Summerfest + Chalkfest + Rockin' the Corners

Downtown Eau Claire’s Summerfest 2009 adds local rock bands to the festival agenda

Trevor Kupfer

Summerfest festers doing their best festing.

On paper, this year’s Summerfest celebration looks to be the strongest in the annual event’s history. A bold statement? You decide. Favorite features like the Tri-County Cruisers Car Show and Kidzone are back in full force, joining the return of last year’s incredible new event, Chalkfest, all of which have set their sights even higher than last year. Based on previous years, Summerfest has come to be known as a one-day celebration of summer, but additions to this year’s format will make it a three-day event. Added to the usual heaping helping of food vendors (oooooh, charcoal chicken!), artists, and games is a two-day lineup of local bands, which kick the whole thing off on Friday night with the first-ever Rockin’ the 4 Corners. The four-hour concert features local acts QuinnElizabeth, Innerburst, Brutal Truth, Smokin’ Pony, Semester at Sea, Survive the Drive, and 3 Pill Morning, plus food by Famous Dave’s and a 7 pm car cruise from Water Street to The Livery. The music continues on Saturday with Groovitational Pull, Thundermen, 40 Finger, Meridene, and Daredevil Christopher Wright.

    Meanwhile down at Wilson Park, dozens of the area’s most talented visual artists will captivate visitors by the thousands with jaw-dropping sidewalk chalk art. While they create pieces before your eyes (and you vote on the best in show), take part in the pictionary tournament, kids area, and other interactive games organized by Volume One. And don’t miss the “Chalk-Off” competitions that pit two artists against each other to create off-the-wall drawings like blindfolded self-portraits. Come back Saturday evening for the Nightlight Reception, where winners are announced and artwork is displayed in lights, or for a relaxing stroll through the art-filled park on Sunday for Gallery Day. Like I said, on paper this could be the biggest and best Summerfest ever. Now all we need is good weather.

Summerfest 2009 (including Rockin’ the 4 Corners and Chalkfest) • Aug. 7-9 • downtown Eau Claire • all ages • www.NothingArtificial.org

Rockin’ the 4 Corners • Aug. 7 • the parking lot near Porter’s, across from the Children’s Museum • 6-10pm • $5

Chalkfest • Aug. 8-9 • Wilson Park, Eau Claire • 11am-11pm on Saturday, 9am-3pm on Sunday • FREE • all ages • www.Chalkfest.org