Time-Honored Traditions at the Lake

By Anne Morrissy | Photo credit as noted in the captions

Recently, we posted a poll to our website and asked readers, “Do you have a beloved annual summer tradition in the Geneva Lake area?” Many people responded with personal stories, charming anecdotes and tales of family activities that have been passed down generation to generation. It seems that, once you fall in love with Lake Geneva, you keep coming back through the decades.

The people who responded to our poll shared everything from their favorite on-the-water activities to their favorite annual festivals. They reminisced about beloved vintage cottages they’ve stayed in over the years and their favorite viewpoints to look out over the lake. They also frequently mentioned their favorite small pleasures and intangibles: enjoying a simple meal or an ice cream cone; observing a sunrise or sunset; or just taking the opportunity to relax and unwind with family and friends.

In this photo portfolio, we’ve chosen photos that perfectly illustrate the beloved annual Geneva Lake traditions submitted by eight of our readers. We chose these traditions because we feel they provide strong representation of the types of memories that were shared by all of our respondents. In fact, these traditions represent the types of memories shared by so many people who come back to the lake year after year, eager to revel in old traditions and to make a few new ones at the same time. What tradition will you start this year?

Every last week in July, I host my 12 dearest girlfriends at our home in ‘Fun- tana.’ These friendships began 50-plus years ago… Now we are scattered around the country. Every year we set aside four or five days to spend together, walking the Shore Path, visiting shops, bars and restaurants but mostly” laughing and enjoying our long and forever friendship. No better place than Geneva Lake.
– Ellen Soto

We have a large family — living both in Wisconsin and Illinois. Every summer we try to all get together for ‘Fontana Family Fun Day!’ Some years have had us on the [baseball] diamond at Reid Park… most years playing volleyball, building sand castles and digging on the beach and in the water at Fontana Beach, and others at our Indian Hills subdivision pier.
— Tami Burke

Venetian Fest is a tradition my family and I do not miss. The carnival rides, smell of fresh corn on the cob, funnel cakes and the electric atmosphere is what draws us to the event every year. We always enjoy the live entertainment, delicious food in town and the locals that come and enjoy the festivities. The grand finale on Sunday with the boat parade and glistening fireworks dazzle the crowd. My family and I will take our seats on our boat, have a pizza from Gino’s East and watch the show. What a great way to end a fantastic event!
— Megan Malcom

Conference Point Center has been the place to go for our family, the last week in July, for about the past 78 years. My grandmother, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins loved this scenic over-look before I came along. [We’ve been] staying in the vintage cottages and antique buildings throughout our lives. Some of our adult children attend each summer with their kids, so it seems we’re into the fourth generation of loving CPC, the glorious lake and the sound of water lapping onto the shore.
— Elizabeth Marshall

We have had a summer home in Powers Lake for five generations and have always considered a drive over to Lake Geneva a mini ‘vacation’ … walking through the town, having ice cream for dinner, taking the Mail Boat cruise … it’s so close, yet a completely different world!
— Colleen Moore

Early morning water ski runs are one of our favorite Geneva Lake traditions!
— Chelsey Knuth

Pier 219 is very near and dear to my heart. Each summer, I look forward to stepping on the pier with my bare feet. I love the feeling of the uneven, weathered boards underneath my feet. This experience immediately brings me back to my childhood growing up in Cedar Point Park. Pier 219, which is quite possibly my favorite place on earth, evokes a profound sense of appreciation for my connection
to such a beautiful area. With ” each step I take on my magical pier, I feel like I’m finally home.
— Pam Lindley

I go up to the farmers market at least once a month, usually with my Uncle Den … We have lunch at one of the fabulous local restaurants, then we take a drive over to Lake Como. My grandparents and many members of the family had summer cottages there. I grew up fishing from a rowboat, building bonfires, swimming at the beach and ” grabbing an ice cream bar on a hot day at the Blue Spruce. Great memories.
— Ellyn Annoreno

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