Pure Water Days Offers Pure Family Fun

for 42 years, Pure Water Days has highlighted one of Chippewa Falls’ most vital resources

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Situated on the banks of the Chippewa River, bisected by Duncan Creek, and known far and wide for the beverages it puts in bottles, Chippewa Falls is in many ways defined by water. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the city’s longest-running annual celebrations is known as Pure Water Days, a name that evokes Chippewa Falls’ historic claim to “the purest water in the world.”

This year, Pure Water Days runs Aug. 9-12, with the highlights including the Pure Water Days Parade and RiverFest, which are Saturday, Aug. 11. The parade will being at 1pm and will travel down historic Bridge Street to Allen Park, which is on the bank of Duncan Creek. Expect to see more than 70 entries in a parade that’s as big – or bigger – than the downtown’s famed Bridge to Wonderland holiday parade. And like that Christmas parade, for the past few years the Pure Water Days parade has had a theme – this year it’s “Under the Sea.”

In recent years, Chippewa Falls Main Street Inc. – the city’s downtown promotion organization – has overseen the parade and the RiverFest event that follows, says Executive Director Teri Ouimette.

“It’s more of a community event, and downtown businesses are involved,” Ouimette says of the parade. “It’s great awareness for people to come down here. ... They can eat, they can shop.”

This year, the parade will conclude with a cruise by classic cars, which will then park along the main drag, helping lure the crowd down to Allen Park for RiverFest. At the park, visitors will be able to celebrate from 2-7pm with live music from Irie Sol and other local acts, games for adults and kids (including inflatables), a food truck court, a beer tent, a tribute to veterans, and more. At dusk the sky and water will be illuminated by a fireworks show.

Typically, other community groups get in on the action during Pure Water Days, too, holding special events, such as museum tours and sports tourneys. This year, those will include an All School Class Reunion at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds and the Leinenkugel’s Pure Water Days Races. Held in conjunction with the Chippewa Valley Family YMCA, those races include 1-mile and 4-mile runs, a 2-mile fit walk, a 200-meter dash, and a half marathon, all held on courses in and around scenic Irvine Park. To learn more about the races, visit chippewaymca.com/purewaterdayraces.

Pure Water Days Parade and RiverFest • Saturday, Aug. 11 • parade starts at 1pm, RiverFest starts at 2pm • downtown Chippewa Falls • for information on the parade route, parking, and how to sign up to be in the parade, visit chippewafallsmainst.org

SOMETHING IN THE WATER ...

The city’s reputation for pure water dates back more than a century, and owes much to Thaddeus Pound, a late 19th century businessman and politician. Believing the city’s spring water had cured him of rheumatism, Pound – a former congressman and lieutenant governor – created the Chippewa Springs Health Club in 1889. A spring house (which still stands today along Park Avenue) was soon built, and a few years later the Chippewa Springs Co. to sell the water. That business, now owned by Premium Waters Inc., still bottles water in Chippewa Falls today.