By Nate Proell, OnMilwaukee Intern   Published Jul 24, 2017 at 9:01 AM Photography: Bobby Tanzilo

Thanks to so many dedicated people and businesses, Downtown is the heart of Milwaukee. This week, OnMilwaukee presents Milwaukee Downtown Week, sponsored, aptly, by Milwaukee Downtown. For seven days, the site will share articles, videos and photography profiling some of the neighborhood’s best offerings and celebrating those who give it so much love.

Milwaukee Downtown is partnering with Downtown businesses to host the 12th annual Downtown Employee Appreciation Week, July 31-Aug. 4.

The week long celebration commemorates the more than 83,000 people that work in Downtown Milwaukee. Free food, outdoor entertainment, after-hour events and more will be held throughout the week. 

Festivities start off with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, July 31 at 11:45 a.m. at Red Arrow Park.  This Monday event concludes at 1 p.m. The ceremony will feature lunch for 1,000 employees courtesy of Cousins Subs, Davians Catering & Events and Starbucks. There will also be yard games for attendees to enjoy, such as: Yardzee, giant Connect Four and NEWaukee limbo. For lucky winners, Wisconsin State Fair tickets also be will distributed.

The fun continues throughout the week at Pere Marquette Park on Tuesday, Aug. 1, Schlitz Park on Wednesday, Aug. 2, Chase Tower at Water and Wisconsin on Thursday, Aug. 3, The Blue on Thursday, Aug. 3, Wisconsin Center on Thursday, Aug. 3 and Cathedral Square Park on Friday, Aug. 4. All events will begin and conclude at 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m and will have the Milwaukee Bucks Dancers present. 

After hour events will include "I Work Downtown" Western Hoedown which will include line dancing lessons from Fred Astaire Dance Studio at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at Pere Marquette Park in the Milwaukee County Historical Society Patio. There will be giveaways to see Kip Moore at Wisconsin State Fair and a pair of cowboy boots from The Boot Connection. 

The "I Work Downtown" Volleyball Tournament will be held at Bradford Beach at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 31 while Downtown’s Grandest Happy Hour will be on site at The Shops of Grand Avenue on Thursday, Aug. 3 at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, Aug. 1 grab your morning cup of coffee at the World's Largest Coffee Break at Catalano Square at 9:30 a.m. Also on Aug 1 be sure to test your knowledge at the "I Work Downtown" Trivia Tournament which is hosted at Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub, 1203 N. 10th St., and begins at 5 p.m. Pre-registration for both the trivial and volleyball tournament is required. 

Downtown employees are encouraged to wear a paperclip throughout the week to represent their Downtown employment and are also encouraged to join in on all the fun.