We pick three

From board games and a polar plunge to a winter farmers market, there’s plenty to do this weekend in the Chippewa Valley


Photo by Travis Dewitz

The Polar Plunge raises money for Wisconsin Special Olympics athletes. People will brave the cold water on Sunday.

Note: “We pick three” is a rotating column where Spectator writers pick their top three upcoming events in the Chippewa Valley. 

Friday Night Games: Come down to “Clairemont Comics” if you want board games for all ages. The Eau Claire Board Game Group is hosted here and welcomes everyone. No matter your skill level, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Brandy McQueen, who runs the ECBGG, said different people from around the community come together to enjoy board games together. 

“We all get together, if there’s certain games that people feel comfortable sharing with the group, because maybe they’ve played it before, we can play that,” McQueen said.

McQueen brings plenty of games herself. Although there is an RSVP on their Facebook page, she said she is always prepared.

Once visitors see what games are available to play, they split up into smaller groups based on who wants to play what, said McQueen. 

The ECBGG strives to be a safe space for all of those who attend. They have partnered with the Chippewa LGBTQ community center and all of these events are alcohol free, McQueen said. 

“Even though we’re at some of the pubs around town, there’s never any obligation to purchase anything. We’re giving people an alternative to just drinking,” McQueen said. 

These game nights are every Friday from Jan. 10 to May 29 at Clairemont Comics, 2215 Fairfax St. They are free. 

Menomonie Farmers Market: If you’re looking for some local farmers, bakers, food producers and artists, this is the place to go. The winter farmers market and only runs through the months of November to April. The farmers market welcomes all ages and is free, with free parking as well. 

Veronika Zazovsky, the general manager, said visitors will start their weekend with fresh coffee, meeting local farmers, musicians and non-profits.

“We are hosted at the Raw Deal coffee shop and they roast their beans, so when people enter this is the first thing they’re going to see and smell,” Zazovsky said. 

The winter farmers market is a continuation to the normal summer market so visitors will see some familiar faces, Zazovsky said. 

“The winter market is an addition to our normal summer season and any vendors from the summer market that have anything to offer are coming to the winter market to sell,” Zazovsy said. 

The winter market is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until April 11 at Raw Deal, 603 S. Broadway St. Menomonie, WI.  

Special Olympics Wisconsin Polar Plunge: If you are looking to embrace the cold winter weather, you can join the Polar Plunge. The event will raise money for Wisconsin Special Olympics athletes. 

You can register as an individual, join a team, or create a team. You can also support a “plunger” if jumping into freezing water isn’t your thing. 

Once you register, you can check-in a day early from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 22 in the heated registration tent. Or, check-in is available the day of the plunge at 11 a.m. on Sunday Feb. 23. 

Breakfast will be served served at 9 a.m. Sunday at VFW (2900 W Folsom St.) A shuttle will be running a constant loop from VFW to the plunge site. 

At 11 a.m. the check-in starts and you can hang out with Chilly Bear, listen to live music and purchase concessions or souvenirs. 

At 12 p.m. the opening ceremony starts with the actual plunge to follow. Post-plunge, an after party will be held at 1 p.m. at VFW. 

The Special Olympics Wisconsin Polar Plunge will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Half Moon Beach, 615 Randall St.