Return visitors to the long-running Festival in the Pines this weekend can expect a fresh experience this time around, new festival organizers Andrea Becht and Brad Windeshausen said.
“We just wanted to freshen it up a little bit and reach a larger demographic,” Becht said of the festival in its 36th year. “We’re looking for a lot of feedback this year, taking over a festival of this magnitude.”
The duo took over for the previous organizer, who is no longer able to run the event.
Festival in the Pines runs from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Carson Park in Eau Claire. Becht said she expects about 8,000 visitors.
The festival historically features arts and crafts, local entertainment and food. That won’t change this year, but there will be more to see and do, Becht said. New elements include a wine tour featuring local winemakers called Wine in the Pines, late-night music on Saturday and an expanded play area for children.
The wine tour comes with a $10 price tag, which includes commemorative glasses, access to various wine lounges throughout the park and a sample at each lounge.
The expanded children’s play area will have inflatables, arts and crafts, face painting and kids’ food.
Live music will feature some local acts as well as one from the Twin Cities. On Saturday, Sage Leary plays from noon to 2 p.m.; Nick Anderson & the Skinny Lovers plays from 2 to 4 p.m.; Irie Sol plays from 4:30 to 7 p.m; and Brat Pack Radio plays from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Fan favorite Classic Car Show will return for its fifth year on Sunday.
Those who are feeling generous will have an opportunity to help out kids returning to school in the fall, as well. A school bus will be parked at the festival, where festgoers can drop off school supply donations.
“We’ll get those (buses) stuffed with backpacks, jackets, pens and pencils,” Windeshausen said, “really anything kids would need to have their back to school be enjoyable and have all the things they need to learn.”
Tickets to Festival in the Pines is $5 for each day. Seniors age 62 and older get in for $4, and kids age 11 and younger are free.
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