17 Can’t-Miss Chippewa Falls Events

V1 Staff, photos by Andrea Paulseth

NORTHERN WISCONSIN STATE FAIR • Wednesday-Sunday, July 10-14, 2019
NORTHERN WISCONSIN STATE FAIR • Wednesday-Sunday, July 10-14, 2019

In Chippewa Falls, the calendar is filled to the brim with annual events, celebrations, and more! Here’s a compilation of 17 can’t-miss happenings over the next 12 months, including a 150th-birthday bash, family-friendly fairs, celebrations of the city’s brewing heritage, and the best Christmas festivities in the Valley. Through all four seasons, there are plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry in Chippewa Falls, so get these events on your calendar.

16TH ANNUAL LEINENKUGEL FAMILY REUNION • Saturday, June 15, 9am-4pm  • Leinie Lodge & Brewery, 124 E. Elm St. • (888) 534-6437 • leinie.com • After more than 150 years in the business, the brewery founded by Jacob Leinenkugel has built a big family, encompassing real-life relatives as well as those whose ties come via their well-loved ales, lagers, and shandys. The Family Reunion will include food, meet-and-greets, giveaways, tours, live music by the Big Deeks, and commemorative merchandise. Oh, and beer!

FATFAR (aka FRENCHTOWN ANNUAL TUBE FLOAT AND REGATTA) • Sunday, June 23 • on the Chippewa River • Billed as the “world’s largest tubing and float event,” the organized chaos that is FATFAR begins at noon. Expect a relaxing afternoon floating down the river in your favorite inflatable and/or homemade watercraft. Loopy’s Grill & Saloon (10691 County Highway X) will have food and entertainment all day, including tube rentals. Starting at 10am, a free shuttle will run continuously between Loopy’s, the city boat landing, and the Lake Hallie Sportsman’s Club. Must be 21.

NORTHWOODS BLUES FESTIVAL • Friday-Saturday, June 21-22 • Chippewa Riverfront Park, 20 S. Bridge St. • (715) 558-1679 • northwoodsbluesfest.com • The mighty Chippewa River will serve as the scenic backdrop for this year’s Northwoods Blues Festival, which has relocated to the new Chippewa Riverfront Park from its previous home at the Northern Wisconsin Fairgrounds. This year’s performers include Howard “Guitar” Luedtke, Joanna Conner, Bernard Allison, Lindsay Beaver, Corky Siegel and Randy Sabien, Savoy Brown, and may more. And after the music in the part shuts down for the night, the party will continue into the wee hours with an afterglow party at Loopy’s Grill & Saloon until 1am!

COUNTRY FEST • Thursday-Saturday, June 27-29 • Country Fest Grounds, 24447 County Highway S, Cadott • countryfest.com • (800) 326-3378 • What better place to enjoy a weekend full of the top talent in country music than in the Chippewa County countryside? This year’s Country Fest will draw thousands of fans for what’s billed as the largest three-day country music and camping event in the U.S. of A. Headliners this year include Luke Bryan, Sugarland, and Little Big Town, plus dozens more stars and up-and-comers. Three-day ticket-holders also get to see a pre-show kickoff on Wednesday, June 26. For full info on lineups, camping, ticketing, and seating options, visit countryfest.com.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN STATE FAIRWednesday-Sunday, July 10-14 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • (715) 723-2861 • nwsfa.com • When the July heat arrives, head up to the fairgrounds for the state fair, where carnival rides, farm animals, and cotton candy are all a part of what has been a quintessential summertime experience in Chippewa Falls since the 1897. There’s top-tier entertainment too: This year’s main stage lineup includes Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Hairball, and the Roots & Boots Tour featuring country stars Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin.

ROCK FEST Thursday-Saturday, July 18-20 • Rock Fest Grounds, 24447 County Highway S, Cadott • rock-fest.com • (800) 326-3378 • For more than a quarter century, the festival grounds outside Cadott have roared to life each summer with the Valley’s favorite rockstravaganza: Rock Fest! Let it all hang out for three days of mayhem with headlines Evanescence, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson, plus dozens more. Three-day ticket-holders can also rock out at the Wednesday Night Bonus Bash featuring Jackyl, Stryper, and more! Get the total scoop of the fest experience – including tickets, camping, and complete lineups – at rock-fest.com.

ONEFESTSaturday-Sunday, July 26-28 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • one-fest.com • (715) 379-3742 • OneFest, a Christian music festival now in its second year, will include live music, inspiring messages, family activities, youth entertainment, and ministry showcases. Main-stage headliners include top Christian musicians such as Newsboys, Francesca Battistelli, Carrollton, Tru-Serva, and a (heavenly) host of others. Sunday will include a worship service as well as yet-to-be-announced main-stage performances.

SESQUICENTENNIAL BIRTHDAY BASH WEEKENDThursday-Sunday, Aug. 8-11 • various locations • gochippewafalls.com/events/chippewafalls_150 • When you hit the big One-Five-Oh, you’re entitled to a big party! The folks in Chippewa Falls are pulling out all the stops for their sesquicentennial this summer with four days of celebration that begin with a new musical production – “Today in the Valley” – written by Jerry Way and performed by his band, the Swampers. The show runs at 7:30pm Thursday and Friday, Aug. 8-9, at the Heyde Center for the Arts (see cvca.net for ticket information). On Friday, Riverfront Park will host the free CF Birthday Bash from 4-10:30pm, with beer tents, food trucks, music, and more! Them Coulee Boys will perform at 5pm, followed by hometown hero Phil Cook at 8pm, and fireworks at 10:15pm. The party continues on Saturday, Aug. 10, with the 43rd Annual Pure Water Days followed by Riverfest (see below for details on those celebrations). The long weekend will close out on Sunday, Aug. 11, with Rockin’ the Chippewa Riverfront, a free concert from 2-6pm in the Riverfront Park amphitheater showcasing the Jerry Way Band and The Mark Healey & Jim Schuh Duo. These local musicians will offer a danceable mix of tunes from the 1930s to today.

PURE WATER DAYS PARADE AND RIVERFESTSaturday, Aug. 10 • Downtown Chippewa Falls • Parade at 1pm, RiverFest 2-8pm, Music Celebration 6pm-midnight • gochippewafalls.com/events/chippewafalls_150 • Chippewa Falls’ annual Pure Water Days Parade and RiverFest will be boosted to the next level this summer as part of the city’s 150th birthday celebration. Enjoy a downtown parade featuring more than 70 floats (this year’s theme is “History of Chippewa Falls”), then bring the family down to Riverfront Park for the free RiverFest gathering with live music, food trucks, a Leinenkugel’s beer tent, giant inflatables, kids games, arts and crafts vendors, antiques, a kubb tournament, and much more! End the day at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds with the Pure Water Days Music Celebration from 6pm-midnight. Performers include Arch Allies and a special guest headliner who will be announced July 20. (Tickets for the music are $20; go to nwsfa.com for details.)

10TH ANNUAL BIG RIG TRUCK SHOWFriday-Sunday, Aug. 16-18 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • (715) 832-6666 • eauclairebigrigtruckshow.com • Don’t let the name fool you: The Big Rig Truck Show now calls Chippewa Falls home, and on the third weekend of August the fairgrounds will be nirvana for truck lovers of all ages. The show features over-the-road semi-trucks from across the United States and Canada, many of which will take part in a dazzling parade through town at 9pm Friday and a light show beginning at dusk Saturday. You’ll also find a demolition derby, military and law enforcement vehicles, antique trucks, free rides, a beer garden, food and vendors, outdoor exhibitors, live music, a kids zone, and more diesel-driving action.

WISCONSIN GAME FEST • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • wigamefest.com • (715) 579-7127 • What better way to celebrate the Chippewa Valley’s hunting and fishing traditions than with Wisconsin Game Fest, which will fill four buildings and 50 outdoor acres at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in early September. Spend the weekend checking out live trophy deer and diving dog demonstrations, meeting hunting and fishing guides and outfitters, trying their hand at bowfishing, and exploring seminars, retail booths, a petting zoo, beer garden, and much more.


LAKE HALLIE FOOD FEST Saturday, Sept. 14, 10am-6pm • Peace Memorial Park, Business Highway 53 and 27th Avenue, Lake Hallie • The Village of Lake Hallie and Helping Hands for Hope, which holds events for local nonprofits, will host the Third Annual Lake Hallie Food Fest. Come with an appetite, because Peace Memorial Park will be filled with food trucks – as well as live music, games, and plenty of family fun like bounce houses, face painting, and crafts. A portion of the proceeds from this delicious day will go to the Lake Hallie Police Department K-9 unit and to Peace Memorial Park itself.

17TH ANNUAL OKTOBERFEST Sept. 20-22 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • gochippewafalls.com/events/oktoberfest • What’s autumn in Wisconsin without a beer, a brat, and some oom-pah-pah-ing? Celebrate our state’s German heritage at Chippewa Falls’ annual Octoberfest, which begins with a Golden Keg procession from the Leinenkugel brewery and the naming of the Festmeister and Festmeisterin, who preside over the festivities. What follows is three days of music, dancing, food, and fun, from a sheepshead tournament to beer stein-holding competitions. Put on your lederhosen and Viel Spaß!

IRVINE PARK CHRISTMAS VILLAGENov. 28-Jan. 1 • Irvine Park, Bridgewater Avenue, Chippewa Falls • open daily 7am-9:30pm and until midnight on Christmas Eve • More than 100,000 LED lights create a Christmas fantasyland with larger-than-life scenes representing holiday tales and Chippewa Falls’ early history with a Victorian sensibility. Christmas Village has been dazzling park visitors for more than a quarter century.

SANTA’S ARRIVAL & SANTA’S HOUSESanta’s Arrival: 10am Friday, Nov. 29 • BMO Harris Bank parking lot, 411 N. Bridge St. • Santa’s House: 11am-3pm, Nov. 29-30, and Dec. 7, 14, and 22 • Rutledge Charity Building, 404 N. Bridge St. • chippewafallsmainst.org • Get in the Christmas spirit with Mrs. Claus, Christmas elves, and St. Nick himself. Make sure you’re on the Nice List this year! A special ornament is available for the kiddies as they’re waiting for Santa, and don’t forget to bring your Christmas list for the jolly old elf before he heads back to the North Pole to pack his sleigh.

BRIDGE TO WONDERLAND PARADESaturday, Dec. 7, 6pm • downtown Chippewa Falls • chippewafallsmainst.org • Continue the Christmas tradition with the 31th Annual Bridge to Wonderland Parade. The parade features more than 50 floats trimmed with lights, music, and all manner of holiday magic. Bundle up for the winter celebration as the night is illuminated with Christmas spirit. When the parade is finished, make your way down to Riverfront Park for campfires, s’mores, free hot chocolate, and a chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

SPRINGFEST 2020April or May • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • springfestchippewafalls.com  • Held each year at the end of April, SpringFest helps visitors shake off the winter cobwebs with family fun, music, and events, including a kubb championship, the SpringFest run/walk, and much more.