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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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In Festival Guide

The Summerfest splash pad is certainly kid friendly.

Social Circle: Is Summerfest family-friendly?

Welcome to a weekly segment called "Social Circle." It's a group effort between readers, social networkers and the editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too

People have pretty strong opinions when it comes to kids attending Summerfest, and this week's Social Circle responses represent the ardent beliefs Milwaukeeans have one way or the other about this issue. But where do you stand? Yay or nay to kids at the Big Gig?

Margaret Bacik: "During the day, sure."

Ami Bedi: "No."

Brian Eisold: "I don't think so – unless you happen to be part of a very wealthy family. The costs of admission, the costs of food and beverage, and the costs to enjoy activities sure aren't conducive to a family budget."

Russ Fascia: "Exposing a well-adjusted child to the drunken hordes might cause them to think about their own future behavior."

Michelle Gilbert: "I agree, if you have the money, during the day IS family friendly. But late afternoon / nighttime there are way too many people being irresponsible with alcohol and behavior. I wouldn't want my son around that."

Alissa Gonyea: "I don't take my kids there. But it is because I think it is really expensive and I am broke in the summer."

Tom Grill: "It's not stroller friendly."

Elizabeth Howe: "My feeling is this: if it ends in a 'fest,' not family friendly. If it ends in a 'fair' it is. I have three small kids ages 11, 5 and 3 and I can't imagine that a responsible parent would take a kid to Summerfest after 3 p.m."

Jenny Justice: "No! Loudness, wading through trash and beer, and people – adult people! – acting like babies. And the smoking, all of the smoking! Aside from the cost, sure, but it's the environment that sometimes is like a giant frat party, fun for some adults, but, dangerous and uncool for kids!"

Shannon Knapp: "Early hours, yes. Kids should be gone by 4-ish."

Lars Kvam: "No, it's for affluent drunks."

Erin Shea Linnane: "No. Too expensive and crowded. Lately, Summerfest seems more concerned with how many people they can cram in than quality entertainment for the whole family. I disagree about things ending in 'fest,' though. The ethnic fests are VERY family friendly and we go to several every summer ... with a special needs kid."

Angela Martin: "I think it is during the day, but at night as it gets later and later... No. OK for older kids possibly, but the real little ones will be bored or scared. When I went to see Devo a couple years ago, there was a kid about 9 or 10 years old in the front row. Pretty cool, but a security guard pulled some guy out of the crowd, and the kid got pushed around quite a bit."

Mike Mattner: "Hmmm. We had our 9-year-old son there late last night to see the Foo Fighters. Guess we won't be waiting for the parenting award to arrive anytime soon. Ha ha. He loved the show, though. I also brought my son to see bands at the PBR Fest in Bay View on Saturday. You may want to call social services on me right now. :)"

Sally Nordstrom: "No. Too hot. Not enough shade. Too much drinking."

Laura Rackowski: "No."

Claudia Reilly: "No. The music is too loud for infants. There is not a lot to keep a toddler occupied. Little kids are 'cigarette' height and risk getting burned or crushed by careless drunks and preteens get bored. The reason we have ethnic festivals is for families."

Renee Scherk-Meyer: "No, and that is perfectly OK. There are plenty of other options for family activities in town."

Stacy Van Kleef: "No, too many drunk people around."

Carol Voss: "Before 7."

Shelly Wozniak Rosenquist: "It's not so bad if you go when they open and leave by 3 or 4 p.m. and keep your kids in the kid area. People who keep children there after dark and get all loaded should be shot. Not fair to other people without kids at Summerfest trying to enjoy themselves and also it's not fair to the kids. Take them home and put them to bed."

Jane Weinstick: "Never has been as far as I can remember."

Caitlin Zenhotdal : "It depends on what you want to ascribe to 'family.' Yesterday, during the day, there were certainly lots of kids around, playing in the tot area and in the splash pad, but the last two nights I also saw plenty of kids listening to music with (presumably) their parents. If you like (good) live music (unlike what you can get at some 'fairs') and want to instill that as a family value, then Summerfest is family friendly; other people's behavior is stuff you should be explaining to your kids anyway."


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