Viroqua Chamber Main Street has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“It is a great honor to recognize this year’s 828 nationally Accredited Main Street America programs for their outstanding work to transform downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the country, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by the Viroqua Chamber Main Street, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

SOUP, July 13

Viroqua Chamber Main Street is accepting applications for SOUP, which will be held July 13. The event is scheduled at Kickapoo Coffee on Main Street. What is SOUP? Crowdfunding without complication. Join us for one hour, eat some soup, and vote on your favorite project or “pitch.” What do you want to see in our community? If you are interested in assisting with SOUP, we would love to hear from you.

Viroqua Farmers Market, June 21

Viroqua Farmers Market is in full swing. Join us for a celebration of the bounty of our region every Saturday until the end of October from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Farmers Market accepts SNAP/EBT and Visa/MasterCard.

Bike or Bus the Barns, June 25

This year’s bicycle ride starts in Viroqua and features two farm stops – Ridgeland Harvest and Driftless Organics – with lots of delicious food and great farm activities along the way. The route is 55 miles and covers around 3,400 feet of elevation gain.

Rider registration includes an event gift and food along the route, including a breakfast snack, plated lunch, afternoon snack/dessert and a post-ride picnic and beer.

FairShare is excited to announce the first ever Bus the Barns tour — a fun way to have a day on the farm without having to bike 50-plus miles.

Bus the Barns registration includes bus transportation, farm tours at Ridgeland Harvest and Driftless Organics, activities at each farm stop, a gourmet lunch on the farm, and a farm-fresh snack. Bus the Barns participants are invited to join the after party for the event, for an additional fee.

When you participate in Bike the Barns, you not only enjoy a day of traveling to local farms and eating artisan delicacies, but you also support our community’s health — the health of our neighbors, our land, our farmers and our local economies.

Proceeds from this event benefit FairShare and the Partner Shares program, which helps low-income families purchase local, organic vegetables and have a direct connection with their food and farm through community supported agriculture.

The route

All bike riders must register either on Saturday, June 24, from 1-3 p.m. at the Viroqua Food Co-op, or at the event between 7:30 and 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 25.

Bike riders will depart in waves at 9, 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. from the Food Enterprise Center in Viroqua and begin the 55-mile marked loop through the scenic Driftless area, visiting these fun stops along the way:

Pine Knob – Water stop, 15.25 miles, open 10-11:30 a.m.

Driftless Organics – Farm stop No.1, 25.25 miles, open 10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., lunch service begins at 11:15 a.m., and farm tours and demos will be available on-site.

Ridgeland Harvest – Farm Stop No. 2, 38 miles, open 12:45-3 p.m., snack, tours and demos.

Matt Urch and Sara Martinez’s farm – water stop, 47.75 miles, open 1:45-4:30 p.m.

Food Enterprise Center – after party, beer service begins at 2:30 p.m., food begins at 3:15 p.m. The party winds down at 6 p.m.

Wednesday Viroqua Farmers Market

Make it through the week with a midweek produce run, right in downtown Viroqua from 2-6 p.m. The Wednesday market takes place in the Firefly Arts Gallery parking lot (formerly Bluedog Cycles). The market accepts SNAP and Visa/MasterCard.

For more information about SOUP or the Viroqua Farmers Markets, call 608-2575.

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Nora Roughen-Schmidt is the executive director of the Viroqua Chamber-Main Street and can be reached at 608-637-2575.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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