Thursday, July 19, 2018

Katy Macek

P10 Festival’s greatest asset is its venue

  • dr-Stream-1-061618-11

    Rebecca Denny of Eau Claire, played with her 22-month-old son Diego in the stream on June 15 at River Prairie Park in Altoona. The park was the site of Saturday's P10 Festival.

    Staff photo by Dan Reiland
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After a rainy start to Saturday morning, Altoona’s P10 Festival got underway.

Aside from moving a few of the previously scheduled morning fitness classes inside, according to P10 Festival’s Facebook page, the rain didn’t put a damper on the event held in River Prairie Park. Indeed, the clouds may have been a blessing in disguise considering the warm temperatures.

I didn’t get to the park until around 1 p.m., when many of the morning activities had ended, but there was still plenty to do, see and taste.

I was, however, a little surprised at the lack of folks in attendance, but perhaps I had missed the morning rush, or as Gladys Earl of Gladys’ Dazzling Desserts in Menomonie said, perhaps, there was just too much going on.

Earl, who was selling her delectable treats at the farmers market on the grounds — I simply had to buy her peanut butter bars — said the day had been “kind of slow,” but attributed it to people having too many choices over the weekend, the biggest of course being Blue Ox Music Festival, which held its final day Saturday.

For those who did attend, a variety of food trucks selling gyros, BBQ and hot dogs awaited, as well as a beer garden and artist market featuring a handful of local artisans selling everything from decorative wine glasses to air plants and terrariums. There was even a mobile boutique selling southern-inspired clothing — perhaps the most unique thing I saw during the day.

The most fun thing for me to watch was the dancers performing at the park’s new amphitheater. They brought an energy I’m not sure I could muster in 90-degree heat and attracted many onlookers, including those watching from Cowboy Jack’s patio.

We only stayed at the event for a couple of hours, and I am sure we didn’t see everything it had to offer, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a warm afternoon in what is truly a scenic park. Between its plethora of trails and bridges crossing a man-made stream, perhaps the most lovely part of the event for me was exploring the natural beauty of the park.

The following day, I returned to River Prairie Park with my fiance, his mom, dad and brother to celebrate Father’s Day. I was excited to show them all of the beautiful features I had seen the day before. But walking on the trail along the Eau Claire River toward U.S. 53, I found myself discovering something new yet again.

If you follow the curve and leave the trail, going up another concrete sidewalk, you’re greeted by a beautiful fountain in the middle of a pond, with trails surrounding the pond on both sides.

From the road side, you might be drawn to the River Prairie Development’s restaurants, hotel and businesses. But the real gem of this well-redeveloped area, in my opinion, is how much time and effort was put into the trails and tiny details that make this park a great area to spend an afternoon outdoors.


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