The 37th Bastille Days returns to East Town on July 12-15, and while it will still be centered around Cathedral Square Park, the French-themed festival will have a slightly altered footprint starting this year to accommodate the arrival of The Hop streetcar.
The streetcar loop will run east and west routes along Kilbourn Avenue, through what has become the grounds of the weekend festival. Though The Hop won’t be fully operational yet in July – it is expected to be up and running later in 2018 – the system will be in its testing phase during Bastille Days.
As a result, the main artery of the festival – previously Kilbourn Avenue – will move a block south to Wells Street, and the mini-Eiffel Tower will move 100 feet south, off Kilbourn Avenue into the north end of Cathedral Square Park.
The festival will still include parts of Kilbourn Avenue, but in a scaled-back way.
"Guests of Bastille Days are in for some exciting changes," said Kim Morris, executive director of East Town Association, which runs Bastille Days, in a release. "Over the last year, we’ve been working closely with city officials on a revised layout that will complement streetcar service and minimize impacts to neighboring businesses.
"Our new footprint keeps Bastille Days anchored in the hub of our neighborhood and provides visitors with better accessibility. Plus, festivalgoers will be able to take the streetcar right to Bastille Days next year. The solution is really a win-win for all."
The route for the annual Storm the Bastille run will not change.
"As the highest-attended street festival in Milwaukee, we know that parking can, at times, come at a premium," said Morris. "The ability for fest-goers to get to Bastille Days from points all throughout Downtown with The Hop will be a true game-changer for us. We look forward to increasing the visitor experience, and the addition of the streetcar alongside our new festival layout will certainly help us accomplish that."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.