Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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Gimme 5: International Fall Festival marks 30 years with Saturday festivities

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    Members of the St. Paul-based Jang-mi Korean Dance and Drum group perform a Samgomoo drum dance on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at the International Fall Festival. The event returns from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Eau Claire.

    Staff file photo

Editor’s note: Gimme 5 is a five-question interview on a topic of local interest.

Who: Liz Brodke, down­town com­mu­ni­ca­tion and pro­mo­tions co­or­di­na­tor for the Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Divi­sion of the city of Eau Claire.

Talks about: The 30th an­nual In­ter­na­tional Fall Fes­ti­val.

De­tails: Down­town Eau Claire’s largest and old­est fes­ti­val will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day, with a pa­rade at 3 p.m.

In­for­ma­tion: Click on the events tab at down­towneau­claire.org or con­tact or­ga­nizer Liz Brodek at 715-839-4914 or eliz­a­beth.brodek@eau­clairewi.gov.

For folks who somehow have missed the first 29 International Fall Festivals, how would you describe what goes on?

 It’s a day to come downtown and celebrate our wonderfully diverse Eau Claire community. There are over 110 vendors this year (including food trucks), performances, a petting zoo, inflatables, face painting, cricket and, of course, the Royal Credit Union Parade of Nations at 3 p.m. featuring the Blugold Marching Band.

Do you have anything special or new on tap for the 30th annual festival? 

We’re excited to be refocusing on the multicultural aspects of our Eau Claire community this year. 

The Pablo Center is helping with this, and we have some great booths and performances that highlight this as well. We’re also incorporating short narratives from locals during Kneauing Our Stories sets, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer free games of cricket all day.

What would youconsider the most popular aspects of thefestival? 

It’s really a great time for everyone. The vibrancy created by the variety of activities makes it very popular. 

And people absolutely love the parade — especially the Blugold Marching Band. We started getting questions about it in June.

What kind of attendance do you expect and what ages of people typically attend? 

We expect attendance anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 throughout the day, depending on weather. All ages attend, and it’s particularly great for families with small kids because of the petting zoo, inflatables and face painting.

Downtown has certainly changed a lot in the past 30 years. What does that mean to the festival?

As downtown evolves, so does the festival. We incorporate the traditions people love but try to incorporate something new and timely for each event. We’re excited to have it grow and evolve even more in the coming years. 

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