This is the first blog in a series focusing on people I spontaneously interview at Summerfest â€“ "random fest guests," if you will. And I really could not have gotten luckier than to arbitrarily pick Randy Honkala out of the crowd for my first crack at this.
So I walk up to Randy, who is enjoying a caramel sundae with his partner, Debbie, and I ask if I can interview him. He says sure, but only if he can provide an answer before I ask a question. I agree.
"214," he says.
I tell him I don't know what question would warrant such an answer other than maybe "what is 215 minus one?"
And so he tells me.
"214 is the answer to the question, â€˜how many days have I consecutively gone to Summerfest?"Â
Debbie verifies it is true â€“ Randy has not missed a single day at Summerfest since the first day in 1994.
"The only reason he missed that first day in '94 was because he had surgery. But he went the next day," she says. "Two years ago, he was extremely sick. Sick enough that I had to bring the car up to the south entrance because he was throwing up. He still went every day."
Debbie goes with Randy to Summerfest about half the time. "I have to work," she says.
Randy retired from Tower Automotive in 1994, which is why he is able to spend so much time big gigging. He says one of his biggest life regrets happened in 1992 when he chose to work overtime on a Sunday instead of going to an Albert King show.
"He died within the year," says Randy. "And I don't even remember what I did with the money from the overtime."
SoÂ what does Randy dig about Summerfest so much?
"I love the people," he says. "And, of course, the music."
Randy, a guitar player and former sound engineer for now-defunct Milwaukee band The Mosleys, likes to check out primarily local bands. This year, he is looking forward to The Wigs reunion show, Los Lonely Boys, Semi Twang and Yipes!
When chatting about The Mosleys, a band I saw many times in the '90s, Randy and I realize we both have a painting in our homes brushed by the lead singer, Mike Fredrickson.Â
As for favorite Summerfest foods, Randy doesnâ€™t have one. "I donâ€™t have â€˜must eats.â€™ I just say â€˜must eat.â€™ Period," he says. "She got the asparagus salad from Maderâ€™s which is always a good starting place."
Randy doesnâ€™t plan for any special celebration hoopla when he hits his 250th consecutive visit, but he does have one longterm Big Gig-related wish.
"Iâ€™m hoping they put a brick in for me after I die," he says.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Nov. 26, 2015
The Black Friday shopping experience is a big, mixed bag of savings and safety issues. Milwaukee's Melanie Rice and Bryan Zysk know this first-hand. One even suffered a broken foot in a brawl over a DVD player.
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Recently, OnMilwaukee's Molly Snyder went to the Brew City Bruisers Boot Camp to test her roller skating skills and bad assery. Turns out, she spent a lot of time on her bad ass.
Published Nov. 24, 2015
Candy Cane Lane will celebrate 30 years this season when it plugs in the lights on Friday, Nov. 27. They will stay aglow through Sunday, Dec. 27.
Published Nov. 22, 2015
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offers an array of social services, including The Robyn's Nest, run by Lona Long and a team of volunteers to provide clothing and other items to kids and foster families.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Earlier this week, after looking at tragic photos of Syrian refugee children on Facebook, Gretchen Mead decided she was going to invite refugees to stay in extra rooms in her bungalow-style home in Shorewood.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
Suddenly, the warm-and-comfy factor in bars is a big deal, and so OnMilwaukee stepped up and went out on a couple of windy, chilly nights last week to scout out some of the city's coziest bars.
Published Nov. 19, 2015
Recently, we posted a story about the now-defunct Captain's Steak Joynt chain of restaurants and many readers remembered its famous cheese fondue. We got the recipe and last night we made it.
Published Nov. 19, 2015
Anyone who likes sipping, shopping and indulging should head over to Brady Street tomorrow - that's Friday, Nov. 20 - for the block's Holiday Open House.
Published Nov. 18, 2015
Anyone who's lived in Milwaukee has heard chatter about Summerfest caring more about beer sales than live music. However, local musician Eoin McCarthy has a story about how the Big Gig rallied around his music.
Published Nov. 17, 2015
It's gray and rainy outside. Both my kids are sick. I ran out of LaCroix. I am wearing my dorky glasses. But maybe that's why these colorful houses jumped out at me today while I carted my germy people to doctors and drug stores.