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Those 'Days' are here!

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rosanne Bump says this weekend's 2009 River Falls Days has plenty of familiar attractions but has branched out with some new things to blend with the old.

Bump had this to say about balancing that mix:

"Every year we try to include new activities throughout the festival and continue to build on the River Falls Days 'staples.' This year our downtown group has been busy organizing, "Fiesta on Main Street."

"This will be a great chance for families and kids to come down to Main Street and have a few hours of fun. There will be a little carnival crawl with lots of kids' games and activities, piñata busting at GLOBAL M.A.D.E., and other activities happening throughout the afternoon.

"And food, of course. People can join the fun by entering their own salsa or Mexican dip creations or by being one of the judges for the people's choice awards. Other food vendors will be available, too.

"Hopefully people will come out to our bean burrito eating contest. That was new last year but it was a big hit.

"We had a lot of people turn out to watch, and we've already got people bragging that they can eat more than 13 burritos in five minutes. It should be a fun contest again this year. "Immediately following the bean burrito eating contest is a free street dance featuring the live music of High Noon."

On the city's north end in the old industrial park, the trucks are revving their engines, at least for one more year.

"Our truck and tractor pull will again take place at the same location it has for many years. We have been told that this is the last year we can use that land for our events. We are actively searching for a new location.

"If someone has a few acres within, or very close, to the city limits that might be suitable for the events, we would love to have them contact us.

"We're confident we can come up with a new location that will work well for the truck and tractor pull. Plus, we'd like to bring back the demo derby too if we can. That was a great family event, and I know people miss having that as part of River Falls Days."

Where exactly will the carnival be and how far ahead do you arrange for that? Is it the same operators as last year?

"We will again have a carnival this year (same location in the parking lot just west of UW-River Falls' North Hall) and it will be the same operator as last year. That was a nice, clean carnival that served our event well, and we're looking forward to having them back again this year.

How has the planning gone for this year's River Falls Days and is it all worth it?

"It's always fun to see how the theme plays out in the parade. People really have fun implementing the theme into the parade units, and I'm sure this year will be no exception.

"River Falls Days is a great reason to be out and about in the community, meeting and reconnecting with friends, family and neighbors that maybe you haven't seen in a while.

"And it is not just local residents that come to River Falls Days. It also draws a lot of people into town to take part in the fun. This is good for our local economy."

By the numbers

Bump gave the following estimates to show the size and scope of the 2009 River Falls Days:

  • Four live music acts performed
  • Eight participants in the bean-burrito eating contest
  • Eight community organizations providing food booths
  • Eight dart machines downtown Saturday
  • 25 merchants taking part in the sidewalk sale
  • 30 organizations providing low- or no-cost children activities
  • 59 sponsors supporting the events
  • 120 pizzas needed to feed the marching bands
  • 120 units in the Friday night parade
  • 121 portable toilets around town
  • 200 pulls (hooks) at the truck and tractor pull
  • 450 runners in the Saturday morning 10K/2M run
  • 2,500 River Falls Days buttons ordered

    Top 10 favorites

    Bump and the chamber's Event and Program Coordinator Nick Carstens came up with 10 reasons why, despite the long hours of preparation, they love River Falls Days.

    10) When food vendors give us free food (wink, wink)

    9) Overhearing conversations in the line for the port-a-potties

    8) People "collecting" beer pitchers at the end of street dances

    7) The theme-picking process

    6) Choosing/sampling the beverage lineup

    5) Dealing with carnies

    4) Pastors trying to cheat at the "faster pastor" races

    3) Being involved in the parade when occasionally the floats actually "float"

    2) Reading the letters to the editor the week after RF Days

    1) Monday: Celebrating "Only 361 days until the next River Falls Days"

    Online they say...

    The Journal's website, at, already has much reader commentary about a posted River Falls Days story.

    Some feedback includes:

  • Mandy C., River Falls, WI -- We went down 2nd today and there was a blanket placed and taped off areas already! SO pathetic!! I swear this is the only town if you do not put something out a week in advance you are out of luck from anywhere decent. It makes 2nd street look like a dump! I think this should be held off until at least the day of the parade or even if that is pushing it fine chance it later that night. But get a life people. Be like everyone else and go looking that day not a whole week early!
  • Stacey G., River Falls, WI -- I think it's ridiculous that people have such a problem with putting out blankets for the parade. If you are so concerned about getting a spot, then go put a blanket out for yourself. This has been tradition for years in this town and it lasts a grand total of one week out of an entire year. There are so many other pressing matters to lose sleep over.
  • Terry P., River Falls, WI -- I have one question I've wanted to address to the River Falls Day committee for several years. Why in the heck do we need a new "lame" theme every year? One year we're cowboys and then the following year...??? Do we not know what our community stands for? All the other town "days" we attend over western WI and the east Metro area use a traditional name that they've used for years. Pick a name that reflects the origin of our town and the Kinni and keep it. The button design can and should change slightly each year, but please, please stop attaching a silly "catch" phrase. One idea is to have a contest to find the proper name to describe our yearly celebration? I'll bet many great ideas will flow in. By the way, in case you're wondering, I'm not an outsider. I've lived here my entire life.
  • Candace B., River Falls, WI -- I really like the idea of picking a theme and staying with it--Kinnic Days, Falls in Bloom, --I'm sure there are many more creative ideas. The Chamber is willing to listen to any ideas. Go for it!

    Phil Pfuehler can be reached at

    Debbie Griffin can be reached at

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