A Grand Affair in Wisconsin Rapids

September 12, 2016

–By Andrea Kaminski–

The Gear Up to Vote tour’s September 11 stop in Wisconsin Rapids was top-notch in so many ways. The weather was perfect – mid-70s and a clear sky. The Wisconsin Rapids Area League gave the Madison-based tour staff a warm welcome, and we could easily see what a positive and respected part of their community the League is. With a booth every year in A Grand Affair, the Chamber of Commerce’s annual community fair, the League enjoys high visibility and appreciation in the area. It was great to see how the League members and others in the community knew one another well and enjoyed being together for this annual, late summer event. Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink and City Clerk Paul Przybelski stopped by the table where we registered voters and gave out voter information.

The League’s booth was also visited by international guests – a pair of young journalists from Paris, France spent more than an hour at the booth filming for a documentary to be released in November. Stéphane Faure explained that they are interested in capturing aspects of the state of democracy in the U.S. at the end of the Obama Presidency. He had learned about the WI League’s Gear Up to Vote minivan tour through a Twitter post from our state office.

Stéphane and his colleague, Robin, interviewed League volunteers and staff at the booth, as well as people who stopped by to register or asked questions about voting. Recent journalism school graduates, the Frenchmen have been in the United States for a month and a half and have visited 23 states. When they left Wisconsin Rapids, they were on their way to a scheduled interview in, of all places, Mosinee. It will be interesting to see how the views of people in Wisconsin will be featured in their international documentary.

Several Wisconsin Rapids League members split their time between the League’s booth and the Bird City Wisconsin booth. The League was instrumental in achieving a “Bird City” designation for Wisconsin Rapids in 2013, which encourages the community to appreciate birds and their habitats. As we have seen with many Leagues throughout our state, League members contribute to their communities in multiple, constructive ways.