Festival features fun, fights family violenceMultiple human and mechanical forces will converge to offer the Family Fun Fest and All-Vehicle Show 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, along Main and several side streets downtown.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Multiple human and mechanical forces will converge to offer the Family Fun Fest and All-Vehicle Show 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, along Main and several side streets downtown.
Opening ceremonies are at 10 a.m., and the in-case-of-rain date is Sunday, Oct. 7.
Organizers say the event enables people to do two good things at once: Enjoy good, clean, mostly free entertainment appropriate for all ages while supporting the fight against domestic violence.
Even chairpersons George and Jackie La Fave continue and expand upon a tradition started last year with a fall car show benefitting the Wishes and More organization.
“There’s something for everybody, and they can have a ball all day,” said George.
This year the event proceeds go to the River Falls-based Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Director Kim Wojcik says all the efforts, activities and visitors that day help to stop domestic violence.
George says he happened to be in Second Chances one day, not knowing it as a Turningpoint fundraising store. He said manager Kelly Zillmer explained its mission well and that the organization has “worked tirelessly” on the Family Fun Fest.
Retired from law enforcement, George puts high importance on Turningpoint’s purpose, which Wojcik describes succinctly as “safety, support, strength.”
People with a vehicle to show pay $15 to enter and check in ‘the morning of’ at Auto Value, 658 N. Main St. That comes with a free-meal ticket to a local business, many of which will offer specials for the day.
George said last year’s event drew about 450 vehicles -- they printed 9,000 fliers for this year. Those with a display vehicle will park along Main Street, which will be closed from Cedar to Locust streets.
Also closed will be Cedar, Pine, Elm and Locust streets from Second to Main.
George said, “We’ve expanded to all the streets downtown.”
There is no admission charge to see the cars, and participants decide the $500 show winner. Some side activities available cost $5 to $10, while other things are free.
For example, there will be several inflatable toys for which kids can get an all-day bracelet for $5. Another special booth offers the chance for people to paint and personalize their own ceramic car -- a big one for $10 or a small one for $5.
Jackie said the Bikers Against Child Abuse will offer free child-ID kits, “They’ll take your child’s fingerprints and a picture of them.”
Parents then receive that information on a disk. Jackie said BACA does not keep the information and deletes it securely from the on-site computer.
Visitors thinking of adopting a pet can visit an area run by the Protective Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) of western Wisconsin. People can enjoy a free Elvis-tribute singer 1-2 p.m. near Walnut Street.
A “cupcake” bowl pits Packers fans against Vikings fans with a contest to see which fans sell the most team-themed cupcakes. Passersby can buy a turn to whack a running “gas guzzler” engine to see how many hits it takes before quitting.
Folks from a military museum will dress in uniforms from different eras and have on hand an old Army Jeep and ambulance.
People may also see anything from high-speed go carts to a monster truck.
George calls two of the vehicles coming to the show “concourse cars” -- the ultimate. Both are shown with this story.
Visitors can count on seeing lots of cool rides from all over western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities area.
He said, “And we will have (old) tractors again this year.”
Marv Roberts of Hudson shares a bit of the story behind his restored 1949 Studebaker. He bought a 1948 Champion convertible in 1950, the year he got drafted and married to Marilyn.
They sold that car but decades later wanted another and in 1977, found one in a Minnesota barn. It was nearly falling apart so got pushed into a corner for the next 15 years.
When Roberts was ready to tackle the Studebaker, he found a “parts” car, using its chassis, motor, front clip, floor boards and trunk. The enthusiast finished the restoration in 1997.
Marv adds that the original price of the car in 1949 was $2,086.
Wojcik of Turningpoint said she appreciates the car owners and everyone involved in the effort, “Without events like this we’d have to reduce the services we have.”
She said the organization provides emergency shelter, a 24-hour text hotline, legal advocacy, prevention education and a raised awareness about domestic violence. She said it’s a personal goal of hers to change the way people look at the issue, to remove the shame and stigma normally associated with it.
Turningpoint served 797 clients last year, according to Wojcik, including men who needed overnight stays.
The director says the color for domestic-violence awareness is purple, so people can show solidarity at the Fun Fest with purple attire.
George and Wojcik agree that more volunteers are welcome -- especially for the early morning and event breakdown later in the afternoon.
Anyone interested in helping can call or e-mail Wojcik at Turningpoint: 715-425-6751, ext. 102, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the Family Fun Fest and All-Vehicle Show may also be found online at Turningpoint’s Facebook page.