August 2015
taste of portage logo Taste of Portage preview

The big summer event is almost here! Make room for tasty samples of menu items served up by our local restaurants and non-profit organizations at the Taste of Portage Market Fair on August 21 & 22.


In addition to great food, this 24th installment features more than 40 craft vendors, car show, camel rides and a petting zoo featuring barnyard animals, kid's activities, Summer Sidewalk Sales & more. Here is a complete schedule of events:


Friday, August 21 at Market Square

Food Court/Beer Tent at 5pm with live music by Best Practice at 6pm  

followed by Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo at 8:30pm  


Saturday, August 22 at Market Square

Food Court/Beer Tent from 10am to 4pm

Music by Universal Sound Band at 10am and The Swing Crew at 1pm  


Kidville (in front of Wilz Drug) from 11am to 3pm

   Open Arms Child Development Kid's Creation Station,  

   Balloon Creations by Lochlan the Magician 

Kids Tractor Pedal Pull at 1pm


in Downtown

Sidewalk Sales 

Art & Craft Vendors on DeWitt St. from 9am to 4pm

Car & Truck Show on Cook St. from 9am to 3pm

Camel Rides & Petting Zoo from 10am to 3pm 

Music by Dixie Sizzlers from 11am to 2pm


The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking donations to help cover the cost of this event. Please call the Chamber at 608-742-6242.


Thank You Sponsors!

City of Portage Tourism                                     

Portage National Bank  

Blau Chiropractic             

Cardinal Glass

Picha Funeral Home 

Weaver Auto Parts

Don-Rick Insurance 

Crawford Oil & Propane


Wisconsin River Title

Bindl Chiropractic 

Wilz Drug

Portage Motors
August Business Luncheon

The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is offering another way to network with your fellow Chamber members and make those important connections that can help you in your business or career.   

Our next business luncheon will feature Karrie Landsverk of AmericanWay University discussing the topic 'Sifting Through the Generational Drama at Work...Reviving the Fascination We Once Had for Our Differences' at B & B Hitching Post. Lunch is at 11:30 with the presentation at Noon.


Karrie will unlock the secrets to understanding each generation and focus specifically on how to connect and engage the youngest working generation-the Millennial. You will leave this program with a better understanding of how to:

* Understand Generational Differences as a Strength

* Learn How to Connect With and Motivate Each Generation, especially the Millennial generation

* Increase Collaboration Across Generations

* Empower Teams to Delegate According to Generational Strengths and Interests


Bring your business cards, brochures, or anything you wish to share with other members. Please register with the Portage Chamber, 608-742-6242, prior to attending.

Chamber seeking new fountain for Bridal Pond 

The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking funds to bring a new fountain back to Bridal Pond at Pauquette Park.  


It has been about 2 years that a fountain has appeared at Pauquette Park, which serves as the setting for Concert in the Park featuring the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, an event that marked 23 years this summer. The park is also noted for hosting family reunions, picnics, weddings and more. The fountain and bridges that span the pond have appeared in generations of wedding and senior high photographs.


Estimates for a new fountain are believed to be at least $6,500. The Portage Parks & Recreation Department started the contributions to this project by contributing the installation and maintenance of the fountain. The Portage Service Club Association has issued a matching donation for funds raised up to $3,000. Members of the Service Club Association, consist of the Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Optimists and Chamber.


Contributions can be sent payable to the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce (memo: fountain) and mailed to 104 W. Cook St., Portage, WI 53901. Call the Portage Chamber at 608-742-6242 with any questions.


2016 Community Guide & Member Directory  
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is planning the 2016 Community Guide & Membership Directory. Your opportunity to advertise in the guide is right around the corner. The guide may be the first exposure your business receives from those relocating to our community and those visiting our community. This year, we are increasing the number of guides printed to 20,000.

Many of you are familiar with our advertising representative, Jacklyn Ewerdt, who has sold advertising for our guides in the past. She will be contacting our members
beginning Monday, August 3. We hope to have the new guides out in March 2016. For more information, call the Portage Chamber office at 608-742-6242.  
Concert in the Park recap
The 23rd Concert in the Park was a wonderful event on all accounts: attendance, the weather and the performances. The event, held on a Friday evening for the first time, featured the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the 132nd Army Badger Brass Ensemble, and local musician Madison Malone. The evening closed with a beautiful fireworks display over the Wisconsin River.

Many thanks to our volunteers, sponsors and contributors for another great event. We look forward to another stellar concert evening next summer.

Welcome New Chamber Members 

Columbia County Humane Society 

 N7768 Industrial Road    Portage, WI 53901

Susan Bratcher at 608-742-3666

Caring for and ensuring the well-being of the homeless animals at our shelter. 



Portage ranked in top third of places to start a business in Wisconsin

Entrepreneurs who want to start a successful business can look to Portage as a place to call home. Portage placed 35th out of 118 places in Wisconsin, each with a population of at least 5,000, in recent analysis conducted by NerdWallet, a personal finance information service.


The top third finish in this analysis brings more great accolades to Portage. Our community is currently competing as a finalist in the America's Best Communities competition and was recently named the 12th Safest Community in Wisconsin.


The overall score for each location was based on its business climate and economic health using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Other factors included average revenue of businesses, percentage of businesses with paid employees, businesses per 100 people, median annual income, median annual housing costs, and unemployment rate.


Details can be found at  

summit credit union

Summit Credit Union named in top 200 list 

Summit Credit Union was just named to the 2015 edition of the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in America, according to annual rankings by


Each year evaluates the financial health of every federally insured credit union in the United States - more than 6,600 total. Each institution is graded on a number of factors, including capitalization, deposit growth, and loan to reserve ratios, in order to determine a comprehensive health score.


From the list of 6,655 credit unions, recognizes those who have shown exceptional fiduciary responsibility in its 2015 edition of the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in America. A more detailed breakdown of Summit Credit Union's score may be found in the health section of its dedicated page here.

Artisan Foodie adds new product line

The Artisan Foodie, located inside the The Mercantile at 117 W. Cook St., is pleased to announce that they proudly carry products from The River Bakery.


The River Bakery, started in Madison in 2013, got its start by offering The River Food Pantry clients valuable job training and placement services, allowing graduates to escape poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. All products are made completely from scratch using only the finest ingredients.


For more information, call The Artisan Foodie, at 608-577-7110. 

Looking for a Hot Deal? See our list!   

Check out our Hot Deals webpage for deals our Chamber members are offering. Have a Hot Deal of your own you want others to know about? Post your deals on our webpage and join the Hot Deal brigade! There is no charge for posting a Hot Deal, so post away!  If you have questions, call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242 to get started.

Click here to see the specials that are currently running from Soul Shine Spa, Amalgam, HealthSource of Portage, and Pizza Ranch!

New Location for Head 2 Toe Salon

Head 2 Toe Salon has moved to a new location at 321 W. Conant St., just north of St. Mary Church & School. "We are very excited and look forward to continuing to serve the Portage community," said owner DeAnn Tollefson. "We can't wait for you to see our new digs!"

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 608-745-4935.
Wood Stone Pizza Company has new owner
Candice Thome has taken ownership of Wood Stone Pizza Company. We welcome Candace to the Portage business community. For more information, call 608-697-3532.
Soul Shine Spa
Attention teachers and school faculty getting ready for the school year ahead: Soul Shine Spa is running a special in the month of August for all the teachers and school faculty. Just show proof of employment with the school district and receive $10 off any service. 

The spa is located at 228 W. Wisconsin St. in downtown. For more information about their services, call 608-697-5520.  

Ribbon Cuttings 

Progress continues on the Columbia County Bike Loop routes. Nearly all signage marking the routes is erected.

The Columbia County Silent Sports Trails Committee held a ribbon cutting at their July meeting in Rio along a portion of Loop #7 to celebrate all the work the committee has done on the Bike Loop project. The committee members' work has
contributed to tourism by
encouraging cycling enthusiasts to explore the various communities of the county, including Portage, where 3 routes originate and link to other routes.  

There is plenty of summer left to get out and enjoy riding! Those possessing the motivation to complete all the routes can submit their names to the Portage Chamber. Their accomplishment will be validated for all to see on a page dedicated to the Bike Loops on our Chamber website.

Click here for the Bike Loops maps and description of the routes.. A link to Columbia County Bike

Portage Chamber August Meeting and Events 

4   Business Luncheon at B & B Hitching Post     11:30 (speaker at noon)

5   Ribbon Cutting at Head 2 Toe Salon   10am 

11   Business After 5 at The Mercantile hosted by Downtown Portage Inc.5pm-7pm
13   Ribbon Cutting at City Hall for Portage - Dementia Friendly Community   3pm

21-22   Taste of Portage Market Fair 

welcome home sew logo The Welcome Home Sew-N-Vac classes
Click here for a schedule of August classes at The Welcome Home Sew-N-Vac, located at 118 E. Cook St.  Call 608-566-1663 for more information.

crawford oil

Crawford Oil customer appreciation 

Crawford Oil is hosting their annual Customer Appreciation Day on Friday, August 14 at the Fort BP, located at W8630 Highway 33 East. There will be free food, music, activities for kids, prizes, and specials in store. Donations are welcomed and all proceeds will go to River Haven Homeless Shelter.  


Crawford Oil and Propane thanks customers and the community for 80 years of business.

Downtown Walking Tours

It's your last chance to take the free one-hour Downtown Walking Tour with local historian Judy Eulberg this summer!  


Meet her at the Chamber office, 104 W. Cook St., at 10am on Saturday, August 1.


Portage Theatre Summer Series
Portage Theatres 50 cent Summer Morning Movie Schedule
All shows are at 10am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays.

Movies will be shown August 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20.
For more information, call Portage Theatres, 322 Wisconsin St., at 608-742-6678.

Kiwanis Ride to Read fundraiser 

Register now for the Kiwanis Ride to Read bike ride fundraiser happening on Saturday, August 8.

The Metric Century fundraiser pedals through scenic Amish country with four routes available. The proceeds of this fundraiser will be used to purchase books for kids.  


The event includes continental breakfast, refreshment stops in route, detailed route map, complimentary gift and SAG wagon if needed. Ride carefully marked and mapped routes on low traffic roads through Columbia, Marquette and Green Lake Counties.

pierces logo

Rib Fest at Pierce's Market Place 

Reserve your ribs now! $10 for a full rack of ribs, hot or cold, and slathered in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce upon request. Pierce's is located at 2915 New Pinery Road and Rib Fest runs from 11am to 6pm on August 6. Call your order in advance to the Rib Hotline at 608-742-2481.

Complete your Meal! Reser's Potato Salad - 16oz. for $2 and 7-Up products - 2 Liter for $1.  

Summer Meals at the Portage Library

Free summer meals for kids and teens 18 and under served through August 13 at 

Portage Public Library, 253 West Edgewater St., from 11am to 11:45am and at Goodyear Park, 1100 MacFarlane Road, from 12:15pm to 1pm.

Meals based on USDA nutrition guidelines and no application or proof of income needed.

For more information contact:

Shannon Schultz Portage Public Library 608-742-4959

Pastor Dave Hankins Portage Presbyterian Church 608-742-6006

Karen Nelson UW-Extension Columbia County 608-742-9684

portage center for the arts

'Raise the Roof" gets new partner   

Portage Pizza Ranch is teaming up with Portage Center for the Arts to host a month-long fundraiser for the PCA roof project. The 'Raise the Roof' campaign  was started to collect the funding necessary to replace the PCA roof, which is in need of replacement.   


Everyone who chooses to eat at Pizza Ranch, 2905 New Pinery Road, during the month of September will be helping to "raise the roof" for the PCA. For more information about this partnership event, call Pizza Ranch at 608-566-1750.  

Portage TRIAD Pork Roast

Enjoy this Annual Pork Roast Fundraiser at Wal-Mart on Saturday, August 1 from 10am to 2pm at Wal-Mart. Purchase a pulled pork sandwich! The funds raised are used to host educational events for Senior Citizens. 

Blood Drive at Blau Chiropractic 

Many people want to give back to the community, but may not have a lot of time to volunteer. The American Red Cross reminds eligible individuals that in only about an hour, volunteer blood donors can help save lives and feel instant gratification.


The Blau Family Chiropractic Blood Drive will be held on Saturday, August 22 from 9am to 1pm at Blau Chiropractic, 641 Latton Lane. To register, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.  


All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

st. mary logo St. Mary School Golf Outing 

Please join us for a day of fun at the St. Mary School Golf Outing on Sunday, August 9 at the Portage Country Club! Golf registration starts at 11am and golf starts at 1pm. Dinner is open to anyone and will be served at 5:30pm with an auction beginning at 6pm.   


This year we will be offering a hole in one prize, 50/50 raffles on the course, silent auction, door prizes and Travis Hamele of United Country Realty and Auction will be auctioning off some great experiences. All proceeds benefit the St. Mary School Technology Fund and the Patti Quigley Memorial scholarship.


Register to golf or to sponsor online at or contact Haley Gilman at [email protected] for forms and more information.

Give Portage Green Gift Certificates
Portage Green Gift Certificates make an excellent gift. Used just like cash, the certificates can be purchased from the Portage Chamber in $5, $10 and $25 increments. Recipients of the Portage Green may redeem them at these participating Chamber member businesses. By buying Portage Green Gift Certificates, you are helping to boost local business by keeping thousands of dollars right here in Portage. For more information, call the Chamber at 608-742-6242.

Got News?

What is your business up to? Pass along information and corresponding photos to [email protected] and let us help spread the word about the great things your business or organization is doing. The deadline is the 20th of each month. 

August Community Events
Spread the word about your events by posting them on our website!
1   Last Downtown Walking Tour of 2015
1   Portage TRIAD Pork Roast Fundraiser
2   Bingo at the VFW
3   Carson & Barnes Circus at Veteran's Memorial Field
4   Movie in the Park at Sunset Park
4   Chamber Business Luncheon at B & B Hitching Post
4   Tuesday Running Group
5   Ribbon Cutting at Head 2 Toe Salon
5   Concerts at the Portage behind the VFW
6   Portage Farmers Market at Commerce Plaza
6   Rib Fest at Pierce's Market Place
8   Kiwanis Ride 2 Read Fundraiser
8   Portage City Flea Market
9   St. Mary School Golf Outing at Portage Country Club
11   Business After 5 hosted by Downtown Portage Inc. at The Mercantile
11   Tuesday Running Group
12   Concerts at the Portage behind the VFW
13   Portage Farmers Market at Commerce Plaza
13   Ribbon Cutting at City Hall to celebrate Portage as Dementia Friendly Community
14   Crawford Oil & Propane Customer Appreciation at Fort BP
15   Zona Gale Celebrates Friendship Village
15   Silver Lake Triathlon
15   Music Fest at Lawton Field
16   Bingo at the VFW
18   Tuesday Running Group
19   Concerts at the Portage behind the VFW
20   Portage Farmers Market at Commerce Plaza
21-22   Taste of Portage Market Fair at Market Square and downtown
22   Pink Ribbon Angels Golf Outing at Pine Trail Golf Club
22   Blau Family Chiropractic Blood Drive
22   Live Music at the Corner Pocket
26   Portage Memory Cafe at Portage Public Library
26   Concerts at the Portage behind the VFW
27   Portage Farmers Market
31   Portage Sharing Supper at Rusch Elementary

For more information about these and other events, go to 

Organizing an event or having a sale?

Submit your event or sale to us and have it appear on the Chamber website calendar of events.You may enter your event by clicking here. Please note: Your submission will take a while to appear as the Chamber office first reviews the submissions before approving them to appear on the web calendar. For more information, please call our office 608-742-6242.

The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is providing leadership for
 building a healthy economy and a high quality of life in the Portage Area.
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NEWS BREAK is a monthly publication of the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce.  Please contact the Chamber if you have news about your business that you would like to include in the next issue. 
 Our deadline is the 20th of the month.  Email your news to [email protected].