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Abele Anoints a “City of Festivals Champion”
County exec picks the city's #1 festival-goer.

Known as “Festival Jeanyne” to many, Jeanyne Neumann has been a staple at every Milwaukee festival for the past 39 years. On Thursday, she received the first “City of Festivals Champion” honor from the United Ethnic Festivals and community leaders at the Summerfest grounds. The event kicked off Milwaukee’s festival season.

“That’s the point [of the festivals], bringing people together,” County Executive Chris Abele says.  “There’s nobody who better represents bringing people together.”

Dave Spano, UEF president, presented Neumann with a “City of Festivals Champion” award and a T-shirt with her title, “City of Festivals Champion,” on it. Neumann accepted the honors with a huge smile. Representatives from the 10 United Ethnic Festivals were also on hand and provided Neumann with tickets for every day of each festival, along with some gifts representative of their respective fests.

“[This honor] is very special to me and I’m going to treasure the gifts for years to come,” Neumann says.

An employee of Goodwill, Neumann has been working for the company for 26 years in its laundry services division. Cheryl Lightholder, manager of communications for Goodwill, recognized Neumann’s dedication to the company and gave her a gift card to the store to buy outfits for the festivals.

This summer will be Neumann’s 40th year attending the festivals. In that time, she has attended every day of each festival, including Summerfest, State Fair and every ethnic festival. Picking a favorite is a tough decision, but Neumann says that her four favorite festivals are Polish Fest, Festa Italiana, German Fest and Indian Summer.

“I enjoy the music, the food, the people, the shopping and the educational exhibits,” Neumann says.





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