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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Winter, please take note from summer. Thanks.
Winter, please take note from summer. Thanks.

What should we do about winter?

Frank Sinatra sang "as the days dwindle down to a precious few" and that's where we are now, nearing the end of yet another wonderful summer.

Think about how good we are at doing summer so that everyone can enjoy it.

There is music all the time in county parks as well as swimming and water parks and fishing and all kinds of recreation. We have patios outside restaurants all over town. We have Summerfest and State Fair and countless smaller festivals both at Henry Maier Festival Park and churches throughout the area.

You can hardly go a night without some kind of entertainment or recreation or dining beckoning you to step outside and participate.

Milwaukee gets summer.

Now, what can we do about winter?

I've been around a long time and I remember Winterfest and a variety of other civic attempts to make our winters approach our summers on the "let's all have fun" scale.

Nothing has worked out, with the possible exception of the skating at Downtown's Red Arrow Park. It's almost as if we have thrown up our arms and given up to the cold and snow.

I'm not sure we should give up.

Obviously when people in Milwaukee decide to have fun, we know how to do it. The ingredients are really pretty simple. Food. Music. Recreation. Price.

But like every recipe in the world, it's more than just ingredients that make a great dish. You have to know how to mix it up the right way.

When you look at our summer it becomes apparent that it's a pretty organic kind of thing. Oh, there are some big organized events, Summerfest and State Fair, but a lot of the fun is what in baseball you might call "small ball."

The way we have always done it in the past is to get somebody or some organization to run things and then stage a festival. I think we need a new approach.

We should find a way for the city and the county to cooperate to encourage small groups and individuals to create and stage their own events. We can have a bunch of small events like music and bingo and skating and snow volleyball and anything the mind can dream up. What the city and county can offer is marketing and advertising help and even some financial help if it's needed.

We could get the Milwaukee Bucks, our main winter attraction, involved in co-sponsoring promotional events to help spread the word.

What we need is a winter czar, someone who isn't going to tell people what to do but is going to match people with an idea with resources to help. If that could happen, our winters might be just as wonderful as our summer.

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