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State tourism show ‘discovers’ River Falls

“Discover Wisconsin” hosts Mariah Haberman and Collin Geraghty pose with a kayak belonging to the local Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters Monday, Aug. 4, their third day in a row of filming in River Falls. Discover Wisconsin is shooting an episode aimed at giving tourists in Wisconsin and around the Midwest a taste of what River Falls has to offer. 1 / 5
”Discover Wisconsin” host Collin Geraghty, a Hudson native, carries a kayak out of the water and back to a waiting truck after filming his portion of a segment relating to kayaking on the Kinnickinnic for Discover Wisconsin’s River Falls episode.2 / 5
“Discover Wisconsin” employees are shown with River Falls Chamber of Commerce Tourism Sales Marketing Manager Judy Berg on the Veterans’ Park/Heritage Park bridge in River Falls. From left are managing producer and cinematographer Chad Diedrick, host Mariah Haberman, producer Jodi Lyon, Berg, and host Collin Geraghty. (Submitted photo)3 / 5
Mariah Haberman (left) finishes a segment related to kayaking the Kinnickinnic with Mike Kealy of River Guide kayaks at the County F Bridge near Kinnickinnic State Park. Discover Wisconsin also worked with Paige Olson of Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters (not pictured).4 / 5
Jodi Lyon, Collin Geraghty and Chad Diedrick film a segment at Lund’s Fly shop, 102 N. Main St., Monday, Aug. 4, in River Falls. (Submitted photo)5 / 5

Tourists often contact “Discover Wisconsin” to ask about what host Mariah Haberman calls “hidden gems” -- places they may not know they’d love to visit.

One of the goals of the show Discover Wisconsin out of Madison is to show off those “hidden gems” and help people find them.

This year, “Discover Wisconsin” is working to create a half-hour episode showing viewers what River Falls has to offer.

“Discover Wisconsin” discovered River Falls when Judy Berg, Chamber of Commerce tourism sales marketing manager, stopped by the Discover Wisconsin booth  at the Wisconsin Department of Tourism Conference.

The River Falls Chamber of Commerce formed a four-way partnership with the city of River Falls, UW-River Falls and the River Falls School District to bring Discover Wisconsin to River Falls.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to showcase many of the great things that are taking place in River Falls,” said Chamber CEO Chris Blasius.

After the chamber, city, UWRF, and school district decided to work together with Discover Wisconsin, the groups held a meeting to plan out the episode.

“For all of our clients, we work with the partner, and decide what’s going to get people excited about the area,” said managing producer and cinematographer Chad Diedrick.

The River Falls episode will try to give viewers an idea of all the activities and events River Falls has to offer.

The Discover Wisconsin crew’s first visit to River Falls was during the Blues Festival -- April 4-6.

They returned for the first weekend in August for footage of places to shop, eat and gather downtown, including: Riverwalk Square, Funktion Junktion, River Walk Mercantile,  historic buildings, including the Flour Mill, and well-known sights such as the mural on Riverwalk Art and Antiques, and The Swinging Bridge, as well as Bo’s and Mine, The West Wind and the South Fork.

The crew also shot footage for segments on River Falls activities like Fighting Fish baseball games (though the actual game the crew was to film got rained out), We Bike River Falls, and the Border Battle Crossing bike race.

And, of course, much of what’s been filmed revolves around the Kinni. Haberman and her fellow host Collin Geraghty kayaked and went fly fishing, and interviewed local kayaking and fly fishing experts, as well as representatives for other local events and activities.

The River Falls episode on Discover Wisconsin is expected to be shown in  March 2015.

Discover Wisconsin has been broadcasting for about 27 years and is shown across eight states in the Midwest.

It is the longest-running tourism show in the country. In the River Falls area, it airs on Eau Claire’s WKOW TV 18, and on Fox Sports North.

Gretta Stark
Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
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