By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jun 15, 2023 at 10:01 AM

Festival City is hopping this summer! OnMilwaukee's Festival Guide is brought to you by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Escape the heat and step inside! 

Summer technically hasn't even started yet – but the Great Milwaukee Summer's definitely begun with all the festivals and fun times around town this weekend. That includes HartFest, returning to Tosa on Friday and Saturday with showcases old and new for all the senses. 

The biggest new addition to this two-day festival – centered around Rotary Stage at Hart Park, 1190 N. 70th St. – is the new barbecue competition. Local pitmasters and barbecue enthusiasts will grill up their finest chicken to serve on Saturday, June 17 beginning at 1 p.m. The panel of judges will get first dibs on the delicious competition, with attendees digging in and voting for the people's choice award around 1:30 p.m. To get your hands on that tasty grilled grub, barbecue tasting tickets are available at HartFest's website for $20. (Admission for the festival overall is free.)

If barbecue isn't your bag, HartFest will have plenty of other crave-worthy food trucks and vendors parked around the festivities – including Leff's, Maxie's, Marco Pollo, Tots on the Street, Cocina Filipina and many more, as well as drinks from The Ruby Tap, Lakefront Brewery, Aroma Cafe and Taste Teas. 

Your ear buds will have an equally great time at HartFest as your taste buds, with live music throughout the two-day community party courtesy of The Blues Disciples, the Koch Marshall Trio, the Wauwatosa School of Music, The Mighty Ms. Erica, The Incorruptibles and The Bel-Airs. And the festival will showcase a car show, a 5k or 10k run, and plenty of local vendors selling their arts, crafts, wares and beyond. 

Here's the schedule for HartFest this weekend, with food trucks and vendors open throughout it all:

Friday, June 16

  • 5:30 p.m. – The Blues Disciples
  • 7 p.m. – The Shortest Run – .621 miles – on the Longest Day (register beforehand at Leff's Lucky Town)
  • 8 p.m. – Koch Marshall Trio

Saturday, June 17

  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Uptown Motors Car Show
  • 1 p.m. – The Wauwatosa School of Music
  • 1 p.m. – Barbecue competition judging
  • 1:30 p.m. – Barbecue competition attendee sampling
  • 3:30 p.m. – The Mighty Ms. Erica
  • 4 p.m. – Badgerland Striders HartFest 5k/10k run
  • 5:30 p.m. – The Incorruptibles
  • 8 p.m. – The Bel-Airs

HartFest runs at Hart Park from 5-10 p.m. on Friday night as well as 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. For more information on vendors, or to purchase tickets for the barbecue contest tasting, visit HartFest's website. And for more summer festival fun, check out OnMilwaukee's full 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.