Artspire expands for its fourth year in La Crosse

Artspire expands for its fourth year...

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - An art festival turned La Crosse tradition was in full force during its second day Saturday.

Artspire is a free festival with an art fair and sale set up on King Street. It's put on by the Pump House Regional Arts Center.

Despite the heat Saturday, organizers said they expected thousands of visitors, and there were more art booths and activities than ever.

La Crosse residents Enrique and his daughter Gail came for the music, dancing and everything else that comes with Artspire.

"It is a family event everybody can enjoy, from the little kids to teenagers, adults, seniors it's for everybody,” Enrique said.

As a family, they've been enjoying the event every year since it first began four years ago.

"My daughter Gail does a lot of painting, does a lot of dancing and plays piano on a regular basis, so we really encourage all those opportunities in town and are happy to have it available,” Enrique said.

"You're missing out if you're not down here today,” festival entertainment chairman Ryan Soberg said.

Soberg said there are three stages this year.

"Artspire is an all-inclusive celebration for this diverse and magical community we live in, and we're very proud to be here,” he said.

Artspire co-chairman Brian Fukuda said there were over 60 art booths lining the street.

"We've been working on it since last year's Artspire closed,” he said. “It's a free event welcoming everybody out to celebrate everything our community has to offer in arts and culture. It's about celebrating and letting people know what exists here and why it's such a great place to live."

Visitors could view art and make their own, and new interactive exhibits took the experience to the next level.

Inside the Pumphouse, there were several activities, and out-of-state visitors Dylan and Jake Whalen got to try out virtual reality.

"It's a lot of fun, yeah,” they agreed.

Out by the main stage, Enrique and Gail were happy to support art in all its forms.

"We really enjoy it a lot and hope it keeps going every year,” Enrique said.

This year there is an Artspire Happy hour going on from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday, where downtown bars and restaurants offer music and special deals.

Also for the first time this year, there is an Artspire Encore event Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., featuring Cloud Cult at the main stage.

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