Spring arrives in time for weekend's Spring Fest

By ROD STETZER| rod.stetzer@lee.net | Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:30 am

With constant snow falls, Spring 2013 has so far been a flop.

Not so this weekend, with high temperatures in the 60s predicted. That’s good news for the 3rd annual Spring Fest, which starts Friday evening at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls.

“I think people want it so bad that when Friday comes, they will want to go out,” said Hugh Crane of the Chippewa Falls Rotary Club.  Besides, tents and buildings at the fairgrounds will be heated in case Mother Nature prefers chilling it.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Chippewa Falls Rotary Foundation and other participating nonprofit groups.

Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday. Admission for adults is $5 for one day and $10 for all three days, with children under age 12 admitted free.

Crane said the Spring Fest will have activities for both kids and adults, and will have bigger tents and more food stands than in previous years.

Six food vendors will offer such items as prime rib sandwiches, cheese curds and fire-brick oven baked pizzas.

“We’ve got tons of stuff for kids,” Crane said. For example, from 2-4 p.m. Saturday the first 250 children at Spring Fest will receive a free kite from the Wisconsin Kiters Club, who will help the youths assembly the kites and fly them.

There will be a story hour from 1-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with the first 100 children each day receiving a free book. The children will receive either “Curious George Visits the Zoo,” or “Hello Biscuit!”

Two people will provide free face paint for children from 1-5 p.m. Saturday. And there there be five large inflatable attractions for the kids each day, along with pony rides and a petting zoo.

Mayo Clinic Health Systems is also sponsoring a run/walk through Irvine Park at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The adults will have plenty to do at Spring Fest, too.

Crane said this is the first year that Leinenkugel’s is actively involved in Spring Fest.

The Chippewa Falls brewery will roll out its tasting trailer for the first time at a Chippewa Falls event, where those age 21 and over will get to sample the brewery’s new orange Shandy beer. “You will be able to taste all of the shandys,” Crane said.

Plus, Brenda’s Fry Bread will offer Shandy Fry Bread, while Olson’s Ice Cream will also have a Shandy offering.

Dick Leinenkugel will be on hand at the shandy tasting from 4-7 p.m. Saturday and will provide autographs.

Bingo will be offered starting at 2 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Returning to Spring Fest is the chance to putt for $10,000. To qualify, you must make a 62-foot putt. Last year, there were eight people qualifying, Crane said.

Qualifiers return Sunday for a chance to win the $10,000 prize.

Crane said vendors will also be showing items ranging from mobile homes to four-wheelers to Green Eggs, a brand name for smoker grills.

On Saturday night, there will be a bonfire at 9 p.m. in the midway area.

Also, the High Octane Fire Spinners will give their fiery performances at 8 and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, by the food concession area outside of Building A.

Crane said bands will play in two large heated tents, as well.

On Friday, in the Leinie’s Beer Garden, the rock band Fourth Floor will play from7-11 p.m., while country band Big Back Yard will play in the Kwik Trip Party Tent from 7:30-11:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the JFT Party Band will play at 1 p.m. at the Leinie’s Beer Garden, and Boogie and the Yo Yoz will play from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the beer garden. Country band Madison County playing at 7 p.m. in the Kwik Trip tent.

The JFT Party Band will play from 1-4 p.m. Sunday in the Leinenkugel Beer Tent.

Chippewa Valley Newspapers, the parent company of the Chippewa Herald, is one of the corporate sponsors of Spring Fest.

Editor's Note: This story was updated with times for two of the bands that will play during Spring Fest. Fourth Floor will play from 7-11 p.m. Friday and Boogie and the Yo Yozs will play from 7:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday.