Carson Park Gets Crafty
vendors, music, and fun galore at Festival in the Pines
Pine-shaded Carson Park is an ideal placed for all kinds of recreation, from baseball to football to horseshoes. Each year in late August, however, hundreds of vendor tents are unfolded and thousands of eager visitors arrive to transform the park into the Super Bowl of Chippewa Valley arts and crafts fairs: Festival in the Pines. Looking for high-quality goods and gifts, from dolls to dream catchers? Got ’em. From handbags to handmade quilts? Got those, too – plus all the rustic Packer paraphernalia you can shake a lawn ornament at. The more than 200 vendors at Festival and the Pines have all these and thousands of other items crafted from wood, metal, glass, fiber, and more. Whether you’re seeking fine art for your home or something cute and crafty for the cottage, chances are Festival in the Pines has got you covered. Owner Dan Ropa said the event is designed to offer a good time for every member of the family. In fact, for 32 years folks from all over Wisconsin, the Twin Cities, and beyond have turned Festival in the Pines into a de facto family reunion. Ropa knows “craft fair” can be synonymous with “Mom’s day out,” and it’s true that women comprise a big share of the crowd. But there’s plenty to do for Dad and the kids, too. This year, a classic car show will be held Sunday, a sure draw for the guys (many of whom – admit it, dudes! – like to shop as much as their wives). The festival also offers tons of food vendors, a beer tent, two stages of entertainment (one with music, the other with family fare, including a magician and a ventriloquist), plus kids games, a petting zoo, and free admission to the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum. As summer vacation nears its conclusion, Festival in the Pines can help you finish your summer checklist: Hunting for bargains? Petting a llama? Spending quality time with your family? Check, check – and check.
Festival in the Pines • Saturday, Aug. 23, 9am-6pm; Sunday, Aug. 24, 9am-4pm • Carson Park, Eau Claire • Admission: $6 adults; $5 seniors (62+); FREE 11 and under • (715) 552-5504 • www.festivalinthepines.com