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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

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In Travel & Visitors Guide

The Summerfest midway is, by now, a blurry memory for most. (PHOTO: Bobby Tanzilo )

Social Circle: Do you miss the Summerfest midway?


Years ago, there was a midway on the Summerfest grounds complete with rides, games and other carnival attractions. It was located on the far south end, where the Amphitheater / BMO Harris Pavilion stands today.

Originally, it was separate from Summerfest – midway goers didn't need a Summerfest ticket to get in – and years later the midway was condensed and a part of the Big Gig.

Today, there is not a midway at Summerfest and people have mixed opinions on whether or not it is missed. Most people, it seems, think the decision to eliminate the rides was a good idea, but others saw the value in the carnival component.

And others don't even remember it existed.

Here's what the Social Circle posted via Facebook and Twitter this week. Feel free to add your own comments about whether or not you miss the midway. And if you want to join the Social Circle to answer the question earlier and appear in this roundup of responses, go here.

Happy Summerfest, Milwaukee.

Evan Barnes: "As much as I miss fights, violence and unsafe rides."

Nick Berg: "Miss the Midway; don't miss the goofballs that made it their temporary home/breeding grounds."

Jennie Brand: "Absolutely not. It's not a church festival. It's Summerfest."

Brian Brehmer: "Carnival knock-down dolls, yes. Those who try to ruin our festival, no."

Kelly Briskie: "Best thing they did was take down the midway. Do not miss it at all. In fact Summerfest is more pleasurable without it."

Celeste Pachamama Contreras: "Maybe if there were rides there again, kids wouldn't be all drugged up. Giving ALL KIDS the benefit of the doubt. They just wanna have fun."

Frank Datzer: "No."

Mike Fowler: "Heck no! It got the riff raff out and who likes carnies hanging around anyway? Plus we got rewarded with the awesome BMO Pavilion!"

Lynn Halliburton: "I miss the beauty of the lights on the rides at night."

Theresa Kilkenney: "No! I have worked Summerfest for years and have seen the roving gangs at the midway more than I ever want to remember."

Marilyn Mee: "No. What I DO miss is being able to go to Summerfest when it was very affordable!"

Gwen Miner: "Yes, it's sad my kids won't be able to experience Summerfest the way I was able to when I was their ages."

Lisa Mumper: "I miss the rides and atmosphere that a midway brings but not the type of people who began to congregate there."

Jeff Pawlinski: "Absolutely, positively not."

Ted Perry: "There was a midway at Summerfest? Seriously? I have no recollection of that."

Iggy Rae: "I miss Summerfest every year. It was fun before the corporate takeover, now it's a yupster walletfest. Guess maybe I relate more to that lower class of people you snobby asses insult as if they were beneath you. May you always enjoy your pride in diversity so highly publicized. I'll stay home, thanks."

Pamela Sorci: "The kid zone is just fine. Our kids love taking in the music, the lake and the food, the occasional sip of an artisan beer. Well they are Wisconsinites!"

Mai Satellite: "Yes! What the hell?"

Daniel Stauff: "Yup!"

Rachel Vinyard: "Yes, I know it attracts some rowdy youth, but there's already rowdy drunks, so really what's the difference?"

David Wielochowski: "No."


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