Chippewa’s SpringFest sticks with plan A after snowstorm

Chippewa Falls Rotary Foundation presents 8th annual SpringFest

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October 1, 2018

Photo by Rachel Helgeson

Snow wouldn’t have stopped the festivities, said co-chair Hugh Crane.

With the sun shining on the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, which was bustling with people ready to enjoy the outdoor festivities, it is hard to fathom there was nearly a foot of late-spring snow not too many days ago.

The Chippewa Falls Rotary Foundation, which hosted its eighth annual SpringFest in Chippewa April 27-29, continued with original outdoor plans despite experiencing the recent blizzard.

“It totally caught us off guard, it was a very depressive day when that storm hit … We had spent half a day coming up with a plan B,” Rotary Foundation Co-Chair Hugh Crane said. “But, everything turned out well. We were able to use the entire grounds.”

Even if the snow stuck around, Crane said the show would still go on because of the money invested ahead of time.

The event began when the foundation was looking to put on a fundraiser in 2011 and averages about 2,500 to 3,500 attendees each year, Crane said.

About six members of the foundation’s board of directors work on a majority of the planning for the event, while many from the Rotary Club volunteer their time when SpringFest is held.

Annually, a portion of the proceeds — which total about $25,000 — are given back to the community, Crane said. The SpringFest website states this donation goes specifically to including to non-profits, grant and scholarship funds and other programs.

Planning for the event begins about a year in advance, Crane said. Bands, food vendors and new events like this year’s ATV Big Air Show were booked and paid for during the previous summer.

SpringFest presented a packed schedule this year, including musical talent like the local saxophonist Sue Orfield hailing from Chippewa Falls; UW-Eau Claire student singer Sage Leary; Madison County band; Rockin Ivy band; Brett Hanson; and Boogie and the Yo-Yoz.

Other family-friendly events, a few in which attendees could participate, included the kubb competition and the 5K walk/run along with classic fair activities like face-painting and a petting zoo. A classic car show was also held on Saturday.

The most anticipated event was the Big Air Show which took place in the grandstand on Saturday and Sunday, Crane said. According to the SpringFest website, it is a “Pro Freestyle ATV’s, Motorcycle Backflips, BMX, and UTV Off-Road Thrill Show.”

Chris Clark, a stunt cyclist and global competitor, was also scheduled for Saturday.

“(Clark) does some things on a bike that most adults would hope that their kids and grandkids would never do,” Crane said.

Another co-chair, Sheldon Gough, said this year’s SpringFest weekend held the biggest events the foundation had ever put on. But it wasn’t always this big.

“Like anything else, it started slow … the first year I think we had pony rides, a petting zoo and some outdoor inflatables and a couple of minor bands in the evening,” Gough said.

The SpringFest website says the event planners will continue to add and expand each year.