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River Falls Days: Moving and makeover lie ahead

Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Blasius says relocating River Falls Days will tap the “hidden beauty” of the often overlooked Kinnickinnic River.

Everyone knows that every year the weekend after July 4th is River Falls Days. But does everyone know where to find most River Falls Days activities?

That’s the trick question for River Falls Days 2014. The answer is easy but may need reorienting with a map.

The River Falls Chamber of Commerce -- the summer festival’s sponsor -- has proposed a new site along with thematic changes.

The focus is relocation: Vacating the 100 block of East Locust Street and the adjacent First National Bank parking lot and shifting to the west side of the Kinnickinnic River in the Heritage Park parking lot, the 100 block of West Maple Street and green space in front of City Hall.

“This began with us looking for a backup plan in case we ever had to relocate, and the idea has really grown in excitement as potential for this site becomes clear,” said chamber CEO Chris Blasius.

“It’s going from a concrete, blacktop area to one with the river, which is a beautiful asset but one that we seldom showcase,” she said. “This feels like it was meant to be at that new location.”

Other proposed River Falls Days changes:

  • No more gate fees for Friday night’s musical main act by the beer tent. A business will be sought to sponsor the music. Posted signage will show the corporate sponsor.
  • A Sunday afternoon emphasis on “family friendly” activities -- such as three-legged races, pie-throwing contests, kickball tournaments, etc. -- to be held on the school fields of Greenwood and Meyer.

These activities would be held where many sit to watch the concluding Sunday night fireworks across the street at Hoffman Park.

A civic or church organization will be sought to oversee the Sunday afternoon activities.

Blasius said the chamber board always reviews events it sponsors. River Falls Days, however, came in for greater scrutiny.

“The festival has plateaued the last five years or so,” she said. “Both in attendance and finances. There was a sense that, going forward, change was needed.”

Those who want to learn more or give feedback about the changes for River Falls Days 2014 should attend a forum on the topic at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, in the lower level community room of the public library.

Please see more on this story in the Dec. 12 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

You can share your opinion on the proposed new River Falls Days locaiton by taking our poll