On Sunday, May 21, Open Streets Wausau brings play in to the streets of downtown Wausau, and offers your first official opportunity to explore and experience the new riverfront pathway.

From noon to 4 p.m., people will be able to bike run, walk, roll, skate, and play in the middle of third Street from the Wausau Center Mall to the Woodchucks Stadium and back along the new river edge trail. Activities, food vendors, informational booths, and local musicians will also line the route to enhance the experience.

While Open Streets is a new concept to Wausau, it is an international movement born in Bogota, Columbia in 1974, with the idea of opening streets, some of the most open areas in our cities, to people rather than cars. Since its founding. The movement has spread across the world and around the country, with events being held in Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin, as well.

Andrew Lynch, an attendee at several past Open Streets events throughout the country, brought the idea to Wausau’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee in early 2016. The event was not able to find legs in 2016, but the team was fully committed to bringing an Open Streets event to Wausau in 2017.

“Open Streets Wausau will close 3rd Street to cars and open it to people. This unique experience will let people have fun in a safe and family-friendly environment. There is something for everyone at Open Streets,” says Andrew Lynch.

The event was pitched at the first Wausau SOUP, a community micro-granting event, and won, giving Open Streets its first broad exposure to a Wausau audience. Support has since included sponsorships from the B. A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, Aspirus, Wausau Coated, and Wausau Wheelers.

This year’s inaugural event will feature Sisters of Skate helping to lead off the event, Wausau’s Bike Polo group playing behind the library, and a Kid Zone at the Woodchucks stadium, among many other offerings. Local musicians, food vendors, and informational booths will also be along the route. The event is free and open to the public. Enter the route anywhere along Third Street – there is no designated entrance point, though the event will start from the corner of Grant and Third Streets.

For more information, please check the Open Streets Wausau Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/openstreetswausau/