Afternoon and Evening Events Include Bands, Art, Unique Activities;
Goal Is To Promote Downtown
The newly reopened Wisconsin Avenue bridge will be the epicenter for a new, major celebration of Downtown Milwaukee, featuring Milwaukee bands, a group yoga lesson on the bridge and many other unique activities – on the bridge and Riverwalk and in the Milwaukee River itself – from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday Sept. 22.
A coalition of downtown Milwaukee advocates, led by a team of young urban entrepreneurs, is staging the party on and near the Wisconsin Avenue vertical lift bridge, which was recently reopened after being closed for nearly a year during major rehabilitation.
The celebration takes place on Wisconsin Avenue and the Riverwalk, between N. Plankinton Avenue, N. Water Street, Wells Street and Michigan Avenue. The Wisconsin Avenue bridge will be closed to trafIic from 8 p.m. Friday Sept. 21 through midnight Saturday Sept. 22.
The Wisconsin Avenue Bridge Celebration will include a Ilotilla parade of decorated boats, kayaks and canoes on the Milwaukee River; a group yoga and wellness lesson in the middle of the Wisconsin Avenue bridge; Milwaukee bands, arts and dancers on two stages; a Riverwalk Art Walk with more than 50 Milwaukee painters, sculptors and glass blowers creating and displaying art; plein aire painters throughout the area; a complimentary water taxi to cross the river; kayak and stand-‐up paddle board lessons; a bazaar featuring local merchants on the bridge; and a tug of war contest on the bridge commemorating the city’s historic “bridge war” of 1845, in which two bridges were destroyed.
The event goes beyond simply creating a fun and unique experience in Downtown Milwaukee, organizers said. “Our goal is to celebrate downtown, erase misconceptions about the area and build momentum to restore the reputation of Wisconsin Avenue and downtown Milwaukee as central to the region,” said one of the organizers, Ian Abston, president of NEWaukee.
Angela Damiani, president of ART Milwaukee, said the Shops of the Grand Avenue, while long in decline, are now seeing an air of revitalization with the emergence of young entrepreneurs and other new businesses.
“The metro Milwaukee area beneIits from a strong Wisconsin Avenue,” Damiana said. “The avenue intersects the Milwaukee Riverwalk, marks the center of the region’s business district and features many beautiful historic buildings. The people who work, live and recreate Downtown have pulled together for this event to send the message that Wisconsin Avenue’s best days are still ahead of it.”
The Saturday event schedule includes:
• Ceremonial rising of the Wisconsin Avenue lift bridge over the Milwaukee River, with Mayor Tom Barrett (12 p.m.)
• Flotilla parade of Milwaukee-‐themed decorated motorboats, canoes, kayaks, police and Iire department boats and MMSD’s Leonard Skimmer (arriving from Laacke & Joys at Wisconsin Avenue bridge at 1 p.m.)
• Free group yoga and wellness lesson (Wisconsin Avenue bridge, 2 p.m.)
• Tug of war challenge (Wisconsin Avenue bridge, 3 p.m.)
• Milwaukee dance, theater and singer/songwriter performances on the City Center Arts Stage (Mason Street and the Riverwalk, 12:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.)
• Young professionals happy hour (Wisconsin Avenue bridge, 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.)
• Milwaukee bands on the Wisconsin Avenue Heineken Main Stage:
o 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. / Ethan Keller
o 5:15 p.m. – 6 p.m. / Undercover Organism
o 6:30 p.m. -‐ 7:15 p.m. / I’m Not a Pilot
o 7:45 p.m. -‐ 8:30 p.m./Kane Place Record Club
o 9 p.m. – 10 p.m./De la Buena
The event is free, with food and beverages available for sale. Anyone arriving by bicycle, bus, boat or kayak will receive a free beverage.
Event partners include the City of Milwaukee, Downtown BID #21, East Town Association, Westown Association, Urban Milwaukee, Visit Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Historic Milwaukee Inc., Made in Milwaukee, Do414, Milwaukee Pulse, Laacke and Joys, Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Association and Arts Wisconsin.
Sponsors include Heineken, City Center, Spirit of Milwaukee, Redbull, Milwaukee Riverwalk District, Gold’s Gym, 100 East, US Cellular, Gruber Law OfIices, John Hawk’s Pub, Stir Martini Bar, Zilber Property Ltd., Bryant and Stratton, UWM Extension, Impark, Shops of the Grand Ave Mall, Dental Associates, Kaplan University, Kahler Slater, Associated Bank and Mo’s Irish Pub.
ART Milwaukee and NEWaukee are organizing the event.
The groups plan to turn the bridge celebration into an annual event.
For a complete schedule of arts and music performances, visit: http://ow.ly/dsFrp
For more information, visit the event’s homepage, visit: http://www.bridgepartymke.com.