The August 11, 12 and 13 Charity Event has Matured into a Bona Fide Hit among Festival Goers
ARCADIA, Wis. – West Central Wisconsin is a hotbed for summer music festivals, which have become staple annual retreats for astute concert aficionados from Madison to Minneapolis, and Rochester, MN to Wausau, WI.
One of these festivals doesn’t quite fit the mold – or garner the same amount of public recognition as some of the others – yet has quietly attained a cult following of sorts among its growing fan base. It’s called, “Ashley for the Arts” and it’s held in Arcadia, Wisconsin; population 2,925.
So, why would you be interested in attending, you ask? This may sound cliché, but there just may be something for everyone. Oh, and there is one more thing: The cost of admission to this three-day event is a whopping 10 dollars.
So, what do you get with your ten-dollar admission wristband?
Let’s start with the music. This year’s headliners include 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Chicago, as well as American Authors, X Ambassadors, Kellie Pickler, Craig Morgan, LOCASH and High Valley. Eclectic, right? And that’s just the headliners.
OK, what else?
The venue is perhaps the most awe-inspiring aspect of Ashley for the Arts. The 54-acre Memorial Park serves as the backdrop for the event. It has open green spaces, mature trees, and a beautiful outdoor amphitheater; and also features Soldiers Walk, one of the premier war memorials in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. This park is certainly not one that you would expect to see in an isolated rural community. Among his many philanthropic contributions, Ron Wanek, founder and chairman of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., was the lead benefactor and architect of this majestic park.
And Memorial Park is more than capable of handling large crowds. Two miles of walkways subtly direct pedestrian traffic by art and craft vendors, four music stages, a car show, hot air balloon launches, two air parks (featuring bouncy houses and obstacle courses), an interactive art station, and a kids jungle gym and playground area. Each year, Ashley for the Arts also features a run/walk event, a bike race, a kid’s obstacle course, a sky lantern launch during Friday’s and Saturday’s headline performances and an unforgettable fireworks show on Saturday night.
There are additional music entertainers and many family-friendly off stage performances throughout the Friday and Saturday portion of the event, including a wheel of death, fire poi, juggling, balloon sculptures, bubbles, Wild West-themed performances, a living statue, and a scavenger hunt. A Mexican Dance group dressed in traditional attire will perform on Saturday, as well.
As if the family friendly aspect of this event weren’t already self-evident, here’s another golden nugget: With their ten-dollar admission wristband, children can gain unlimited access to all on stage and offstage performances, the air parks, the jungle gym playground area, the interactive art activities area, and scavenger hunt activities, and they are provided with many FREE giveaways and prizes. So, outside of the food and drink, Mom and Dad can rest assured that they won’t need to break the bank if they bring the kids along.
With food and beverage booths (and bathrooms) aplenty, free parking and free bus shuttles to nearby parking areas and the county campground just North of Arcadia, one can begin to understand why attendance for this festival has grown by an average of 50% per year since its inception in 2009.