Wausau sees big weekend for festivals

By:  Katherine Bauer

With pastels scraping across the sidewalk, Chalkfest kicked off its 14th straight year this weekend.

"Interestingly enough, I only do chalk once a year and that's on pavement," said Emily Voss, who designed and drew the center square this year.

Artists take a gamble when they put their chalk to the pavement. Last year, rain washed away hours of work just ten minutes after the artists finished.

"All the time that I put in, took off all the tape, took pictures," Stephanie Miller said. "Probably within ten minutes it was a downpour."

But Voss said there is some beauty to the art style.

"It's obviously the perfect medium for sidewalk because it's not permanent, and it can wash away," Voss said. "And we can do it every year."

Each year, artists register to help cover the sidewalks on the 400 block in downtown Wausau. Miller said the community really turns out for the event.

"It's just such a huge community event," Voss said. "It's a cool weekend for everyone to come together. And you can see you haven't seen since last year with  all the crowds coming. And it just feels like a community of artists."

Not far away, Balloon and Rib Fest was underway at the Wausau Downtown Airport. 

"A rib should not be fall off the bone," said Austin Frion, a cook with Barbeque Co. "A rib should be pull off the bone."

The Barbeque Co. originated in Phoenix, Arizona but has a location in Hartford, WI.

"I think that ribs and summertime are made for each other," Frion said.

Balloon and Rib Fest brought six barbeque vendors to Wausau from all across the country, from Ohio to Texas. Vendors served up not only ribs but cheese curds, mac and cheese and corn bread.

Both festivals run through Sunday. Balloon and Rib fest wraps it up early with breakfast 6-10:30 a.m. Chalkfest finishes up at 4 p.m.

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