FREE —They’re back, baby. And with a literal bang. After months of worrying about whether anyone would step forward to sponsor Milwaukee’s annual fireworks display, we learned that American Family Insurance, T&M Partners and the Milwaukee Brewers Foundation have teamed up to foot the bill for the 2019 show. So now we have another reason to root for the home team.
American Family Insurance Amphitheater at Summerfest
You wouldn’t expect a silver-haired teenager who wears oversized sweat suits and accessorizes with spiders to become a chart-topping pop star. But 17-year-old Billie Eilish already has seven gold and two platinum singles under her (spiked) belt. And she’s sure to be one of the most-talked-about headliners at Summerfest this year.
Lynden Sculpture Garden
Listening to a New York Times bestseller read from her latest book is good. Chatting her up beforehand – in an idyllic sculpture garden dotted with trees and ponds – is even better. The $31 ticket for this author reading includes an autographed copy of Williams’ new novel, The Golden Hour, plus refreshments and admission to the gardens.
Wisconsin State Fair Park
The Milwaukee Mile – a racetrack that first opened in 1903 and had once been known as the oldest continuously operating track in the country – quietly closed in 2015. But, thanks to the efforts of local fans, it’s up and running again this year, for a series of drag races and car shows open to amateurs. In other words, this is your chance to finally see how fast your car really can speed through Stallis – legally.
Waukesha County Fairgrounds
Wisconsin’s oldest fair has all the attractions you’d expect – livestock auctions, pig races, a demolition derby – plus some you wouldn’t. Count the Nerveless Nocks, Swiss acrobats and stunt artists who jump through hoops at high speeds, in that second group. And don’t leave without catching at least one of the on-site concerts, such as closing-night headliner Jefferson Starship.
Garfield Avenue between Fourth and Seventh streets
FREE — At this long-running block party, which got its start as a blues festival, musicians take center stage. In past years, local jazz and R&B legends such as Harvey Scales have received tributes. And event organizers have begun to incorporate hip-hop acts and DJs into the lineup, too.
In Spain, they run with the bulls; in Milwaukee, we run with the brats. This is your chance to jog alongside the Famous Racing Sausages. The course winds through and around Miller Park and is open to athletes of all ability levels. Plus, participants receive a Brewers ticket and get to enjoy a post-5k tailgate party.
FREE — Since it was founded in 2004, True Skool has been creating arts and social justice programs for young people. Today, the programming takes the form of a massive party open to the city, complete with an impromptu skate park, maker market and break-dancing battles.
FREE — De La Buena – a 10-piece band with an Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz sound – has become a fixture of Milwaukee’s festival circuit over the last decade. And for good reason. The band’s members are continuously adding to and improving on their repertoire. And regardless of how many times you’ve seen them play, you never know quite what to expect from one of their live performances.