‘Discover Wisconsin’ co-host Marie Justice interviews Rock County Brewing co-owner John Rocco at the brewery in downtown Janesville. The new episode that premieres Saturday focuses on the link between Janesville’s trails and downtown.


Local tourism officials hope some lesser-known, newer attractions in Janesville will reach a regional audience with the release of a new, Janesville-centric episode of “Discover Wisconsin” set to debut this weekend on television.

Discover Wisconsin announced the new episode, “Janesville—Wisconsin’s Great Outside” premieres Saturday on Fox Sports Wisconsin. The episode already is available on multiple streaming services, Discover Wisconsin said.

The 20-minute episode provides a citywide overview of some attractions visitors to Janesville can take in, but it pays special attention to some newer, niche businesses in the heart of the city’s downtown riverfront.

The episode leads in with host Maria Haberman riding a bicycle along a segment of the Ice Age Trail, a bike-and-hike trail that runs through Janesville, including the city’s downtown.

Haberman makes her way along the trail on a stretch of the Rock River but ends up steering her bike into downtown Janesville, where she and co-host Marie Justice take in dining, shopping and other activities at some newer retail spaces recently renovated.

The episode’s downtown stops include:

  • The Janesville Farmers Market
  • Velvet and Tulle, a boutique women’s clothing retailer in a recently renovated former butcher shop along West Milwaukee Street.
  • The coffee shop, olive oil store and salad bistro at the renovated Bodacious Shops of Block 42 on North Main Street.
  • Lark, a local fresh food eatery and craft cocktail lounge on South Main Street.

The downtown sequences meld with an episode that shows how Janesville is a city with outdoor and indoor retail attractions tied together by nature trails for bicycling, hiking, snowshoeing and skiing.

Discover Wisconsin has filmed and aired episodes on Janesville in the past. It’s part of an approximately $40,000 marketing package the Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau purchases every two or three years to cultivate regional exposure for tourism-related events and attractions in the city, said Christine Rebout, the Janesville tourism group’s executive director.

The bureau is partially funded by a room tax on Janesville hotels and motels.

Rebout said her group decided this time a “Discover Wisconsin” episode should include focus on retail, dining and entertainment centered downtown.

“We looked at our previous two (“Discover Wisconsin”) episodes and looked for some things that might be new and really kind of unexpected. A lot of people are familiar with our lager-scale attractions, so we wanted to dig a little bit deeper and go into showcasing some of those unique things that might be newer and unknown to the traveling public,” Rebout said.

The expense of having a tourism marketing program put together isn’t inconsiderable, but Rebout said her group believes the 600,000-viewer reach of the “Discover Wisconsin” program makes the cost worthwhile.

She said her group plans to canvass operators of local events and businesses in the new episode to learn whether visitors mention learning of new attractions through “Discover Wisconsin” episodes.