License to Cruise, Octoberfest, Bazaar After Dark returning to Fox Cities

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 10:29 AM CDT|Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:01 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - As more people get vaccinated, masks are lifted and life returns to normal, Appleton is getting a License to Cruise. The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce announced the return of three popular Fox Cities events: Bazaar After Dark in Neenah and the License to Cruise and Octoberfest in Appleton.

Bazaar After Dark will be held on S. Commercial St. on July 28.

License to Cruise and Octoberfest will be held September 24 and 25 along downtown College Avenue.

The events were announced before, but the Chamber was taking a wait-and-see approach as it monitored the COVID-19 situation and discussed the events with public and private health systems.

Chamber President/CEO Becky Bartoszek said, “The decision to move forward with these events was not one we took lightly, as we know the pandemic and efforts to mitigate the virus have followed an unpredictable timeline... But we know that these celebrations also play a tremendous role in our community’s health. There was a lot of strong, positive will toward making them happen.”

Downtown Appleton business owners especially are excited.

Pat Murray of Murray Photo & Video said, “I think there’s a lot of people excited it’s back on. Seems like we’re getting back to normal now anyway -- with whatever that meant before -- but I’m glad to see it get people back downtown and see what’s down here again; that’s great.”

Those events can also bring in new customers.

“Our business is down 50-55 percent last year. So, we always look forward to those days when a lot of people come downtown, because when people come downtown they like to spend money especially after they’ve had a few beers. So Joseph’s Shoes, Octoberfest, why not,” said Perry VanderLoop of Joseph’s Shoes.

Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert says Bazaar After Dark will happen just as the city council considers a revitalization plan for the area.

“This is good timing. It’s good for the community, it’s good for the South Commercial Street business district because this is going to showcase this area of the city, bring in thousands of people. By then, we’re hopeful that COVID will be hopefully behind us,” added Kaufert.

Mile of Music in Appleton is also coming back in-person this year. Organizer Dave Willems tells Action 2 News a formal announcement is expected later this month as they work out the “size and scope and protocols.” In previous years, the music festival has brought dozens of musicians from around the country to perform at venues indoors and outdoors, large and small.

Follow updates on Bazaar After Dark on Facebook at

Follow updates on Octoberfest/License to Cruise at

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