About the Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival
2022 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival. The five-day Festival runs from August 17th-21st and takes place at Flat Iron, Library, and Seminary Parks in picturesque downtown Lake Geneva.
Venetian Festival features a weekend of great family entertainment including a Craft Fair, Carnival, Water ski show, local cuisine including a brat stand and beer tent. This is all capped off on Sunday with a traditional Venetian Style lighted boat parade followed by the area’s largest fireworks display high above Geneva Lake.
The Lake Geneva Jaycees Annual Venetian Festival was founded in 1962. For over a half century, Venetian Festival has been the banner event for the Lake Geneva Jaycees Chapter. It represents the largest revenue generator for the club. The net profits all go back into the local community and organizations. As Venetian Festival has grown over the years, so have the donations from the Jaycees. Some of the organizations that continue to benefit from the proceeds are:
The Lake Geneva Police D, The Lake Geneva Fire Dept., Geneva Lakes YMCA, Badger High School Scholarships, Cub Scouts, United Way, and Big Brother’s Big Sisters, Beat the Heat, VIP Services, Special Olympics Dream Team, Adult Special Olympics, WC Food Pantry, Lake Geneva Food Pantry, SMILES, Side by Side, Geneva Lake Water Safety Patrol, Habitat For Humanity.
The annual event draws tens of thousands of people throughout the five-day festival, which greatly exceeds the population of Lake Geneva. Visitors from all over the US attend regularly.
About the Lake Geneva Jaycees, Incorporated
The Lake Geneva Jaycees Club was founded and incorporated in 1962. We are the premier organization in the Geneva Lakes area and have grown to be the largest Jaycee chapter in the state. The LG Jaycees are an active organization of 21-41 year old members who devote a portion of their time to community service in the interest of becoming better community leaders. Our website is located at https://www.lakegenevajaycees.org
The purpose of the Lake Geneva Jaycees is to become a force for good in the community, determining community needs and providing solutions by planning and facilitating community service projects. In the act of serving, members receive hands-on-experience, which translates to the enhancement of personal growth and the development of valuable leadership skills. Since its inception the Lake Geneva Jaycees have worked hard to help give back to the community. With the creation of the Jaycees Venetian Festival on Geneva Lake in 1962, the Lake Geneva Jaycees have been able to raise funds to provide for a variety of community related projects and programs designed to help our neighbors and residents!
The Lake Geneva Jaycees are a 501 (c) (4), non-profit corporation that is a fully sanctioned chapter of the Wisconsin State JCI (Jaycees/United States Junior Chamber). We are a civic organization that raises money through various annual fund raising events, community events and member contributions. The revenue we derive each year is given back to our community in the form of various donations.
About Jaycees (JCI)
The United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) gives young people between the ages of 21 and 41 the tools they need to build the bridges of success for themselves in the areas of business development, management skills, individual training, community service, and individual connections. The U.S. Junior Chamber is a non-profit corporation/organization as described under IRS code 501.
Established in 1920 to provide opportunities for young men to develop personal and leadership skills through service to others, the Jaycees later expanded to include women, reflecting the growing influence and leadership of women in America.
Since 1915, Jaycees have been a force for good in America and around the World. Jaycees helped established Airmail services in America with Jaycee Charles Lindbergh, and have raised millions of dollars for causes such as The Muscular Dystrophy Association and The March of Dimes. They have built parks, playgrounds, hospitals, ball fields, and housing for the elderly while conducting service and support programs in thousands of communities nationwide. Jaycees can be found in all walks of life: governmental leaders such as Past Presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, business tycoons such as Domino’s Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan, registered nurse and former Miss America Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, sports heroes like basketball great Larry Bird – name the field and Jaycees can be found at the forefront. With the focus of the nation on volunteerism, from the smallest towns to the largest cities, the Jaycees are enlarging areas of opportunity for young people.
Fund Raising Events
Venetian Festival started by the Lake Geneva Jaycees in 1962 is an annual Festival that includes a Carnival, Craft Fair, Live Entertainment, great food and fun for people of all ages. Venetian Festival is the banner event for the Lake Geneva Jaycees chapter and only event that is REQUIRED FOR ALL MEMBERS to participate in to be a member. It represents the largest revenue generator for the club, the net profits of which all go back into the local community and organizations. The five day festival draws tens of thousands of people, far surpassing the population of Lake Geneva. Visitors from all over the U.S. attend regularly. As Venetian has grown over the years, so too have the donations from the Jaycees.
The annual Lake Geneva Jaycees Pig Roast is an event in which we have teamed up with a local business to fundraise for our many community projects and other great causes in the Lakes Area. Jaycees run this event and charge a fee to cover dinner, supplies and prizes. This event features silent auction items as well as donated items from local businesses as raffle items.
The annual Lake Geneva Jaycees Ducktoberfest is an event in which we co-sponsor with a local restaurant during an Oktoberfest celebration. Jaycees run this event and sell raffle tickets to cover expenses and awards all while fund raising. This event features a rubber duck race in the Lake Geneva Spillway and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are awarded a cash prize.
Some of the organizations that have benefitted from the proceeds derived from all of the fund raising events are:
The Lake Geneva Police Department, The Lake Geneva Fire Department, Geneva Lakes YMCA, Badger High School Scholarships, United Way of Walworth County, Big Brother’s Big Sister’s, Beat the Heat, VIP Services, Special Olympics Dream Team, Walworth County Food Pantry, Lake Geneva Food Pantry, Head Start, Side-by-Side, Lake Geneva Street Department, just to name a few.
Community Events Sponsored and Funded by the Lake Geneva Jaycees
Each year the Lake Geneva Jaycees donate several thousand dollars in order to purchase gifts for needy families throughout our community. Our annual Christmas Generosity event takes place in December. Jaycee members along with their families shop for these families at area stores. We purchase both clothing and toys for the children and that is just the beginning.
The Jaycees have a wrapping party once all the shopping is done. All the presents are carefully wrapped and tagged by the Jaycees and their families. Finally the Jaycees deliver the presents to the families. The Lake Geneva Jaycees Christmas Generosity Program takes place in conjunction with the Joint Lake Geneva School District and the Head Start Program.
Thanksgiving Generosity has been a part of the Jaycees contributions to the Lake Geneva and Walworth County Food Pantries since 1988. The Jaycee’s help local families by purchasing food and delivering it to the areas to food pantries for distribution to those in need. Over 100 Turkey’s, multiple hundreds of can goods, potatoes and stuffing are shared with families throughout the Geneva Lakes area. The Jaycees desire to give back to the community boosts the spirits and fills the bellies of many in our community.
Safety Town is an early childhood safety education program designed for children who are at least 5 years of age and who are entering 5K kindergarten in the fall. During the 15 hour program (3 hours per day for 5 days), children learn safety behavior under the guidance of certified teachers and qualified professionals, such as Firefighters and Police personnel. Children learn safety lessons through role play, games, art projects, stories, movie and field trips. Learning experiences are designed to be fun and non-threatening, so children look forward to every day of Safety Town. The program has been in existence in Lake Geneva since 1978. The Lake Geneva Jaycees sponsor this event and provide the Town Buildings, Big Wheels, and other equipment used to run the event. The Jaycees also store this equipment and refurbish it annually or as needed.
The Lake Geneva Jaycees Annual Sandbox Fill is a great event designed to get community sandboxes ready for spring. In coordination with local businesses, we deliver sand to families for FREE! Community members simply sign up online using our website. Lake Geneva Jaycee members provide their own time, vehicles, and manpower while the chapter pays for sand and other materials such as shovels, wheel barrows, and rakes. Sponsor businesses also provide sand and transport on occasion.
Every year in September, since 2006, the Alzheimer’s Association sponsors the Walworth County Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The three mile walk begins at Library Park in Lake Geneva at 8:30am and concludes with a cookout, massages, and prizes. Since inception, the Lake Geneva Jaycees have sponsored the cookout by providing members from the club to grill and wrap hotdogs; given FREE of charge to walk participants. Jaycee members and families sometimes represent the Lake Geneva Jaycee’s team by fundraising and walking in the event. Each walker is encouraged to raise $100 in donations. This is a fun event and assists an amazing cause!
The Jaycees Fall Golf Outing is an annual event held in the fall of each year. This event is dual purpose. We are able to promote the Jaycees within the community, as well as help strengthen our membership by inviting potential new members and roostered Jaycees to join us. Additionally, it helps us to bolster relationships with our many vendors and donors that help us throughout the year at our various other fundraising events.
This event is kicked off by a 12:30PM Shotgun Start. There are a number of added twists throughout the day including paying for mulligans, teeing off from the ladies tee box, closest to pin contest, shortest drive contest, etc., which all add to the fun. This is a PAID event, meaning, members and their guests are required to pay for their golf, which includes 18 holes and dinner, prizes and fun after the golf game. Prizes and silent auction items are donated by various vendors.
The Jaycees annual Fall Downing takes place every year in October/November as a recruitment event. This event consists of a large bonfire and chili cook off competition. This social engagement helps with our Post-Venetian membership drive. Members provide food, beverages, and the location for the event. Jaycees spend the entire year volunteering time to clear brush or downed trees in the community and then those items are used for the bonfire.
The Lake Geneva Jaycees Annual Easter Egg Hunt take place at Seminary Park in Lake Geneva. The Hunt Begins promptly at 10:30AM. Event information and age groups are listed below. This event takes place rain, snow, or shine. The Lake Geneva Jaycees provide manpower, all candy, stuffed eggs, and prizes secured with assistance from community donations. You’ll even see a visit from the real Easter Bunny! There is a FREE raffle capping the event where kids hope for a chance of selecting one of many full Easter baskets. This event draws over 600 kids in the Lakes Area and is one of Lake Geneva’s largest community events exclusively sponsored and run by the Lake Geneva Jaycees.
- Event Information:
- Date: Saturday before Easter
- Location: Seminary Park in Lake Geneva
- Time: 10:30AM Sharp (hunt begins) raffle follows the hunt
- The age groups are 0-2 (with or without help), 3-4, 5-7, and 8-10
- Jaycee members hide over 3000 eggs in the park for the kids.
- Eggs are filled with candy and prizes for each age group!
- In the event of snow or other inclement weather the Easter Egg Hunt is held at the Geneva Lakes YMCA on Wells Street, next to Culvers.
Sponsored by the Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival Committee, this annual event is used to bring our entire club together, both past (Roostered) and present members alike. The event is used to motivate and organize our annual Lake Geneva Jaycees Venetian Festival fundraising event. Attendance is required and sign-up sheets for manpower shifts at the Venetian Festival are provided, as well as member shirts for the coming year. Membership dues are required at this time or at the Kickoff event to Venetian Festival. This event takes place at a member owned or donated property of the clubs choosing. Members provide food, games and entertainment for this event.
Sponsored by the Lake Geneva Jaycees Membership committee, this annual event promotes team building exercises, fitness and an opportunity to entertain new members to our Chapter. Participants both past and present as well as prospective members use the valuable resource of Geneva Lake or local rivers to canoe for fun and fellowship. The canoes are member owned or donated and members are responsible for their own food and beverages.
Christmas Celebration (formerly known as Winter Formal)
Jaycees annual Christmas Celebration brings Jaycee members past and present, as well as their spouses or significant others, together for this formal dinner and gift exchange. Board members are recognized for their achievements and dedication to the mission of the Jaycees. The event includes dinner and entertainment, members are required to pay admission for themselves and one guest.
Christmas Caroling has become a favorite event of many in the Chapter in recent years. Just a week or two before Christmas each year, the Jaycees commission a charter bus to tour local nursing facilities in Lake Geneva. The spirit is alive when this large group of Jaycees and their families sing carols of the season to those that may find themselves in critical care. Faces light up in the residents and staff of the facilities during this annual tradition.
In coordination with the Lake Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Geneva Jaycees provide much needed manpower for the annual Christmas Parade. This event takes place the first Saturday in December as is kicked off by pre-parade social. Members then head out to organize and release upwards of 100 floats for the parade in traditional Jaycees style. The event is capped by a post-parade social event.
Roostering – Removal of Aged out Members
Individual Jaycees “age out” when their membership year ends following their 41st birthday. In the past, the friendly term “Exhausted Rooster” was used for such individuals, who had completed their Jaycee careers. Some remain available to assist their former organizations through advising on request, acting as a trainer and being present at organization functions. Recently, the Exhausted Rooster has given way to the gender-neutral term “Jaycee Graduate” or ROOSTER. The Roostering event consists of a dinner and Roast of those member(s) aging out of the Chapter. The event is funded by requiring members to pay for their dinner on the day of the event. This fee also covers the venue/hall and any awards that may be given.
The annual Installation Banquet is used to swear in the new Board Elect and summarize the past year. It consists of dinner, cocktails, swear in ceremony, and musical entertainment. Awards are presented to the current and past members for: Rookie of the Year, Jaycee of the Quarter and Year, Officer’s Award, Chairman’s Award, and Lifetime Achievement. This is a formal event and members who attend are required to pay a fee to cover dinner and refreshments. Tickets to the event are for sale and open to any Jaycee, past or present, and spouse or significant other. Current and Board Elect members attendance is required.