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The City of Wausau turns 150, bringing year-long celebrations

Fun begins January 29 at Winterfest downtown
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 5:12 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - 2022 marks Wausau’s 150 anniversary of becoming a city.

‘Celebrate Wausau’ is a year-long celebration recognizing all of the things that have shaped and grown Wausau into the city it is today.

Throughout the year, many people, places, and businesses that have put Wausau on the map will be highlighted and recognized. One way it will be doing that is by sharing them on its website.

“Wausau has such a great history of adaptivity,” Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Jean Frankle said. “We started out in logging and lumber, and that petered out at the turn of the century in 1900, and then we moved onto insurance, but anybody who lives here today realizes insurance isn’t our only game.”

That’s the reason why celebrations will be all year long. “We’re going to have lots of things going on, some will be smaller, some will be bigger, the idea for it is to be inclusive,” Frankel said.

The city is also asking for people’s input on how else it could celebrate all of Wausau. “It’s so important for everyone to be involved and we want everyone’s input and that’s what’s going to make the celebration so great because Wausau works together.”

The city isn’t the only one taking part. The Wausau Police Department has also done something special.

“Last year as we started talking about this celebration, one of our officers, Nathan Porath, decided to take it upon himself to develop a sesquicentennial badge,” Wausau Police Chief, Ben Bliven said.

Chief Bliven said his department takes pride in service.

“There’s certainly American flags, and a Wisconsin flag on here, and there is a thin blue line that represents law enforcement and all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in our profession, which is an important part to remember in a celebration like this.”

He said he’s seen a lot of things change in the 22 years he’s been with Wausau P.D. Bliven said technology and police work have changed significantly.

“I can’t imagine what law enforcement was like 150 years ago, they didn’t have vehicles to get around and they didn’t have radios and it was a much different time.”

Bliven said the department talks on a regular basis about how to become better each day. “We want to do our best in our time here serving the community so that people in 50 years are better off for the service that we provided and the decisions that we’ve made.”

The first event to kick off the year-long celebrations is Jan. 29, with Wausau’s ‘Winter Fest.’

To offer input or get involved in Wausau’s 150 anniversary, click here.

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