It was a successful weekend in Arcadia at Ashley for the Arts that took place August 11-13. The annual three-day music and arts festival hosted tens of thousands of fans with an array of headline entertainment, art and craft vendors, rows of food vendors, an inflatable air park, a lumberjack show, street performers, fireworks and so much more! The organization announced last week that more than 70 nonprofit organizations that participated in the event will benefit from nearly $650,000 donated by Ashley for the Arts.
“It was an amazing year filled with an abundance of activities for the whole family,” said Cole Bawek, event director. “As soon as you entered the grounds, you were greeted with artsy vibes throughout the 54-acre Memorial Park, and outstanding musical lineups. The Ashley for the Arts mission of showcasing the arts and supporting humanity was a true description of the weekend!”
Thursday night’s kickoff event welcomed performances from Chris Kroeze, Arch Allies and Tuned Up, as well as some new activities including fireworks and a Glow Run. Hundreds of participants dressed in neon colors and glowing accessories to run for a cause, where they crossed the finish line into a pool of green, glowing foam. Proceeds from the Pursuit of a Cure Glow Run, charity raffle and luminaria sales support the advancement of medical research and help offset medical costs that cancer patients incur.
Even with the overcast skies throughout the weekend, Friday and Saturday brought steady, pleasant crowds. Memorial Park Drive was lined with nearly 100 art and craft fair vendors, all showcasing, selling and some even demonstrating their skills and works of art. Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show held six shows, performing an art straight out of Wisconsin’s Northwoods’ logging history. The other half of the walkway showcased host sponsor, Ashley Furniture’s “Ashley Zone”, which highlighted a wide variety of the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives; Heartworks, City of Hope, Trempealeau Valley Co-op’s Mobile Skills Lab, Ashley’s Angels, conservation efforts, Wreaths Across America, and local middle and high school robotics teams.
The two ballfields held entertainment for children and families including the inflatable air park that kept the kids bouncing, interactive art projects to make and take home, a petting zoo full of fury friends, BINGO, larger-than-life tic-tac-toe, and more — all of which was included in the low-cost admission for the weekend.
The remainder of the ambiance held on Friday and Saturday included street performers, balloon artists, a circus trio variety street show, Painting in the Park with Cheers Pablo, 11 local school performances and three side stages full of music and family entertainment. Throughout the park, food vendors from near and far served thousands of hungry festival-goers with tasty snacks and meals.
Main Stage performances included Brooks & Dunn, Brantley Gilbert, Train, Cole Swindell, Night Ranger, Phillip Phillips, Danielle Bradbery and Morgan Wade. The crowd cheered on through the variety of country, pop and classic rock shows. A surprise touch on Friday’s National Anthem brought a flyover from the F-35A Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Brooks & Dunn closed the weekend with suited soldiers and red, white and blue confetti to “Only in America”.
Ashley for the Arts sends a large thank you to all of the fans that came out and supported the cause, helping raise a significant amount of money for the community and enjoying the event. With support from the event’s host sponsor, Ashley Furniture Industries, and numerous community and corporate sponsorships, Ashley for the Arts was able to provide affordable access to music and the arts for the entire weekend. Additionally, it took nearly 4,000 volunteer shifts to put on the one-of-a-kind non-profit event. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and to all of the emergency service and security personnel for their assistance.
Save the date for 2023, August 10-12 in Arcadia. For more information on Ashley for the Arts, visit www.AshleyfortheArts.com. “Like” Ashley for the Arts on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @AshleyfortheArts.
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