Saturday, Sep. 27th, 2014

Saturday Event Picks (Sept. 27)

Huge lineup at the House of Rock tonight, including Sayth + Peewee Dread + Hannah Hebl + North House + Irie Sol. Details below!
Huge lineup at the House of Rock tonight, including Sayth, Peewee Dread,
Hannah Hebl, North House, and Irie Sol. Details below!

From early in the morning and into the night – a lot of fine quality events occurring on Saturday. Wanna know what they are? Of course you do. Our picks are below. Check out the rest of Saturday here.

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Friday, Sep. 26th, 2014

New Confluence Project renderings show off mixed use building tweaks

Image: Commonweal Development
Image: Commonweal Development

Released Wednesday night, new renderings of the mixed use building planed for the Confluence Project show a wider bike trail along the river and brick and stone façades. The mixed use building is to be built along South Barstow, where recent demolition removed an entire block of buildings. Eau Claire City Councilman Andrew Werthmann voted for the new building plan at last night's Waterways and Parks Commission meeting, and has stated, "It was a unanimous vote … because the site plan drastically improved, the quality of the building improved, and sensitivity to historic design was a central theme."

You can see the original renderings here.

Image: Commonweal Development
Image: Commonweal Development

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Thursday, Sep. 25th, 2014

Eau Claire County wants your input on 2015 budget

People love to complain about how the county spends our tax dollars. Well, now's the time to offer your opinion on how funds should be distributed.

The Eau Claire County Committee on Finance & Budget has set up a survey (available through Nov. 11) allowing you to express your thoughts. They say the 2015 budget will be difficult to manage, and they'd your input on what the priorities should be. The survey is broken down by department, allowing you to rank the major services and responsibilities within each department from "Unnecessary" to "Critical." It's detailed, but it's worth 5-10 minutes of your time to help the budget committee know what you feel is important.

This absolutely falls into "if you don't participate, don't complain" territory. So give it a shot. The county board will hold a public input session on Wednesday, November 12, so you can add thoughts in person.

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Wisconsin Fall Color Report reports Wisconsin's fall colors

Click on the map above for interactive color reporting.  (Just kidding, Clicky McClickerson. Go here for the interactive voodoo.)
Click on the map above for interactive color reporting.
(Just kidding, Clicky McClickerson. Go here for the interactive voodoo.)

You better hurry up and make your leaf-looking plans, local leaf-looking fans! Eau Claire County is currently at 30% Autumn-ness, with an estimated Go Look at the Awesome Trees Cuz It Only Gets Browner from Here Time (a phrase of our own invention) around the 2nd week of October. Who says? Travel Wisconsin says.

The Wisconsin Fall Color Report on Travelwisconsin.com gives you up-to-date color percentages for the tree clothing in each of Wisconsin’s glorious counties –  and while we're at only 30% color, things will be changing quickly this year. Meanwhile, Dunn County is sitting at 25% color, while Chippewa County's leaf bearers are in the lead at 40%.

But hey, if you need to experience the mysterious wonders of chlorophyll deprivation RIGHT NOW, scoot over to Clark County – currently enjoying 75% color.

According to Travel Wisconsin, they've got 100 fall color reporters providing updates in all 72 counties of the state, and there is no other report that's as comprehensive or timely. And since we know of no other fall color reports, we believe 'em.

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Wednesday, Sep. 24th, 2014

Oktoberfest’s Shocking Past

Oktoberfest, Chippewa Falls
2014's 12th Annual Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest

The first Oktoberfest took place in Munich, Germany, in 1810, when the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig was to be wed to Princess Therese on Oct. 12. Prince Ludwig was known to be obsessed with history, and wanted a public event that could be compared to the Olympic Games of old. He organized a public horse race in a meadow outside of Munich, and the festival was born on October 17. The event was so popular that it has been held ever since. The second year, they added an agricultural fair to the event, and that portion of Oktoberfest still exists in Munich every three years. Year by year events and food have been added, but it still takes place in that meadow, now named Theresienwiese (Wiesn for short) after Princess Therese.

Tap the Kep!

“Oktoberfest” and “beer.” To anyone who has been to Oktoberfest (or even just heard of it) those two words go together like peanut butter and jelly. But what most people don’t know is that Oktoberfest in Munich didn’t even include beer for the first 70 years of its existence. In 1881, the city council finally allowed beer sales and the first grilled chicken stand. Those seven dry decades aren’t the only shocking truth about Oktoberfest. There’s this one: Some of the first beer stands were built in trees. Those poor stein-wielding Germans had to climb trees to get beer. That has schrecklich kämpfen written all over it.

Soon beer became a staple in the festivities. The biggest beer tent to ever be erected, the Bräurosl, was built in 1913 on the grounds with enough space for 12,000 guests. Although it still exists, it only holds half of what it used to, but don’t worry. They built the Hofbräu-Festzelt to hold 10,000 more.

In 1950, the opening ceremony tradition began. The Lord Mayor of Munich starts the festivities by tapping the first keg and yelling “O’zapft is,” announcing that the keg has been tapped. Beer may not have been around in the beginning, but it later became the elixir of Oktoberfest.

Two-Century Tradition

Oktoberfest is still going strong in Munich. Every year the event generates about one billion euros in business, and the 200th anniversary in 2010 was the biggest Oktoberfest celebration ever. (Average daily attendance was 375,000). It has become a massive tourist event sporting souvenirs, art, agriculture, amusement rides, music, authentic German food and, of course, beer on tap.

Lazy Monk Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest 2013 at Lazy Monk Brewing in Eau Claire.

Upcoming Oktoberfests

Lazy Monk Oktoberfest
Sept. 27 • 4-10pm, Oct. 4 • 4-10pm
The Lazy Monk Taproom
320 Putnam St., Eau Claire

Oktoberfest USA: La Crosse*
September 25–28
Northside & Southside Festgrounds
La Crosse, Wis.

Dallas Oktoberfest
October 4 • 9am-evening
Dallas Park, Old Mill Pond
Dallas, Wis.

*La Crosse’s festival, which began in 1961, brings in an average of 175,000 people over the course of a weekend. It features parades, live music, beers from both local breweries and German breweries, and a whole host of authentic German foods. In the early 1960s, the U.S. government approved the name of “Oktoberfest, USA” and the La Crosse event was born. Since then there have been many Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the United States (the largest is in Cincinnati) and all over the world. The German traditions echo in American society, as the United States is second only to Germany itself for the number of German-born citizens.

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