Weber Center Celebrates the River during Riverfest

Free and open to the Public

Weber Center for the Performing Arts will host “Celebrate the River!” — an open house with displays and events — over the Independence Day holiday, July 2 through 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The open house is free and open to the public and offers a beautiful air-conditioned lobby and restrooms.

Lobby displays will highlight some of the agencies and organizations that manage and protect our most valuable resource in the Coulee Region. These include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, and the Brice Prairie Conservation Association.

The nature film Riverscapes — filmed entirely on the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge — will show continuously in the Lyche Theatre. With nature’s own soundtrack and soothing piano interludes, Riverscapes is a reflective documentary of nature’s beauty in our own

At 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 3, JoAnn Funk will present “The Pearl Button Boom,” a fascinating story of greed, fashion, American ingenuity, ecology and murder. Buttons are made today from plastic, but pre-1900 buttons were made almost exclusively from European oyster shells. In a quirky twist of fate, from the late 1800s to early 1930s, most of the world’s pearl buttons were made from mussels harvested from the Mississippi River and its tributaries. This presentation is free and open to the public.

At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, Shawn Giblin of the Wisconsin DNR will present “How Water Quality Shapes the Ecology of the Mississippi River: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We Need to Be.” This presentation is free and open to the public.

At 2:00 p.m. on July 2, 3 and 4, acclaimed singer and storyteller Steven Marking will present a live performance of “Our Mighty Mississippi.” This sensory feast of song, stories, high-definition film and photos captures life on the Mississippi River. Experience the great migration, commercial and recreational activities, and history of “Our Mighty Mississippi.” Tickets for this show are $7 ($5 with a Riverfest button). Tickets are available online at or by calling 608-784-9292. (Buttons must be presented at the box office for discounted price.) The Weber Center for the Performing Arts is at 428 Front Street South in La Crosse, a short walk from the Riverfest grounds.