By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jun 17, 2024 at 5:01 PM

The Great Milwaukee Summer is HERE! Your guide to what you'll be doing, where you'll be drinking, who you'll be hearing and how you'll be getting a sweet tan this summer is on OnMilwaukee. The Great Milwaukee Summer guide is brought to you by Geis Garage Doors and Peoples State Bank

Milwaukee's seen its fair share of odd events in recent years – from the Red Bull Flugtag flying above (and crashing into) Lake Michigan back in 2022 to a day-long festival dedicated to Shrek. But this one might out-weird them all: A giant inflatable sleeping baby, along with a 100-person choir to sing at it, is coming to the lakefront. 

No, you read that correctly: On Friday, June 21, a 112-foot-long hot air balloon shaped like a napping baby will float above Veterans Park, joined by a large choir of local singers performing newly composed a cappella music to the massive inflatable infant.

The free performance, called "Baby You," will take to the skies at 7 p.m., with the choir's rehearsal starting at 6 p.m. and music, games and other activities surrounding the event beginning at 4 p.m. (If the weather does not allow for "Baby You" to awaken outdoors, the event will move indoors to the nearby Milwaukee Art Museum.) 

While this will certainly be the first time a giant baby-shaped balloon has flown over Milwaukee, this won't be the airborne newborn's first flight, as it previously made its debut over Antwerp in 2022. 

So, uh ... why? Just ... why?

It turns out there's oddly a lot of reasons for a giant balloon baby to visit the skies above Brew City. For one, Friday marks Make Music Day – an annual global celebration of music on one of the longest days of the year – so what better way to celebrate than with a wholly unique musical production, featuring new songs "composed of syllables, hums and noises that express the wide range of sounds babies make, from heartbeats and breathing to coos and cries, merging with the sounds of a parent's lullaby," according to a release.

"The baby is emblematic not only of the hopes and dreams of potential but also of our shared humanity," said composer Michael Schachter, in the release. "Regardless of our differences, we all start in the womb and grow from infancy to adulthood. It's profound to celebrate that we are more alike than different in the ways that truly matter."

"Baby You" also arrives in Milwaukee, though, to ring in the English-language online debut of Przekrój, a Polish arts and entertainment magazine known for publishing an array of essays, interviews, humor pieces, poetry and more since its debut in 1945.

Therefore, in addition to the floating balloon baby – a representation of their editorial mission, according to the release, "symbolizing the untapped potential within all people: unlimited, and waiting to be awakened" – Friday's event will feature a gallery of several notable Przekrój covers as well as a lounge offering space to read some of the culture magazine's past articles and works. 

According to the release, Przekrój chose Milwaukee for this special event "as it represents the heartland of America, with a history of independent thinking and, of course, a vibrant Polish community."

"We conceived of 'Baby You' as the perfect metaphor to embody the rebirth of Przekrój and the role we hope it will play in the world today – to remind us that while politics and culture are ever-changing, the importance of nourishing mind, body and soul remains constant," said Przekrój editor-at-large Maria Kozak, in the release. “Przekrój was born out of dire necessity to give hope to a public starved of art, literature and beauty. But we find it’s just as necessary now – when what ails us is not a lack of distraction, but the extreme opposite: Distraction is a constant state of being.”  

For a taste of Przekrój's work, click here for the English-language online version of the magazine – and as for the giant balloon baby bonanza this weekend, more information can be found at the event's Facebook page or at Make Music Day's website.  

And for the rest of the slightly less strange fun planned around town this sunny season, check out our full 2024 summer festival guide

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.