly of God Church, 116 W. Maple Ave., handicapped-accessible. View the former St. Patrick’s Church, adjacent to the school which is now the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Fine Arts Center. The church is now back in use and serves a new faith community.

The Statewide Open House project is coordinated through the Main Street Wisconsin and Connect Communities programs of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

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