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.