Scientifically speaking, there’s nothing special about Jan. 1. Sure, our modern calendar marks the turn of a calendar year then, near — but not quite on — the winter solstice. But we could just as well have started or ended the year in March or July. This is all our way of saying that summing up the events of an arbitrary span of 12 months with a neat narrative is usually pretty hard.
Thus, the questions that follow don’t share a theme beyond “Hey, look at all the interesting stuff that happened in the Chippewa Valley this year!” Still, it WAS a pretty cool year, wasn’t it? Hopefully you were paying attention. If you were, the quiz should be a breeze.
Are you ready?
Take this quiz to prove your valley wisdom!
Eau Claire has a lot of taverns, but one drinking establishment, which opened in October, stands out as its smallest.
Big, Big Money
Eau Claire is home to the richest person in Wisconsin and one of the richest in the United States.
The movie theaters at Oakwood Mall closed earlier this year, but soon reopened with new management.
No joe? Say it ain’t so!
Social media buzzed earlier this year when a popular coffee purveyor claimed all of its coffee cups had been stolen by a rival company.
A Good Neighbor
Chippewa Valley residents may have seen an adorable hooved animal trotting around Eau Claire in recent years.
Shopko left a gap in the local retail landscape when it closed in 2019. The Eau Claire City Council voted recently to rezone the property and approved a new site plan.
Food trucks have been booming in popularity around the Chippewa Valley in the past few years.
After years of planning, UW-Eau Claire took a big step in April with the groundbreaking of a huge new event center on Menomonie Street near Carson Park, which will be built with the help of a $70 million gift from an alumni couple.
One For the Books
The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library reopened this fall after a yearlong, $18.5 million renovation. Among other things, the project added a third story to the 46-year-old building, installed a geothermal heating system, created numerous new meeting rooms, added a drive-through, and much more.
Huzzah, my lords and ladies!
After roughly a decade, the former Chippewa Valley Renaissance Fairgrounds near Chippewa Falls again became host to a renaissance festival in 2022. On weekends in June and early July, the property came alive with medieval and magical fun, including music, feasting, entertainment, demonstrations, and vendors with everything from swords to jewelry.
Here Comes the Sun
After flying in and out of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport for 12 years, SkyWest announced in March that it intended to drop service to Eau Claire. Several carriers applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to serve the airport, and ultimately Sun Country Airlines was chosen. It began flying in and out of Eau Claire on Dec. 1.
Think of the Children
The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire expects to open in its new location, 126 N. Barstow St., in the new year. The two-story, 26,000-square-foot museum will house tons of fun, educational exhibits as well as a preschool. The original Children’s Museum of Eau Claire opened on South Barstow Street in 2004.
Let’s Go To a Show
Earlier this year, the City of Eau Claire said it would revoke the liquor licenses of two downtown Eau Claire venues — The Plus and The Metro — unless they reopened soon. The city reached a deal with Benny Haas, who operates both, requiring The Plus to reopen in September and The Metro to be ready by January. (Both had been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began.)
Setting the Table
Construction began on a new building for Eau Claire’s Menomonie Market Food Co-op at the corner of North Barstow and Galloway streets, and the hugely expanded grocery store is expected to open in late 2023. The Eau Claire co-op had been known as Just Local Food Co-op until it merged with its Menomonie counterpart in 2021.
Party in the Back
Eight-year-old Emmitt Bailey of Menomonie grabbed a national spotlight in August when he won first place in the Kids Division of the USA Mullet Championship: He was featured in everything from the New York Post to Buzzfeed News, took part in a battle for “best mullet” with the Minnesota Wild’s mascot and got a Twitter shout-out from U.S. Sen.-elect John Fetterman.
Chippewa Falls’ iconic Sheeley House & Saloon was put up for sale in early December with an asking price of $499,900. The restaurant and tavern was built in 1868, and it’s literally a state and national landmark.
A first-of-its-kind “tree” was planted in Eau Claire’s Boyd Park this fall by Solar Forma, an Eau Claire-based renewable energy product company.
War Over Water
In June, a California-based firm announced it wanted to build a 500,000-square-foot water bottling plant in Eau Claire’s Gateway Northwest Business Park, which would use 155 million gallons of water annually. After many residents spoke out against the idea, the bottler withdrew its proposal.
One of the Chippewa Valley’s major music festivals announced plans this year to relocate to a new 160-acre site between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls starting in the summer of 2023.
Downhill From Here
Mt. Telemark near Cable has been a winter recreation destination since 1947, and was the site of the Telemark Ski Lodge and integral to the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race. Earlier this year, Volume One published a feature outlining the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s plans to create year-round recreational facilities there.
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We'll be honest. You aced some tough questions, but we feel like you can do even better. We know you have it in you, and if you can dig deep and believe in yourself, well ... perhaps your ultimate dreams will come true.
Hey, good effort! You didn't get them all wrong, and we think that's really something. It's not nothing. Maybe you'd like to take the quiz again and go for a score that's really not nothing.
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