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River Falls Lit Crawl brings enjoyment to all

Fifth-grader Grace Hanson reads an ode to her mother at the River Falls Public Library while Robin Boles, Sebastien Bowden, Phoenix Score and Harper Score listen. Photo by Caroline Herfindahl1 / 2
Elise Gregory reads in front of a full house at Junior's Restaurant and Taphouse during the open mic and raffle. Photo by Caroline Herfindahl2 / 2

Rain didn't dampen literary voices Oct. 14 during the second River Falls Lit Crawl. Co-organizers Robin Boles, Elise Gregory and Kate Maude were thrilled with attendance throughout the afternoon, which included five different Main Street venues and over 20 local, regional, student and professional writers.

Student writers from area elementary schools began the day's reading in the River Falls Public Library Story Room. Students had learned about poetry in the weeks leading up to the RF Lit Crawl from Robin Boles, Elizabeth Bowden, Elise Gregory, and Casey and Kate Maude.

Local and regional authors Dan Woll, Jeannine Ouellette and David Wood awed the Gallery 120 audience with an eclectic array of drama and satire in a novel excerpt, lyric essay and short story.

Riverwalk Square hosted a full room for emeritus professors Margarita Hendrickson and Michael Norman along with talented UW-River Falls creative writing students Gloria Bartel, Brianna Brasser and Sam Scarlato.

At Kinnickinnic Clayworks, the ceramic artworks shone alongside literary members of the Kinnickinnic Valley Writers Cooperative. Robin Boles, Miriam King, Kay Lee Penton, Allison Reimers and Leslie Thomas shared novel excerpts, short stories and poetry.

Literary celebration continued throughout the evening at Junior's Restaurant and Taphouse where Bryan Mulrooney welcomed readers to a warm, inviting open mic with tributes to the renowned poet Theodore Roethke and local literary talent Thomas R. Smith.

Tom Hendrickson kicked off the open mic readers with powerful poems. Literary locals such as Wanda Brown, Shelley Tougas, Michelle Hanson, Jera Terreng, Catherine Olson and high school writer Celia Olson regaled a standing room-only crowd. Donated items from local businesses, artists and published authors were raffled off throughout the evening.

Throughout the day, a great sense of community was fostered between writers, audience members and local businesses.

The RF Lit Crawl organizers would like to thank the following businesses and artists for donating to the raffle: Whole Earth Market Co-op, Chapter 2 Books, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Riverwalk Square, Brickhouse Music, Custom Framing & Art, Casey Maude, and Emily Gregory.

Additionally organizers would like to thank the River Falls Area Optimist Club for making this event possible along with all the businesses who hosted readers. Thank you to local fifth-grade teachers from Greenwood and Rocky Branch Elementary Schools and teachers from the Public Montessori for welcoming poetry lessons. Thank you to the women who helped organize during the day of the event: Miriam King, Kay Lee Penton, Patrice Peterson, Beth Schommer and Leslie Thomas. Additional thanks to the fabulous emcees: Bryan Mulrooney, Ron Neuhaus, Beth Schommer and Joe Rein. Thank you for getting the word out through the Kinnickinnic Writers Cooperative, Michael Norman. Finally thank you to Caroline Herfindahl for capturing the entire event through her photography.

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