The annual Art on the Kinnic art fair in River Falls showcases the work of diverse artists, including budding artists on this bridge.

West-central Wisconsin has plenty to do on weekends, so my wife and I try to take advantage of what the region has to offer when we can.

As part of my wife’s recent birthday weekend — I talked her down from a “birthday month” so that was a win for me — we were first-time visitors to the Art on the Kinni, an annual art fair along the Kinnickinnic River near downtown River Falls. The art fair is the weekend after Labor Day and this 23rd annual edition featured 65 artists and another nine “budding artists” who are just getting into it. Parents of UW-River Falls students plan visits to their offspring on Art on the Kinni weekends. Vendors come from everywhere — Eau Claire and Cumberland in Wisconsin and Cloquet and Alexandria from across the border. A friend had her copper jewelry on display this year so we decided to make the trek west.

Organizers say about 5,500 people attended the event on the banks of the beautiful trout stream, observing and buying art, eating foods such as Amish ice cream or listening to some of the 10 or so musical events at spots along the water. Crowds this year had their pick of art — paintings, weavings, jewelry and much, much more. I especially liked the sports artwork at one stop. That painting of Aaron Rodgers would be a great Christmas present for a certain Packers fan my wife struggles to buy gifts for.

We walked the tree-lined trail with vendors on both sides of the walkway before settling in the shade at a riverside park, listening to jazz on a beautiful September Saturday afternoon.

We topped it off on the way home with a stop at Lucette brewery in Menomonie for pizza and a beer. And it wasn’t even my birthday weekend.