Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Businesses in downtown Rhinelander put on their best show for an annual street fair Wednesday.  

It was a breezy day on Brown Street and vendors were out in full force, selling everything from antiques to tshirts to shaved ice.  Justine Whitefish is selling frybread.  She's been making it for 33 years but she’s a new entrepreneur.  It’s her first year at Redikulus Dae and she’s a little disappointed by the turnout. 

Downtown Rhinelander is gearing up for an annual one-day street fair.  Redikulus Dae is designed to bring people out to shop downtown.  Executive Director for Downtown Rhinelander Inc. Maggie Steffen says it’s been a tradition for 55 years.

“I can tell you – some of us that have grown up here, it was a big deal to go downtown on that day and see your family and friends.  It was a way to meet up with people that you haven’t seen in a while.  It’s just a fun atmosphere – it’s not necessarily just shopping, it’s more of almost an experience.”

Matt Clark

Rhinelander is about to get hit with a wave of country music fans, during the area’s biggest tourism event. 

  The four-day Hodag Country Festival begins Thursday, and tens of thousands of people are expected to attend.  Director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce Lara Reed says the economic impact on the region is huge.

“We say for every visitor that spends the night in our community, it’s $180 a day. So if we say there’s 20,000 people for Hodag Country Fest, it’s a $3.6 million impact a day for the duration of the festival.”

Liana Kyle

It’s almost the time of year for School of the Arts Rhinelander.  That’s when the University of Wisconsin Madison Continuing Studies sets up a five-day art school for adults in a Rhinelander middle school. 

Director Lynn Tarnoff says she and staff are getting ready to haul at least one van full of supplies from Madison. 

“Actually make that two vans.  And one of them’s been upgraded to a pick up truck with a car top carrier.”

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

ArtStart kicks off a new summer exhibit today in Rhinelander.  It’s the first show to go up in the gallery after a series of renovations. 

The work on display in the "Art of Hunting and Fishing" ranges from woodcuts and drawings of duck hunters, to a collection of antique decoys and a birchbark canoe.  ArtStart Board President Ken Juon says he hopes the outdoorsy topic will appeal even to those who might not typically find themselves in a gallery.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

A new assisted living center has opened in Rhinelander.  The Rennes Health and Rehab Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony today.

A few dozen staff members, community leaders and patients gathered at the new nursing facility to celebrate its opening.  But the Rennes Health and Rehab Center has actually been taking care of patients since March 1st.  That’s when the group closed its location in Phelps and moved 33 patients to the new Rhinelander facility.

Grant Hollingworth

A main artery into Rhinelander will be closing soon and will be shut down for several weeks.

The city of Rhinelander is doing new utility lines and will extend the work down Kemp Street. Kemp is the southernmost of three bridges over the Wisconsin River in Rhinelander.

Water and Wastewater Superintendent Tim Kingman gives us an update as to closure dates.

Erin DeYoung

A fund drive is underway to repair and preserve the train at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander. The Logging Museum complex includes the historic train and boxcars as a reminder of the Northwoods Logging era.

Mayor Dick Johns and others are hoping citizens step forward to contribute to the restoration of the train and to build a roof over the top to help preserve the attraction.

Mayor Johns says the wooden cars and the train need immediate attention.

A committee of city leaders in Rhinelander has selected a company to outline an economic development initiative for downtown.  The plan from Vierbicher Associates will also look into giving Brown Street a bit of a facelift, by conducting a streetscape study.

Rhinelander City Administrator Blaine Oborn says doing a streetscape…is kind of like landscaping, for a downtown sidewalk.