Winter Writers Series Begins Tomorrow

Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik Local author Karen Loeb, right, leads an adult fiction writing workshop Monday at the Volume One Gallery. The workshop is one of many events that are part of the upcoming Chippewa Valley Book Festival.

Photo by Marisa Wojcik of
author Karen Loeb leading a workshop

Since 2011 Shake Rag Alley has partnered with the Council for Wisconsin Writers (CWW), Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission through the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters to offer week-long residencies to their annual writing contest winners. During their stay, the writers participate in workshops, readings and community outreach activities.

Photo by Ben Russell

Photo by Ben Russell

The series will kick off on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 with the 2016 winner of the Wisconsin People and Ideas poetry contest, Karen Loeb. When asked to describe what we can expect, Karen wrote, ‘My presentation will be a craft talk, where I’ll read some poetry and fiction and talk about how I make decisions about which genre to write in. I will also welcome questions from people in the audience.’ Samples of her work, including her award winning poem “In the Science Museum,” can be found at

This event takes place at 7pm at Shake Rag Alley’s Lind Pavilion, located at 411 Commerce St. Participation is free and no registration is required.

Don’t miss upcoming events in the 2017 series:

John Gurda, March 8th
Ronnie Hess, March 15th
Allison Slavick, March 29th

For more information on the Winter Writer’s Series, visit our website.

Contributed by Megan Kulick, Executive Director at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

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Mineral Point Gets Lit

Come to downtown Mineral Point for the most magical weekend of the year with candlelight shopping, Santa Day at Shake Rag, the Nutcracker, chestnuts (and s’mores) roasting on an open fire, and the final Gallery Night of the year.

The town is just about ready to go.  The shops are festooned with evergreen garlands, the Homan’s Christmas tree at the top of the hill is lit, and the new light-up wreaths adorn the downtown street lights. Come Saturday at 5:00 p.m. the Mineral Point Key Club will light and distribute the luminary, and the holiday singing and shopping will begin!

Look for numerous new shops and galleries as well. In addition those mentioned in our most recent blog post “New Stores Popping Up“, check out the grand opening of Kath Whitford’s Retromantic at 148 High Street.

Most galleries and shops are showcasing special exhibits and offering complimentary treats. It’s like a series of parties and we’re all invited. Here’s a rundown of the activities, with links.

Friday, December 2, 2016

7:30 p.m. The Nutcracker kicks off its two-week engagement at the Mineral Point Opera House.

8:30 p.m. Cupola returns to the Gray Dog.

Saturday, December 3, 2016 – Gallery Night – Candlelight Shopping

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Christmas Cookie and Candy Sale at the Faith Lutheran Church, 400 Ridge Street.

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 60th Annual Holiday Fair at Trinity Episcopal Church.  Lunch and pie will be served from 10:30am-2pm.  The fair features baked goods, Christmas decorations, crafts, and more. Pie and coffee will be served all day with a raffle at 2:00 p.m.

SantaDay310:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Santa Day at Shake Rag Alley. Due to the ongoing pathway/landscape repair at Shake Rag Alley, they have moved most of the Santa Day activities, including check-in and ticket purchasing to the Lind Pavilion at 411 Commerce St. Photos with Santa (10:00 a.m. – noon) will still be in the Cabinet Shop, but you’ll need to purchase your tickets at the Lind Pavilion.

9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. The UCC Church has a “Pop Up” store at the corner of High and Chestnut that includes a holiday bake sale, handmade scarves, Christmas decor, and other gifts.

2:30-pm and 7:30pm “The Nutcracker” ballet at the Opera House.  Tickets are available at Berget’s Jewelers or online at

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. GALLERY NIGHT.   It’s the final Gallery Night of 2016 with several new places to check out in downtown Mineral Point. The candles will be lit by 5 and many of the people will be lit a little later.  Most of the stores and galleries will be open all day. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your shopping list. Check out all the Gallery Night locations here:

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Candlelight Dinner at the Red Rooster serving Prime Rib Dinner, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Alfredo, and their full menu including Fresh Pasty. If would like to make reservations you can call 608-987-9936. Ask for Patti or Tammi.

DSCN63535:30 p.m. – The MP Kiwanis will be roasting chestnuts — and s’mores — on an open fire at the corner of High and Chestnut. Donations are welcome and will go to help the Kiwanis continue their restoration of the little stone visitor house at Water Tower Park.

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Nancy Schmalz and Caleb Mitchell will play music for flute, bassoon, and piano in the old bank building, 203 High Street. Limited seating will be available. Stop in and enjoy classical music.

6:30-9:00pm Caroling on High sponsored by the Mineral Point Historical Society. Gather at Cornish Heritage Park, next to the Opera House, at 6:30 p.m. or join along at any point. Feel free to bring a songbook.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakfast at Tony’s Tap to support the T-Riders Snowmobile Club and a toy drive to support UW American Family Children’s Hospital and Iowa County Social Services.

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Winter Bazaar On the Point! at the First United Methodist Church at the top of High Street includes a silent auction, cake walk, baked goods, sundaes, a chance to win wonderful prizes and a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

2:30 p.m. The Nutcracker

Festive shopping continues.  The sidewalk will be decked out with un-lit, wax-encrusted luminaria. Most shops and galleries are open on Sundays (all year!)

Make a weekend of it and get a room in one of the many charming guest houses in Mineral Point.

It should be a busy, fun weekend!

-Contributed by Lisa Hay

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New Stores Are Popping Up

Mineral Point has been fortunate to attract several new small retail businesses in the past year. This Saturday, when you come to town for Small Business Saturday here are some of the new faces and places to explore.

We’ll start at the top of High Street and work our way down.

img_1577The Glimmering Prize, 265 High Street (formerly the Pfotenhauer Law Firm) offers an interesting array of vintage, collectibles, objects and adornments. This shop and studio of Lorraine Reynolds (shown at left) will be open every weekend from now until the end of the year.

Windy Ridge Pottery, 262 High Street (see Windy Ridge Blows Into Town) is the downtown outlet of potters Joe and Christie Cole. Their locally crafted, everyday pottery makes a perfect gift for any occasion.

img_1582The Board Shoppe at the Green Lantern Studio, 261 High Street is Laura Cisler’s pop-up store (shown at right) featuring handmade tables, wood signs, and “eclectibles.”

bdaa3e71-2501-4393-9209-a9a7b93ac87aRobert Clements Studio, 237 High Street is an art gallery showcasing Robert’s photography and many fish assemblages, carvings, and fish on sticks. Robert is shown at left holding a fish that is no longer available because I purchased it, but he has many more to choose from.

Sugar Row, 234 High Street, is the working studio and gallery of painters Lorna Fillipini and Clyde Paton, in the newly remodeled building that had been M Studio for many years.  They will not be open this Saturday, but plan to be open for the December 3rd Gallery Night when they will feature the work of Bill Grover.

Cyndy’s Fudge and Ice Cream Shop, 231 High Street (see Fudge, and Ice Cream, and Pie Oh My!) serves up homemade fudge and pies. They also offer ice cream and other treats.

Deeconstruct, Recycled Fun – 214 High Street (see New Addition to High Street — Dee Construct) is the recycling assemblage emporium of Dee Hooks. Her shop also carries antiques, vintage goods and supplies for other mixed media artists.

14713642_1777282425822751_2362047023804770169_nAinsley Anderson and Sharon Rowe have transformed their antique shop at 315 Commerce Street. It is now called Driftless Kids, an adorable little shop focusing on toys, books and puzzles for kids. They also still have some antiques. Get there now before those are all gone.

Popolo Pizza 20 Commerce Street, (read We The Popolo) is a perfect pizza destination if you like hand-tossed pizza baked in a wood burning oven. If you have not met owners Sean Henninger and Wendy Dueling who moved here from Milwaukee over the summer, stop down and say hi.

While this Saturday is a good excuse to check out these new businesses and pop up stores (and to visit all your old favorites) the fact is you don’t need a holiday to get out and support the small businesses of Mineral Point.

Here in Mineral Point it’s more like Small Business Everyday.

Contributed by Lisa Hay

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We Lost A Little Magic

Roland Sardeson died over the weekend, and we’re going to miss him.

In typical Roland fashion, he wrote his own obituary.  As he said “What could go wrong?”  Click here to read it.

There’s a website where you can share your memories and photos of Roland —

In an effort to find pictures to share on the Roland website, I looked through past issues of High Street Beat.

No other person has been featured or mentioned in this blog more often than Roland. It couldn’t be helped. He kept doing things that were blog-worthy.

Let’s start with Roland in various parades.




He was a local celebrity.

Remember when this was a billboard?


Even when he played a dead guy in Uncle Willie’s Wake, he was riveting – staying in character as guests started kissing him.


Roland didn’t need a stage to perform.  The entire town was his stage.

He was Scrooge during last December’s Gallery Night.


He was Allen Ludden at the Password Tournament.


He wore a straight jacket and surprised dinner guests by launching into Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart at the Walker House.

He made Mineral Point even more beautiful by building and preserving stone walls all over town.




On a nice day you could find him reading on his roof.


A Marine who served in Vietnam, Roland re-worked the Veteran’s Memorial in town so that people could walk up to it and read the names of the fallen. As he states in his obituary, his service in Vietnam was the “seminal event in my life on which all other things are partially based.”


His studio on Commerce Street, was a curiosity.  He would leave the door wide open even when he was gone. How many tourists wandered in there and wondered what was going on?

Here you see him posing in his studio with a pot he made and in the background you can see the partially constructed Little Free Library that now graces Water Tower Park.


He took the concept of the Little Free Libraries to a new level.



There are at least nine of his libraries around town and they are the best – complete with hidden compartments and details you will only see if you open them up and explore.




One freezing winter he decorated the corner of High and Commerce with giant ice votives.


He decorated himself for Valentine’s Day.


The Wisconsin State Journal accurately described Roland as “the Spirit of Mineral Point.” Parades won’t be the same. The corner of High and Commerce won’t be the same. Gallery Night won’t be the same. High Street Beat won’t be the same. The Nutcracker won’t be the same (but it will still be great and you should go).

The town has lost some magic.

Of course his closest friends and those lucky enough to know him for decades will feel the loss the hardest. But, for the rest of us, there’s a sadness in knowing he won’t be roaming around town. You never knew what character he would be or where you would see him.  But, it was always a fantastic surprise. He embodied all that was good and special about Mineral Point.

Roland will be remembered on April 20, 2017 at the Lind Pavilion. Until then, go to to share your photos and memories.

-Contributed by Lisa Hay

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At The 11th Hour

Today, at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we gather to honor our veterans.


They sacrificed so that we may enjoy our freedom and exercise our rights.

img_1462 We are fortunate and thankful for their service.

-Contributed by Lisa Hay

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