How The World’s Largest Shrekfest Ended Up in Milwaukee

Add Shrekfest to Milwaukee’s growing list of summer festivals.

Milwaukee has earned its title as the City of Festivals. The city hosts dozens of festivals every summer, including the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest, and now “The World’s Largest Shrefest” joins the list. 

Shrekfest is an annual music, art and film event hosted by art collective 3GI Industries. The festival at Humboldt Park features Shrek-themed live music, games, an onion eating contest, a roar competition, a costume contest and wraps the night up with an outdoor screening of the movie Shrek. The inaugural Shrekfest took place in 2014 in Madison. This weekend, the festival will be in Milwaukee for the first time. It will be the first in-person fest since 2019 in Madison. 

“It started as a joke,” says Grant Duffrin, Shrekfest director and founder of 3GI Studios. “It was a fake Facebook event that my friends and I stumbled upon. We were really excited to go to it, and then we found out it wasn’t a real event. It was fake, it was a joke. And the joke went over our heads.”

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

 

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Grant and his friends decided to make that joke a reality. That year, they organized the first-ever Shrekfest and hosted it in Madison as a way to honor the fake Facebook event. It was immediately deemed “The World’s Largest Shrekfest.”

“I just made that up,” says Duffrin about the title. “When I started saying that, we were the only Shrekfest. Now there are a bunch of events that call themselves Shrekfest. Saying ‘we are the largest Shrekfest in the world’ is no longer a joke, it’s something we say to differentiate ourselves. I should say we are the original Shrekfest.” 

This year, they are expecting around 1,000 people to attend, according to Duffrin’s estimate. In the past visitors have traveled from incredible distances to attend the festival. Since its inception, Shrekfest has hosted visitors from as far as Sweden, China and Australia. 

 “I’m amazed at the distance people will travel to be at Shrekfest,” says Duffrin. 

So what is it about the Shrek franchise that makes it such an appealing event? According to Duffrin, it’s simple. Shrek is a great movie with great characters and a great soundtrack – it just has that je ne sais quoi element that has built a lasting fanbase. 


Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

What to Expect at This Year’s Shrekfest:

1. Shrekfest Kickoff Party at X-Ray Arcade –

FRIDAY, SEPT. 2 AT 7 P.M. | FREE

  • Live performance by Shrek-themed indie duo, Ogre Patrol
  • Shrek-friendly DJ set from County Conservation District
  • Shrek-themed food and drink specials 

2. Shrekfest at Humboldt Park

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3 FROM 3-9 P.M. | FREE

3. The Forever After Party at Indeed Brewing

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3 AT 9:30 P.M. | FREE

  • Shrek-themed board games
  • Video games
  • Beer specials 

Learn more about this year’s on the Shrekfest website.


More Photos: 

Photo by Nick Morgulis, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Nick Morgulis, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Nick Morgulis, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Nick Morgulis, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Nick Morgulis, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

Photo by Conner Japiske, courtesy of Shrekfest

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