A kickstart to fall in Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire hosts fall fall festival to kick off the season

McKenna Dirks

More stories from McKenna Dirks

3rd and Vine
April 5, 2022

Photo by Owyn Peters

A couple dances to a local band’s music outside The Lismore at the International Fall Festival.

When one thinks of fall, what may come to mind is apple picking at an orchard or color-changing leaves on the trees. But for local businesses of downtown Eau Claire, it means a festival.

This last weekend, Downtown Eau Claire Incorporated (DECI) organized the 31st annual International Fall Festival to put more emphasis on Eau Claire’s international culture, language, food and music, according to their facebook event page.

Aaron White, the director of DECI, said volunteers would come in and do the set up early the day of the festival.

“We would try to have everyone in place and ready to go by 11 a.m.,” White said.

DECI is made up of public and private ownership that comprises anyone from community members to local business members, who do fundraising and events, he said.

(They) strive to promote the downtown area with festivals, attractions, promotions and marketing to show off the downtown region, White said.

He said the fundraising allows for things like festivals and attractions to be free to the public.

“The city made an effort to grow and improve this area,” White said. “DECI was part of that mission.”

Lindsey Quinnies, the program manager at Volume One, said they’ve been setting up their booth at the festival for at least five years.

She said the event was mainly for celebrating local vendors and food, as well as a parade they put on too.

“It’s just kind of fun to come out and be a part of the community,” Quinnies said. “Talking to local people too about your business and seeing business organizations and cultural groups all in one place.”

Tori Johnson, a second Volume One representative at the festival, said she likes being outside and seeing a lot of other people outside too. This was also her first year working the stand.

Kevin Grady, the associate director of the Eau Claire Children’s Theater, said he has been representing the children’s theater for 10 years at the festival.

He said it’s nice to be able to get out in front of people to get the theater’s name out there, and connecting with people who already know what they do, as well as people who haven’t seen a show before.

“Eau Claire is a great town where we have all of these events that bring us together like this,” Grady said.

Another booth showcasing their local business was the Eau Claire School of Dance (ECSOD).

Kayla Stadem, a third-year psychology student at UW-Eau Claire, said the dance studio has been open for 22 years, and it was her third year running the stand at the festival.

She said for the past two years, it has been cold and raining during the festival, so the nice weather was a good change from the previous years.

“It’s nice seeing kids who are interested in dance and come into class the next two weeks,” Stadem said.

Macy Roberts, a first-year elementary education student, said she likes seeing the community come together like this for the festival.

“Being a student, you’re often involved in the university,” Roberts said. “And it’s just kind of cool seeing the Eau Claire community as a whole.”

Dirks can be reached at [email protected].