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River Falls will welcome Wisconsin First Lady

The pathway along the Kinnickinnic River will be the site of a "Walk with Walker" event on Tuesday, May 8. First Lady Tonette Walker will visit River Falls as part of her health and tourism initiative. File photo

River Falls residents are getting the chance to show off the town, and get some exercise in while they're at it, on Tuesday, May 8 when Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker visits as part of her "Walk with Walker" event.

Rain or shine, the event will take walkers 1.2 miles along the Kinnickinnic Trail starting at city hall at 9:30 a.m. River Falls is the first of six communities that will welcome Walker, who started the "Walk with Walker" initiative to provide awareness of health activities and showcase the tourism draws throughout Wisconsin.

River Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Blasius said the event is an opportunity for community pride and increased visibility.

"I'm really excited to have the community gather together to kind of celebrate the pieces of our community that attract visitors here as well as make life more enjoyable for those that are in the community," Marketing and Communications Specialist Meghann Witthoft said. "I think it's a really fun way to highlight everything we get to enjoy and kind of brag about it a little bit."

In addition to showing off to Walker and potential visitors, the event also shows the state's Department of Tourism what River Falls has to offer. After the walk, the chamber will take department staff on a familiarization tour.

"That's just a nice way for them to better understand what River Falls is about," Blasius said.

And to show what the border cities have to offer on the other side of the state.

"We're not in Minnesota, we're over here" Witthoft laughed.

The chamber selected the Kinnickinnic River after a lengthy discussion about the different options, Blasius said.

"It worked really well to be able to showcase that," Blasius said.

The event will also serve as a ribbon cutting for the recent completion of the pathway, a partnership between the city and the Department of Natural Resources. The new path is more accessible, and doesn't cross Maple Street.

"It really provides a good opportunity for people to get some good access to the river," Blasius said.

Witthoft said they encourage people to represent their community organizations during the walk, and at the gathering afterwards at city hall.

"Wear their organization's T-shirt or a ball cap, something to show they're participating as a group," she said. "So it's a great way to get recognition for their community involvement as well."

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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