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Blues and Brews Fest joins Park Art Fair

Park Art Fair will not celebrate its 42nd year alone.

This year the Willow River Blues and Brews Fest will become part of Park Art Fair, which is scheduled for Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at Mary Park.

Park Art Fair will have approximately 120-125 vendors this year and will open Friday evening at 5 p.m. as it did for the first time last year.

The Blues Fest will also kick off Friday evening at 5 p.m. with Pete Neuman and the Real Deal playing from 5 - 7 p.m. and the Lamont Cranston Blues Band from the Twin Cities playing from 7 - 10 p.m. There is no cover charge to enjoy the music or the arts and crafts all weekend.

Park Art Fair opens again Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and goes all day until 4 p.m. The Blues Fest portion of the event picks up again at 1 p.m. on Saturday with the Mojo Lemon Band from the Eau Claire area playing until 4 p.m.

During the arts and crafts and blues portion of the fair on Saturday there will also be a brews fest scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Guests are welcome to purchase a sample ticket in advance for $12 to try any or all of the 50 beers offered by 15 microbreweries from the Midwest and other breweries from around the country.

Sample tickets will be $20 if purchased at the fair. To purchase sample tickets in advance visit the Chamber at 235 S. Knowles Avenue or call at 246-2900. Tickets may also be purchased in advance at either Lumberjack Liquor stores in town or on the Web at

"There will be six brewmasters at the fair," said Russ Korpela, executive director for New Richmond's Chamber of Commerce, "along with eight or nine other breweries represented. Each brewery will have three or four different styles of beer. There will be a nice selection of summer wheat, amber ales and porter or stouts."

Korpela wants to stress that those who want to attend just to listen to free music are as welcome as those who are only interested in the arts and crafts or the brewfest. But all three are available for those who want to take advantage of the variety of offerings.

"These events are being presented together to diversify and revitalize Park Art Fair," Korpela explained. "By strengthening the live music component of the fair it enhances the entertainment experience and repositions the event for people who might not attend an exclusively arts and crafts show."

Korpela said the Chamber has been talking about introducing a brewfest in New Richmond for the past few years and felt Park Art Fair would be the most logical partnership.

"We have spent a great deal of time, energy and money in the past few years getting the Fun Fest healthy again," Korpela said. "Now it's time to focus on Park Art Fair to keep it as a strong event with a fresh new twist."

Korpela said in its heyday, Park Art Fair boasted 175 vendors. He would like to keep the event vital and alive as part of New Richmond's rich cultural heritage.