Rib and Balloon, ChalkFest set to kick off in Wausau

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s festival season here in Wisconsin, and central Wisconsin in particular is gearing up for one of the busiest weekends of the year.

Wausau Events will again host ChalkFest on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau, as Balloon and Rib Fest takes over the Downtown Wausau Airport.

ChalkFest unofficially kicked off this afternoon, with artist Mort McBain offering free beginner lessons for youngsters interested in chalk drawing. McBain says the event that artist slots for this weekend are already sold out.

“We’re completely filled and we’re really encouraging people to come out and see an amazing display of artwork,” said McBain.

Sidewalk art isn’t the only thing that will be on display in Wausau, as barbeque pit masters from around the nation will put their best work on display while hot air balloons fill the sky by the Wausau airport at Balloon and Rib Fest.

Gary Stephens is co-owner of Sgt. Oink's BBQ. He makes the ten hour drive from Ohio to Wausau for the festival and says it’s the people that makes the event so special.

“The people come out and they eat and enjoy the weather,” said Stephens.

“Even if the weather’s not perfect, they still eat, and that’s what you want to see in the community.”

Balloon and Rib Fest kicks off tomorrow, while Chalk Fest doesn’t officially begin until 8 AM on Sunday. Both festivals run through the weekend.