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Best New Festival or Event

1st Place: UWEC Outdoor Summer Films
2nd Place: Clearwater Winter Parade
3rd Place: The Chippewa Valley Challenge

New events keep the Chippewa Valley fresh every year, but they can be risky before anyone knows exactly what they’re all about. Luckily, this year we had at least three new events that blew out expectations. Taking first by a long shot was UW-Eau Claire’s Summer Film Series, an outdoor series that ran through the summer and showcased old and new films on the lawn next to Haas Fine Arts Center on Water Street. Second place went to a new Eau Claire parade, this one in the colder months. The Clearwater Winter Parade featured all sorts of winter- and holiday-themed floats and bundled-up (but happy) attendees. Rounding out the top three is the Chippewa Valley Challenge, a collaborative “get fit” campaign that helped 533 participants lose more than 2.5 tons. –Thom Fountain