The Valley Gets a Taste of the Wild Wild Steampunk West

at the Chippewa Valley LogJam, all Playtrons (patrons who play along) are welcome

Barbara Arnold

Imagine an event where Paul Bunyan meets Bonanza meets Doctor Who, and you’ll be at the first-ever Chippewa Valley LogJam Wild West Fest and Steampunk Spectacular. The new event, to be held the first three weekends in June in Chippewa Falls, received a joint effort marketing grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism in early May (to the tune of almost $40,000), and drew men, women, and children who tried out to be villagers, performers, and characters at open auditions in mid-May for the live, interactive event. “We’ll use the grant to advertise outside a 50-mile radius, to bring people to the Chippewa Valley,” says Julie Pangallo, who has been working to bring the event to reality. “A Wild West Fest is something that appeals to this area – there are a lot of horse lovers around here – and the steampunk aspect brings time travelers and creative costumes. Playtrons welcome!” (Playtrons are patrons who dress up and play along with the story line.) The premise for the event is a huge logjam on the Chippewa River which causes a time warp similar to that caused by Doctor Who’s TARDIS – that time-traveling police box – thus melding a cast of characters from many different time periods and universes in one place. The underlying theme is diversity, as they must all work together to break the logjam and save the town. In addition to the live performance art, there will be live music, beer and bacon tasting, lumberjack games, buggy rides, cowboy karaoke and saloon singalongs, a silver mine maze, swing dancing, Texas Hold ’Em, whip and rope tricks, and more. An artisan fair with rustic shops and an open-air market will offer such items as stained glass, pottery, handmade quilts, leather items, lotions and soap, steampunk and western wear, and all sorts of things for little buckaroos. Entertainment will be a blend of local and professional performers, including music by The Ranch Hand Drifters and whip tricks by record-breaking whipcracker, Adam Winrich.

Chippewa Valley LogJam Wild West Fest and Steampunk Spectacular • Every Saturday and Sunday from June 6 to June 21 • 10am to 6pm • Eagle Ridge Campground • 2302 Nelson Road, Chippewa Falls • Tickets: $12 (adults), $5 (ages 6-12) • (715) 450-0399 • cvlogjam.com