From Water Street to winter wonderland


Story by Emily Albrent, Chief Copy Editor

The holidays are coming and Eau Claire is embracing the change in seasons and holding its very own Holiday Block Party.
Among the four districts of Eau Claire including Water Street, businesses will start their Holiday Block Party celebrations Nov. 13-17. Sandy O’Connell, the owner of Avalon Floral said she is excited for the event to start.
“It’s going to be great, there are seventeen business in it this year (on Water Street) and everybody has an event going on in store,” O’Connell said. “We have drawings, refreshments, it should be wonderful.”
Her store will have specials such as a sale starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday night where certain items in the store will be 50 percent off until Christmas.
O’Connell said that this type of event will function as a way for the community and students to realize that the downtown area is a place that they can go and explore.
“I just feel it is a good thing to do to get people down here,” O’Connell said, “see what we have on the street, see our new businesses, keep people coming down.”
The Block Party will also help out her business along with the other businesses partaking in this event.
“It gets people in that haven’t been in, it’s good advertising, it’s a good promotion,” O’Connell said.
According to O’Connell, students and the surrounding community can benefit from this event by being able to find gifts for their family and friends.
“What it does is everybody works together on it,” O’Connell said. “For example, most of us, are decorating the outside of our
buildings, and it’s really nice, it gives it that nice holiday feel.”
Another thing that O’Connell said she wanted to stress was that this event is for everyone and in general, people are always welcome in their stores.
She said that sometimes there is a stigma where young people think they cannot come into their store because they might feel as if items are too expensive, but O’Connell said that there is something for everybody.
It is not just stores that are involved in this event, but also restaurants and bars such as Mogie’s Pub and Restaurant.
General Manager of Mogie’s, David Donnelly, said that he is partaking in this event because it helps out the Eau Claire district as a whole. He acknowledged that he would not generate a large amount of business, because his company is a restaurant and pub, but it will attract those who are on Water Street to shop.
He said that his business will hold free beer tastings for those 21 and older on every day of the event, from local breweries. He said that not only will the beer tasting bring in additional possible customers, but it will also help out the breweries.
“They are all from Wisconsin, some have pretty big names, but others don’t,” Donnelly said. “So we can get their product out to a wider audience.”
Junior public relations and Spanish double major Alison Burdick-Evenson said that she has recently heard about the Water Street Holiday Block Party Event.
“It sounds really fun,” Burdick-Evenson said. “I think it’s cool that it is promoting local businesses, I think that is really
important especially with a smaller economy like Eau Claire.”
She said that this type of event is a way to get students involved in some things they normally would not do.
“I don’t really have time to just hang out downtown, I never do that, so it’s kind of a nice excuse to be able to do that,”
Burdick-Evenson said.
Burdick-Evenson said she thinks students should take advantage of this event, because it is a great way for students to get out and explore the community around them even more.