Earlier this year, OnMilwaukee announced that it had purchased (part of) Swarmm Events and planned to take over as the city’s premier event planner with new and innovative events. Today, we’re announcing that we’re also hosting “throwback events” featuring failed festivals from years past.
“We look forward to offering not only everyone’s current favorite events like Taco Fest and Food Truck Fest, but also events that have been canceled, run their course and/or were just a bad idea in the first place,” says OnMilwaukee event organizer Nate. O’Petri.
Over the next 2-4 years, OnMilwaukee will resurrect defunct local festivals including RiverSplash, Martini Fest, Winter Fest, Maritime Days and (hopefully) Circus Parade.
“Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of clowns in Milwaukee. Young people just aren’t as passionate about the prankster arts. So we’re currently looking for clowns of all kinds for the parade reboot: Mimes, Bozos, Krusties, Jesters, Rodeo Clowns, Scary AF Clowns; send them to us,” says O’Petri.
But first, OnMilwaukee will host the revival of a Milwaukee-based German heritage festival that originally took place on May 20, 1852, called Mai Fest.
At the time, native Germans made up more than a third of Milwaukee’s population, and they wanted to introduce non-German Milwaukeeans to this ancient holiday rooted in pre-Christian Germany as a pagan rite of spring.
The original Mai Fest ran for an entire weekend on the streets of downtown Milwaukee, with 24-hour German beer, deafening accordion and zither music, and “general debauchery” according to a Milwaukee Gazette article.
“This year is the 170th anniversary of the first May Fest, so we’re doing it again – only bigger, more drunk and with less zither,” says O’Petri.
The 2022 version of Mai Fest will be rebranded as “Drink beer and drink more beer, then drink one more beer for Road Fest”.
“Drink Beer And Then Drink More Beer And Then Drink One More Beer For The Road Fest” will take place from Friday, May 20 through Wednesday, May 31. Streets will be blocked from Locust Street to Morgan Avenue (north and south) and from Lake Michigan to 55th Street (east and west).
“Basically, OnMilwaukee is going to turn the whole town into a wild, drunken, bawdy bacchanalia,” O’Petri says.
O’Petri says he’s having minor issues getting all the permits for the 8-by-10-mile Hedonist Festival, but he’s confident it will happen.
“If the Milwaukee Art Museum could offer all-you-can-eat martinis for its Martini Fest event, we can do that,” O’Petri says. “Honestly, I don’t see what could go wrong if the whole town was partying in the streets for 11 days.”
Mayor Cavalier Johnson was skeptical of the event at first, but later endorsed it.
“Reckless driving in Milwaukee has been completely out of control. I think closing every block to traffic for 11 days is a good idea,” Johnson says. “Prost! »