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Best Local Idea That Worked Last Year

1st Place: Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival
2nd Place: The Lismore
3rd Place: Confluence funds in state budget

Another landslide vote: The inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival won first place with more than three times as many votes as the next contender. The big new fest, curated by hometown hero Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dresser, drew a crowd of 40,000 people to hear dozens of diverse musical acts and revel in one-of-a-kind art on a steamy July weekend. Second place went to the renovation of the former Ramada Inn. Zach Halmstad’s Pablo Properties is transforming that hotel into The Lismore, which will soon open to provide accommodations, fine dining, and convention space to downtown Eau Claire. Third place went to the inclusion of $15 million in Confluence Project funding in the state budget, which was a cliffhanger to say the least. After being unceremoniously cut from the budget in early May, the money was reinserted after a vigorous effort by supporters. —Barbara Arnold


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