Fun. Friendly. Musical. Authentic. Genuine. Great local breweries. Youthful. Big city, small town feel. That’s our hometown! These are the words people used to describe Milwaukee. I polled a random sampling of people who were out on Saturday celebrating the very first Milwaukee Day. You’d be hard pressed to find another Midwestern city with such pride.
What is Milwaukee Day? Well, a silly coincidence, but also a brilliant marketing idea. 4/14…no better day to show your love for the 4-1-4, get it? Three guys filled with city pride: Andy Silverman, Brent Gohde, and Timm Gable threw together a website and began connecting with their friends to spur this movement. They actually even got an official Milwaukee Day proclamation, signed by Mayor Tom Barrett.
There were many suggested ways to celebrate Milwaukee Day on the website and the guys also promoted a handful of events. So I made my way out on the town to check out this new (fake) holiday.
First stop: Laacke & Joys (1433 N. Water St.), a Milwaukee outdoor outfitter since 1884. The Dock Party with free kayak and canoe rentals was the kick-off to spring and summer paddling season. The rental program includes kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards starting at $30 through September. Take advantage and get out on the Milwaukee River or beyond.
Next, I went to Hotel Foster (2028 E. North Avenue) for a screening of locally-made short films and music videos from Prophetic, Ragadors and I’m Not a Pilot, just to name a few. I bumped into Gohde at Hotel Foster and he assured me that this would definitely be an annual event, though he hopes more people take the initiative to plan and promote, rather than it be one central effort.
As night fell, I headed south for a quick stop at MOCT (240 E. Pittsburg) for a 40-ounce and some fresh hip hop with DJ Bizzon on the turntables. They were celebrating Milwaukee Day with a classic Milwaukee beer: 40-ounce Pabst bottles.
My final stop of the evening was at Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth) – there was a full bill of local and national bands, with the Cave Singers headlining. Admittedly, it was packed and super loud (nothing new) so I didn’t stick around too long.
I regret not making it to Mad Planet for the signature funk and soul dance party "The Get Down." But, DJs Andy Nobel and Brent Goodsell do get down on the second Saturday of every month. Definitely stop by May 12 if you’ve never been.
In essence, Milwaukee Day was just like any other Saturday night in Milwaukee, but what’s the harm in making a big fuss once a year to remind people why Milwaukee is such a great city? This grassroots movement will likely pick up steam and hopefully continue for many years to come.
Created with flickr slideshow.