What you missed this summer

Story by Eric Larson

Summer 2010 was certainly a big one. A soccer tournament in Africa, the continuing cleanup of the Gulf Coast, and a Jet Blue employee who “had it up to here” were only a few of the more popular events to grace headlines – and of course, who could forget the premiere of Jersey Shore’s second season on MTV? But despite a plethora of happenings on the national level, the city of Eau Claire was host to quite a list itself. In case you weren’t lucky enough to spend your holiday in the wondrous Eau C, here’s a brief recap of what you missed (and didn’t miss) this summer:

Chippewa Valley Air Show

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels soared the Chippewa Valley skies in one of the strongest air shows in the nation on June 5 and 6. Highlights included a flag jump from the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, a jet-powered outhouse and school bus created by Paul Stender, and an air-to-air and air-to-ground showcase of an f-15 Fighting Falcon.

Eau Claire triathlon

The city hosted its first sprint distance triathlon at Halfmoon Park on June 13. The race included a 500 meter swim, 17 mile bike ride and three mile run. Proceeds benefited Friends of the Orphans, a non-profit organization that supports nine homes for over 3,000 orphans in the Central America region.

Jewel of India opens

On June 30, a new Indian restaurant opened its doors downtown next to Porter’s on Barstow St. The restaurant, called Jewel of India (a nickname for the Taj Mahal), is the only place to find gourmet Indian cuisine in the city. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are offered, as well as a wide variety of desserts, teas and beer.

Eau Claire named one of the best places to live

CNNmoney.com named Eau Claire the 69th best city to live in the country, based on affordable housing, quality of life, cultural offerings from the university, and beautiful landscape. The ratings were taken on small communities (towns with populations under 250,000); other Wisconsin cities to make the list were Waukesha at 44th place, and Madison and Appleton in the mid-nineties.

National kubb tournament

The National Kubb Championship took place in Boyd Park on July 17. Kubb (pronounced ‘koob’) is a Nordic lawn game in which players take turns trying to knock down their opponent’s wooden blocks with throwing pins. The tournament was well-received by the community, and if anything, helped glorify the valley’s high Scandinavian heritage.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Funnyman and movie legend Steve Martin – who, coincidentally, is fantastic at playing the banjo – performed with bluegrass group the Steep Canyon Rangers to a sold-out crowd on July 26 at the State Theatre.

Two world champions

Pat Niles, the current coach of the Eau Claire women’s ultimate frisbee team, assisted Iowa-based team The Chad Larson Experience in winning the World Ultimate Club Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. Around the same time, Eau Claire resident Dan Johnson helped the United States defeat 20 teams from across the globe in the World Boomerang Championship in Rome, Italy.

Weekly events

Aside from the above list, a number of weekly events – live music in Phoenix Park every Thursday night, Volume One’s back-alley cinema series on Graham St., countless farmers markets and theatre shows – were widely available as well.

What you didn’t miss

Now with a lot of good has to come some bad, right? Here are a few things you can be glad you missed out on:


The hills were alive this summer with the sound of … machinery. And lots of it. Numerous Eau Claire streets (predominantly the intersection in front of Just Local Foods) were ripped apart and renovated, increasing traffic jams, demanding detours and dishing out headaches.

High river currents

Due to a high amount of rain, the Chippewa River – home to the beloved Eau Claire tradition of floating – became dangerously over-flooded. The increased tides were so furious, in fact, that the city and university issued warnings to stay out until the currents decreased. (A lot of brave souls still challenged the water, though.)

That about wraps it up for the city’s summer highlights. Hopefully the upcoming year will prove to be just as jam-packed and memorable.