Wisconsin Adventure Family

“Lady Liberty Returns to Lake Mendota: A Celebrated Tradition in Madison, Wisconsin”

Even though Wisconsin is known for having harsh winters, the state also hosts some of the most exciting winter festivities. The annual Lady Liberty on Frozen Lake festival, which takes place on the frozen lake Mendota, is one of Wisconsin’s most well-known winter events. Numerous travelers come to this festival from all over the state due to its long history and distinctive traditions. 

Lady Liberty is a unique emblem of Madison, Wisconsin, among its citizens. The famous monument returns to Lake Mendota each year, bringing excitement and joy to the neighborhood. The annual Lady Liberty celebration is always scheduled for the second weekend of February.

The Pail and Shovel Party, organized by former UW–Madison students Leon Varjian and Jim Mallon, started the Statue of Liberty tradition in 1979 as a practical joke. The party ran on a platform of bringing the Statue of Liberty to Madison if they were elected to the Wisconsin Student Association. After winning an election, They promised to deliver Lady Liberty to Madison. Following a successful election, they kept their word and erected a Styrofoam Lady Liberty head, arm, and torch on Lake Mendota on February 22, 1979.

Since then, the Wisconsin Union team has carried on the custom by substituting an inflatable Lady Liberty with her head, arm, and torch for the Styrofoam statue. The inflatable monument is a tribute to Madison residents’ resourcefulness and imagination for maintaining the tradition for over 40 years.

Lady Liberty’s return to Lake Mendota is a highly anticipated event that draws people from around the city. The statue is a reminder of the ideals the United States upholds, serving as a symbol of freedom and hope. Whether you live nearby or just pass through Madison for the weekend, taking your picture with Lady Liberty is a must-do activity.

You’ll want to dress warmly to enjoy the Lady Liberty event at Lake Mendota fully.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Wear a heavy coat like a parka or insulated jacket to keep yourself warm.
  • Dress in layers, including a warm sweater, thermal shirt, and pants or leggings.
  • Invest in a good pair of gloves and a hat to keep your hands and head warm.
  • Wear warm, waterproof boots or shoes to keep your feet dry and warm.
  • If it’s particularly windy, you may want to wear a scarf or neck gaiter to protect your face and neck.


It’s important to remember that you’ll be outside for a while, so make sure you dress warmly enough to be comfortable throughout the event. A hot drink or snack can also help keep you warm, so don’t hesitate to bring a thermos or bag. The goal is to have a great time and make memories, so dress in a way that allows you to enjoy the experience fully!

In conclusion, Madison’s Lady Liberty tradition is essential to its past; if you’re in the neighborhood on February 10 or 11, visit Lake Mendota and take pictures with Lady Liberty. Who knows, you might even create your custom.

Location: 800 Langdon St.Madison, WI 53706 is hosted by Wisconsin Union and the Wisconsin Hoofers. 

If you want to keep up with the Wisconsin adventure Family’s daily activities, follow us on Instagram. We post regularly. We look forward to connecting with you on social media and sharing more about this amazing tradition. See you on the trails!

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