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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Festival Guide

Make it legit and offer pig race wagering.

In Festival Guide

Maybe it's time to consider a Summerfest logo facelift.

In Festival Guide

Let's look at new food and diverse food options.

100 ways to make Milwaukee summer festivals even better

Audio Podcast: Andy Tarnoff talks to Dave and Carole about 100 ways to make the fests better
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There's a reason Milwaukee is known as the City of Festivals. From ethnic fests to church to county and statewide fairs, summer is our area's time to shine.

In so many ways, we love each and every Milwaukee-area festivals. But that's not to say they couldn't be even better.

In the spirit of our famous "100 things" lists, here are a whole bunch of ideas – some serious, others not so much – on how to take Milwaukee's fests up a notch.

Weigh in using the Talkback feature below.

  1. Eliminate the front bleacher seating at Summerfest stages
  2. Flavored cream puffs at the State Fair
  3. Air fresheners/incense in animal barns (though the animals might disagree)
  4. An end to food/drink tickets
  5. Serve ethnic beers at ethnic fests
  6. Bring back the Summerfest midway
  7. A pedestrian fast lane
  8. Milk shack at Summerfest
  9. Beer vendors that come to you
  10. Spiked milk
  11. Spiked cheese
  12. More new food options at Summerfest
  13. Parking barge on the lake
  14. Non-smoking sections at all festivals
  15. More lake seating at Henry Maier Festival Park
  16. Roving musicians
  17. Alcoholic whipped cream in the cream puffs
  18. More John Kruth, Sigmund Snopek
  19. More old-school rap shows at Summerfest
  20. Horse diapers
  21. National kids acts
  22. A third wine cooler
  23. Retractable domes
  24. A faster skyglider
  25. A new Summerfest logo
  26. Complimentary shoe booties to keep beer out
  27. Chili mangos at all festivals
  28. $1 beer days
  29. "Seat fillers" to save your place in the front row
  30. Free earplugs
  31. Drunk tank/dunk tank
  32. More shade options
  33. Flip-flop repair stations
  34. Bring back the singing mayor tradition
  35. Shuttles for all the ethnic fests
  36. Automatic people mover
  37. No swearing on stage mandate before sundown
  38. Improved access to Lakeshore State Park
  39. More local businesses in the marketplaces
  40. Official State Fair mullet tallies on Jumbotron
  41. Hoan Bridge balcony seating
  42. More gyro meat at Greek Fest
  43. Bring back the Summerfest pin
  44. Splashguards for skyglider
  45. Combined Summerfest/ethnic fest season passes
  46. Pig race wagering
  47. Lake Express boat shuttles and water taxis after the festivals
  48. Fireworks every night of Summerfest
  49. Monster trucks on the Milwaukee Mile
  50. Standup comedy at more than just Summerfest
  51. Kopps!
  52. Roller skating rink on Summerfest grounds
  53. Benches to rest on while you wait for your cream puff
  54. More exotic animals at State Fair
  55. Sunscreen dispensers throughout the grounds
  56. Hot tubs
  57. Wine cooler slushies
  58. Air conditioned port-a-pottys
  59. Super pig relay on the Mile
  60. Free wi-fi at all the festivals
  61. Human mud wrestling
  62. Horse racing at the Milwaukee Mile
  63. Celebrity/athlete autograph signings
  64. Rotating bands of food trucks
  65. More flaming cheese
  66. Adult bouncy castles
  67. Ground-wide mini golf course
  68. Hammocks!
  69. Segway rentals
  70. Summerfest wedding booth
  71. More cold water misters
  72. More VIP seating
  73. Rent-a-dog
  74. Rolling happy hours
  75. Single mingles tent
  76. Expanded bike parking
  77. Rickshaws
  78. Brewers games broadcast on monitors
  79. Submarine tour at the lake
  80. An effort by wireless carriers to make sure all fests have great cell coverage
  81. More cocktail alternatives
  82. Live Twitter boards on Summerfest grounds
  83. Expand Labor Fest to include more programming and food options
  84. Hot sauce and floss available at all festival corn stands
  85. Bicycle parking at all festivals
  86. More outdoor movies
  87. Free sunscreen
  88. Roomier turnstiles
  89. More vegan/vegetarian food items
  90. Put an extra stage on a lake barge
  91. Fewer stands with cheap toys and blow-up figures that make kids whine when parents say no
  92. More food made with beer
  93. More funnel cakes
  94. Permission for street festivals to go past 11 p.m.
  95. Promotional "all-you-can-drink" reusable cups
  96. More garbage cans
  97. Zip lines!
  98. Live theater stage at Summerfest
  99. Replace Footsie-Wootsies with full-on massage chairs
  100. Bring the comedy stage back to Summerfest


meg_ellen | June 17, 2011 at 10:17 a.m. (report)

AS a huge fan of Irish Fest, as well as a volunteer for 27 years (yes my whole life), here are some great things that Irish Fest has that was mentioned on the list: 5. Ethnic beers - like another reader pointed out there is a reason why there is no Guinness on the grounds, but who needs it when Lakefront Brewery has their Snake Chaser and Sprecher has their Piper's Ale. Let's support our local breweries! 16. Roving musicians - That was the best part as a kid to see the moving performers. Now there are more each year that bring colorful characters alive. 32. More shade options - unlike other festivals, Irish Fest creates a whole village on the south end of the grounds - full of great places to take a break from the sun. 35. Shuttles - Irish Fest always has the shuttles which can save money as well as beat the parking hassles of downtown. 39. More local business in the marketplace - my dear friends at Mystic Ireland of Elm Grove have been there for years. I can't help myself when it comes to their awesome jewelry! 43. Summerfest pin - for those of you who loved to collect those pins (not just for getting in for free) check out the Irish Fest store on the grounds. We have our own. 74. Happy Hour - calling all you young professionals - keep an eye out for Slainte 2011. It is an awesome event on Thursday! 81. More cocktail alternatives - Thanks to Jameson being on the grounds, there is plenty of options like the Big Jamo, Jamorita, Bloody Molly and more. Don't worry, I tried them all and give them my seal of approval! (And I'm not a whiskey girl. Plus there are great wine (not just wine cooler) options. 98. Live theater at Summerfest - Like live theater? Come see international troops perform. Ask around your friends, Irish Fest is awesome! I can't think of a better way to spend the third weekend in August. I know I'm not the only one who loves this festival!

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Myke | June 16, 2011 at 11:47 p.m. (report)

FYI as far as # 2 goes, there are already flavored cream puffs at State Fair at the Starlite Cafe.

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courtneyryanne | June 15, 2011 at 10:40 p.m. (report)

I love this - I especially love the rent-a-dog made the list.

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erinbrigid | June 15, 2011 at 8:43 p.m. (report)

A note for number 5... The festivals held on the Henry Maier Festival Grounds can only serve local beers, so no Haacker Pschorr at German Fest and no Guinness at Irish Fest. However, thanks to the GREAT local breweries there are tons of ethnic local beers that you can try! (I recommend Pipers Scotch Ale from Sprecher!)

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MG | June 15, 2011 at 2:16 p.m. (report)

Since the lake will be full of barges, how about a barge with a stage that features only members of the DeBarge family?

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