Event includes picnic, games, music
By Angie Landsverk
A new community event called the Summer Games will be held Wednesday, July 20, in downtown Waupaca.
It will be held on the lawn in front of city hall and the library, as well as on the block of Main Street between Union and Fulton streets.
That section of Main Street will be closed from 4-9 p.m., with the event taking place from 5-9 p.m.
The Summer Games, part of the Downtown on Main series of events, will include a free picnic, games for people of all ages and music.
The Downtown on Main series is being sponsored by the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, city of Waupaca and retailers from the Waupaca, King & In Between group.
Last year was the first year the three entities worked together to create events to bring people downtown.
It sponsored two events under the name “Summer Nights.”
One event was the Spudder Mini Open in August, and the other was the Waupaca Homecoming Tailgating Party in September.
This year, they decided to add a third event in July and to change the name of the series to Downtown on Main.
The Summer Games will kick off at 5 p.m. on July 20 with a free summer picnic of hot dogs, chips, lemonade and hopefully, corn on the cob.
The games will start at 6 p.m. and will include Lawn Jenga, Ladder Game, Corn Hole (bag toss), Washers Game, Connect 4 and Ping Pong.
All community members are invited to participate.
There will also be a Ping Pong demonstration by accomplished players.
The Chamber will sell beverages, including beer, soda and water.
The event will also include music by the bluegrass band Sloppy Joe.
Sponsored by the Waupaca Community Arts Board, the band will perform on the bandstand from 7-9:30 p.m.
The concert is the arts board’s second in its inaugural season of the Summer Nights Concerts Series.
The first one took place last month at South Park’s pavilion, and the third and final concert of the series will return to South Park on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
The sponsors of Downtown on Main are working together to create new events as a way to bring more people downtown to see what Main Street has to offer.
Anita Olsen is among those involved in the retailers group. She said stores, restaurants, pubs, Rotary Riverview Park, the city square’s green space, the historic bandstand, the library and South Park are all places to be enjoyed.
Last year’s first two events were the result of a downtown visioning process which took place the prior year.
With Main Street slated to be reconstructed in a few years, there are concerns about how the project may affect downtown businesses.
The city, Chamber and retailer’s group decided to create new events now so they will be established by the time the project begins.
In addition to the Summer Games, the group is planning another Spudder Mini Open and Homecoming event this year.
The Spudder Mini Open will also be held on the block of Main Street between Union and Fulton streets, as well as on the city square’s green space.
It will take place from 3-10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25.
During the July 5 meeting of the Waupaca Common Council, Brennan Kane, the city’s development director, told the council the street will be closed that day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The closure will begin in the morning so the mini golf course may be installed on Main Street.
When Ald. Jillian Petersen asked Kane if he checked when Waupaca Learning Center is holding its open house, Kane said he did not but explained the hours for the Spudder Mini Open are expanding this year.
It will start at 3 p.m. and include a glow-golf themed option from 8-10 p.m.
Last year, the event took place on the same evening of the school’s annual open house.
Petersen said she received a lot of feedback from families about that fact.
Kane said starting the mini golf event earlier and ending it later will allow people to take advantage of more hours.
The Friends of Waupaca Parks will handle beer sales, just as the group did last year.
Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Jenson said there were not any issues last year related to the sale of alcohol.
Kane said he will work with Interim Police Chief Brian Hoelzel regarding a police presence at the event.
After the August event, the sponsors of Downtown on Main will have a few months to prepare for the Friday, Oct. 7, Homecoming event, which this year will be held at Haberkorn Field and South Park.