WHAT’S BACK? The Status of the Valley’s Big Summer Events
a handy list of your favorite annual events – and whether they're happening in 2021
[UPDATES AS OF TUESDAY, MAY 11] – The last year has been pretty crazy, am I right? Now that more Chippewa Vallians have received their COVID-19 vaccines and pandemic restrictions are loosening ever so slightly, a number of annual festivals and events which were canceled last year are slated to be held in the coming months. Here’s a handy dandy list of your favorite summer and fall events and whether they’re happening or nah.
MUSIC FESTIVALS / SERIES
BLUE OX MUSIC FESTIVAL 👍
Originally scheduled for June, the annual festival of bluegrass and roots music was been pushed back to August. In addition to their regular festival, they have small campouts and concerts slated for spring and summer, as well as a virtual band competition. Find details at blueoxmusicfestival.com.
BLUES ON THE CHIPPEWA 👍
The annual Blues on the Chippewa Festival in Durand will return this year from Aug. 6-8, 2021. More details are forthcoming at bluesonthechippewa.com.
COUNTRY FEST 👍
The festival, held each summer outside Cadott, is slated for June 25-26, and will feature musicians Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, and Kane Brown. Ticket and campsite purchases made for 2020 will be rolled over to 2021. Find more information at countryfest.com.
COUNTRY JAM USA 👍
Country Jam USA is slated for July 15-17, 2021, featuring headliners Old Dominion, Chris Young, and Jon Pardi. Check out more information at countryjam.com.
MUSIC AT THE RIVERFRONT 👍
July 18-Aug. 29
The Sunday evening Music at the Riverfront series in Chippewa Falls is slated to launch on July 18 through Aug. 29. Chippewa Falls also plans to host outdoor movie screenings, which will be announced on their Facebook page, which you can check for updates.
MUSIC OVER MENOMIN 👍
Thursdays in July
This year's Music Over Menomin is slated to start in July, featuring musicians including Good Morning Bedlam, The Cutaways, Mojo Lemon Blues Band, North of Dixie, and Yata Sinz and Orfield. Stay up to date with the latest on the Music Over Menomin series at menomonielibrary.org.
NORTHWOODS BLUES FEST 👍
The Northwoods Blues Fest, a blues festival that takes place at Riverfront Park in Chippewa Falls, is slated for mid-June, and will follow the most updated CDC guidelines for COVID-19. Check out more details at northwoodsbluesfest.com.
This annual two-day Christian music festival in Chippewa Falls is slated for late July and will feature Rend Collective and Danny Gokey, as well as Jason Grey, I Am They, CollECtive Choir, and more. Check out more information at onefest.com.
After taking a year off in 2020 because of you-know-what, Rock Fest will be back with a vengeance this summer with headliners like Rob Zombie, Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Snoop Dogg. Snoop was on the lineup for the ill-fated 2020 fest, as was Limp Bizkit.This year – gods of rock willing! – they will be co-headliners on Friday, July 16, at the fest grounds near Cadott. Check out more details at rockfest.com.
SOUNDS LIKE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES 👍
Thursdays, June 17 - Aug. 31
The beloved downtown tradition will return for its 14th season on June 17. The Eau Claire County Health Department asks attendees to keep in mind the safety measures of the day with social distancing and masks when you’re around the public. Watch for line-up details and more soon, and stay in the loop at VolumeOne.org/concerts.
Last year UW-Eau Claire officially canceled its Sunset Sounds Series, which typically features outdoor performances by local musicians on Monday evenings during June, July, and August. While organizers said last year the series is slated to return in 2021, details are yet to be announced.
TUESDAY NIGHT BLUES 👍
Tuesdays, July 6 - Aug. 31
The annual blues series, which takes place in Eau Claire's historic Owen Park, typically runs every Tuesday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but will have a later start this year and will be an “abbreviated series.” Stay tuned for more details at chippewavalleyblues.com.
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY FAIR 👍
July 26 - Aug. 1
According to the county fair’s website, “The Eau Claire County Fair will be open to friends and family by invite. The Fair Committee will work within the COVID-19 guidelines established by the Eau Claire County Health Department.” Find more details at eauclairecountyfair.com.
DUNN COUNTY FAIR 👍
Enjoy visits to animal barns, getting dizzy on carnival rides, eating fabulous fair food, and checking out the outdoor entertainment at this year’s Dunn County Fair. See more details at dunncountyfair.org.
NORTHERN WISCONSIN STATE FAIR 👍
With an over 120-year history, this annual fair will feature the magic of Pig, Duck, and Goat Races; tractor pulls; musical performances from Trace Adkins, Hairball, Grand Funk Railroad and Blue Öyster Cult; and fantastic fair food from July 7-11. Check out more information (including a forthcoming list of fair food vendors!) at nwsfa.com.
Dates yet to be announced
The real live and in-person Chalkfest event, a partnership between UW-Eau Claire and Volume One, usually takes place in late July on the beautiful campus mall of UW-Eau Claire. After last year’s virtual edition, Chalkfest is slated again to go virtual, with dates soon to be announced! Watch out at volumeone.org/chalkfest.
FAMILY NIGHT IN THE PARK 👍
Downtown Eau Claire Inc.’s annual event in Phoenix Park in downtown Eau Claire – which features music, food, games, and fun! – is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29. Visit downtowneauclaire.org/familynight for more details soon.
PURE WATER DAYS 👍
Check out downtown Chippewa Falls for the annual Pure Water Days Parade and celebration – with more than 70 parade entries! – and then head down to Riverfront Park for RiverFest. Take advantage of the giant inflatables and games, live music, food trucks, a beer tent, arts and crafts vendors, and much more. Check out more about this family-friendly event at chippewafallsmainst.org.
UWEC SUMMER CINEMA❓
Last year UW-Eau Claire officially canceled its Summer Cinema Series, which typically features outdoor screenings of family films on Wednesdays at dusk during June, July, and August. While organizers said last year the series is slated to return in 2021, details are yet to be announced.
CHIPPEWA RIVER BASEBALL LEAGUE 👍
After a season off due to COVID-19, this summer the Chippewa River Baseball League is back with a season entirely comprised of doubleheaders. Playoffs begin on Aug. 4, with championships on Aug. 7. The All-Star game will be on July 3 in Bloomer. More information on the league's season can be found here.
EAU CLAIRE EXPRESS 👍
May 31-Aug. 8
The Eau Claire Express are open for its 2021 season, after more than 600 days away from the field! Carson Park will maintain 50% capacity to follow recommended guidelines for COVID-19. They will still have concessions and Friday night fireworks, as well as a whole bunch of other exciting summer events. Find out more at northwoodsleague.com/eau-claire-express.
FAIRFAX POOL 👍
Starting June 5
Whether you’re a doggie paddler, a high diver, or a water slider, we’ve got good news for you from the City of Eau Claire: The Fairfax Pool will open for the season on Saturday, June 5. Precautions to keep the public safe include capacity limits, masks required in all Fairfax buildings, physical distancing, daycares and other camps and groups will not be allowed at Fairfax, patrons are encouraged to come to the pool already dressed to eliminate time spent in locker rooms, drinking fountains will be closed, 15-minute safety breaks for sanitizing will be taken periodically, and lounge chairs will not be available for use. Check out more details at www.eauclairewi.gov/recreation/fairfax-pool.
SKI SPRITES WATER SKI TEAM 👍
June 2-Sept. 5
The Ski Sprites Water Ski Team will start performing shows again on Lake Altoona every Sunday and Wednesday evenings beginning in June. Don’t forget $5 for a parking pass! Check out more details at www.skisprites.com.
U.S. NATIONAL KUBB CHAMPIONSHIP 👍
The U.S. National Kubb Championship – the largest kubb tournament in the nation – is slated for this summer on July 9-11. Registration closes on June 19. Check out more information at usakubb.org.
ASHLEY FOR THE ARTS 👍
This annual arts festival in Arcadia is slated for Aug. 12-14, and will feature performances by Jefferson Starship, Foreigner, Kip Moore, and Toby Keith on Friday, Aug. 13, followed by Clare Dunn, Switchfoot, Barenaked Ladies, and Little Big Town on Saturday, Aug. 14. If that variety of music sounds attractive, you can get tickets online now for only $20 for the whole weekend. Check out more information at ashleyforthearts.com.
BIG RIG TRUCK SHOW 👍
The Big Rig Truck Show, located in the heart of the country, is one of the Midwest’s premier Truck Shows. This year’s show (now in its 11th year) boasts one of the best entertainment line-ups in the entire truck show circuit. Check out more information at bigrigtruckshows.com.
BREAKFAST IN THE VALLEY 👍
Breakfast in the Valley – a celebration of local agriculture in our local economy – will have a twist on tradition this year. This year, Breakfast in the Valley boxes will be available for purchase in celebration of June Dairy Month. Boxes will be available only by pre-order and will be available for pickup on June 11. Payment is required at the time of purchase. For more information, visit eauclairechamber.org.
BURGER KING CLASSIC CAR SHOWS❓
The car shows, which are typically held on Thursday evenings between May and September at Burger King restaurants around Eau Claire, have been postponed indefinitely, citing health department limits on public gatherings. Visit their Facebook page for updates.
CHIPPEWA FALLS OKTOBERFEST 👍
The Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest, held each fall at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, is slated for this September, featuring new kids’ activities and Glockenspiel acts, as well as beloved competitions, like stein holding, sauerkraut eating, and keg rolling.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY AIR SHOW ❌
The 2021 Chippewa Valley Air Show will not be taking place. Look forward to the air show again on June 4-5, 2022! This will be the Chippewa Valley’s first look at the new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, which are replacing the squadron’s older legacy Hornets in 2021. Learn more online at chippewavalleyairshow.com.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY BOOK FESTIVAL❓
Last year’s Chippewa Valley Book Festival went virtual, and no announcements have yet been made about 2021. Stay tuned for more information at the Chippewa Valley Book Festival on Facebook.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY PARADE OF HOMES 👍
Want to take a peek at new and remodeled homes in the Chippewa Valley? Well, you’re in luck! The Parade of Homes is back for its 47th year. Don’t miss 14 new homes and two remodeled homes. Plus, there will also be virtual tours of a beautiful custom home that you can access with your ticket. For more information, (and to snag a ticket!) check out paradeofhomes.com.
CINDER CITY DAYS 👍
Family fun, great food, and a great atmosphere? Look no further than Cinder City Park in Altoona, which has something for everyone: rides for all ages, crafts, parades, and more. Check out more information at cindercitydays.com.
FARM TECHNOLOGY DAYS 👍
Green means go for this year’s Wisconsin Farm Technology Days – a three-day outdoor event showcasing the latest developments in production agriculture – which is scheduled for July 20-22 at Huntsinger Farms, the largest grower and processor of horseradish in the U.S., which is known for its Silver Spring brand. This year, more than 350 exhibitors from across the Midwest and Canada have committed to the show, which will also feature intimate acoustic performances by singer-songwriter Chris Kroeze each day around lunchtime. Check out more information at wifarmtechdays.org.
FESTIVAL IN THE PINES❓
The annual late-summer festival in Carson Park was cancelled last year, with the expectation that the festival would continue this year, though no announcement has been made yet. Check out festivalinthepines.com for updates.
FOOD TRUCK FRIDAY 👍
June 4, July 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 3
This monthly gathering of roughly 10 food trucks and vendors will be back in action on the south side of Phoenix Park on the first Fridays of the month, starting June 4. Expect all the tasty barbecue, gyros, tacos, dogs, donuts, ice cream, and more that you need from a proper celebration of street food. Again, you’ll have the whole park to spread out, but keep distancing and masking in mind while waiting in line and grabbing a patch of grass. Watch for more info and the line-up soon at VolumeOne.org/FoodTruckFriday.
INDIANHEAD CAR SHOW👍
This event will feature 700 show cars, food, and refreshments. Admission is $5 at the gate, $1 inside spectator parking at the Northern Wisconsin Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls. Check out more information at nwsfa.com/events/2021/indianhead-swap-meet.
LEINENKUGEL'S SUMMER KICK-OFF (FORMERLY THE FAMILY REUNION) 👍
This outdoor event at the Leinie Lodge will include five food trucks, cold beer, live music by The Dweebs, JFT Band, and Up South, along with games, Leinenkugel family members signing, merchandise, vendors, and more. The event will be 10 am-6pm with safety measures in place. For more information (and to snag tickets!), visit leinie.com.
REN IN THE GLEN (RENAISSANCE FAIR) 👍
July 31 - Aug. 1
Now in its ninth season, Ren in the Glen is a festival where you’ll encounter knights in combat, fairies flitting about, dancers whirling in a blur of colors, the scents of rare and exotic goods, the sizzle of a feast cooking on the fire, and the songs of minstrels and bards floating upon the breeze. For more information, check out renintheglen.com.
STOCKHOLM ART FAIR 👍
Fabulous art, music, and food in a safe environment: that's the Stockholm Art Fair. Check out more information at stockholmartfair.org.
TASTE OF THE VALLEY👍
Date yet to be announced
In 2021, Phoenix Park will be transformed into a festival grounds celebrating the culinary arts and showcasing the fine restaurants in our area. Families can spend the day at the park trying out many great tastes while enjoying musical entertainment throughout the day. Kids will keep busy too with activities in the Kid Zone!
WISCONSIN GAMEFEST 👍
This year’s event features over 150 hunting, fishing, retail, and recreational displays and exhibits, North America Diving Dogs presented by Jacobson’s Ace Hardware, live trophy deer, petting zoo, beer garden and food trucks, hunting and fishing Seminars, dog stage with demonstrations and presentations, free air rifle and air pistol trials, and so much more. For more information, visit wigamefest.com.