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Summer Fest brings strongmen, superheros, yoga, and classic cars downtown

Posted July 16th, 2015

There's a full day of fun activites planned in downtown Eau Claire on August 1st, as Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. hosts Summer Fest and Family Night in the Park.

There will be strongmen, classic cars, superheros, stilt walkers, yoga on a bridge, a movie in the park, great food, and more!

"It's going to be an extrememly fun day and night, packed full of so many neat things to see and do! We're planning some great new things, along with some popular favorites," said Salina Heller, Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.'s organizer of Summer Fest.

During the day, four blocks of South Barstow Street from Lake to Gibson Street, will be closed to traffic, and instead, vendors will be lining the streets.  The vendors of the Artist Market that's typically held at Phoenix Park will move to S. Barstow, along with the rest of the Summer Fest Vendors.  Activities on S. Barstow are from 11am-4pm, and then the Great Lawn of Phoenix Park transforms into the magical Family night in the Park from 6pm-11pm.

For something new this year, DECI is hosting Yoga on the Bridge. "This is a popular concept all over the country and we'd like to take anohter step in having people experience our beautiful area by hosting another unique event on a bridge," Heller said.

The hour yoga class on the Grand Avenue foot bridge will be designed for all levels and will be led by Amy Erickson of Latitude 44 Yoga Studio.

Erickson said attendees can expect an invigorating class.  "We will begin and end with brief meditation which will bookend a fun yoga session.  There are no prerequisites, so if you've never done yoga, have no fear! If you're a regular practitioner, come on out for a change of scenery and a new experience."

Erickson said she's honored to be a part of this new, unique event.  "Yoga is fun everywhere, but then to do it on the bridge overlooking the Chippewa River and you've managed to bring it to the next level.  The views, the camaraderie, and the experience will be amazing.  I look forward to a fabulous day with the attendees!" Erickson said.

A bit of a different spectacle will be found on Main Street as the Strongman Showdown will be taking place.

Organizer of the USS Sanctioned Contest, Michael Stroozas, said the #4 ranked strongman in the world and the #2 ranked strongest woman in the world under 148 pounds will be at the competition.

The Burger King Classic Car Exhibition will be back again, as well as the petting zoo, pony rides, and inflatables.

It's a superhero themed Family Night in the Park, with the evening culminating with a showing of Big Hero 6 on a 25 x 14 foot inflatable screen at dark, presented by Citizens Community Federal.

Competitors from the Strongman Showdown will also be there to take photos with the kids, and will host some kids' strongman activites.  There will also be a superhero photo booth, superhero crafts, crazy hairdos, tie-dying, inflatables, and food.  Members of the Eau Claire Fire and Police Departments will also be there for kids to visit with.

"We want people to dress up as their favorite superhero, while we celebrate our superheros, real of fictional!" Heller said.  "The setting for this magically fun night can't be better than having the rivers as our backdrop, and enjoying festivities in the beautiful Great Lawn of Phoenix Park."