A Season of Traditions, Including a New One for New Year’s Eve
by Nick Meyer
For many, the holidays are a time of traditions. We might first reflect warmly on the customs of our own families and friends, but our entire communities celebrate traditions in which we can all partake. Chippewa Falls has the holiday season well in hand as they’ve been lighting up Irvine Park for 30 years, and their downtown Bridge to Wonderland Parade started just two years later. Likewise, Menomonie has traditions of its own, with the Winter Daze parade and related activities starting 14 years ago. In Eau Claire, we’re playing a bit of catch up in the holiday parade department, but things are on the right track. The Clearwater Winter Parade just held its sixth annual event, kicked off by the fireworks you see above, along with the lighting of dozens of trees in Phoenix Park. Another budding tradition is the new Light Up Eau Claire event, held on New Year’s Eve at venues throughout downtown. In its second year, this highly ambitious new tradition offers a dramatic range of activities and options including a high-end gala at the Lismore (with food, champagne, and a 10-piece band), an outdoor rooftop party on the North Barstow parking ramp (with heated tents and music), an Ice Lounge (with ice fire pits, ice sculpture, and ice bar), two evening lantern parades (one early for the little ones and one late for the big kids), live music at roughly 10 establishments (all accessible with one wristband), midnight fireworks set off at the confluence, and more. If you’ve always been the kind to stay home on New Year’s Eve and watch other people have a good time on TV, there’s never been a better reason to venture out, have a good time yourself, and be part of the creation of new traditions with friends, family, and your entire community.