By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 31, 2023 at 10:26 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! 

As the nonprofit CelticMKE reports an attendance bump at this year’s Irish Fest, the event organizer also announces a change in leadership.

Irish Fest 2023, held in mid-August at Henry Maier Festival Park, had a total of 93,207 patrons, which is a 15 percent increase over last year’s festival.

The event, which bills itself as the world’s largest Irish music festival, had more than 100 performers on 16 stages, as well as food, drink, cultural and travel exhibits, family fun and more.

“We’re proud to have put on a successful festival, where we got to see so many of our friends, old and new,” said Festival Director Molly Modlinski.

“We know that Milwaukee Irish Fest is a special place to so many people, and we take that seriously each year, as we work to offer up the best in music, food, culture and family fun.”

At the same time, CelticMKE says Mike Mitchell, who has served as executive director for the past six years, is retiring and will be replaced by current board member Caitlin Ward.

That succession plan was announced last year.

“We wish Mike all the best in his retirement, and thank him for all he’s done for this organization,” said Board President Bridget Jaskulski. “We’re now focusing on ensuring a smooth transition of all our efforts, and look forward to watching the festival and organization move forward under the guidance of Modlinski and Ward.”

For more about CelticMKE, go to More Milwaukee Irish Fest info is at

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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.