Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12
Iconic Wausau umbrellas go up
Story By Morgan Johnson
Local News Published 06/09/2021 4:28PM, Last Updated 06/09/2021 5:50PM
Wausau - Umbrellas are usually used to block the rain, but the ones in downtown Wausau will stay put from June until October.
"I started it many years ago as a way to celebrate my 20 years in downtown Wausau and to help with the arts," said Mark Craig, the General Manager of Compass Properties in Wausau.
Craig has been in the city of Wausau for 26 years. Craig owns properties in downtown Wausau, including one overlooking the iconic umbrellas that go up every year.
"It's a reset button to let people know that downtown is open for fun, come and enjoy themselves and it's going to be a great summer," said Craig.
Every year since 2015, crews put up brand-new umbrellas. And every year since 2015, people have shown how much they like it.
"It's got to be one of the most photographed streets in the state and I think the fact that it's whimsical and it's fun, it's colorful, it's art in the sky," said Craig.
Last year Craig decided on blue and white umbrellas to honor healthcare workers, in the middle of a tough year.
"I think it's been a tough year for businesses, for people personally, professionally so as we all come back together and we all enjoy each other's company, it's going to be a time that we realize the importance of each other and supporting one another and supporting our businesses," said Craig.
Craig says the umbrellas signal the start of summer in Wausau. Dining on the Street starts Wednesday night from 5pm to 9pm, and Concerts in the Square start next week.
Despite the troublesome past year, Lemongrass Restaurant and Bar still saw good business. This will be server Tanner Zinda's first year doing Dining on the Street.
"Because of the vaccine and the vaccinations, I feel like more people are going to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather," said Zinda.
The weather is just one of the reasons why people come out and see the umbrellas. "It is the center point of downtown Wausau," said Zinda. "I mean they're beautiful, colorful, and it just lightens up the whole downtown area."
The downtown that Mark Craig has seen develop throughout the years.
"I think it brings a lot of really cool things together and we want to let people know how proud we are of our community and Wausau's a great place to enjoy themselves and I hope they do," said Craig.