Chilly or not, rainy or not, this weekend is the kind of weekend that makes the Milwaukee summer great for me.
At some point this weekend, we'll hit two festivals on our side of town.
First up is the church festival at Sts. Connie and Helen, 2160 Wauwatosa Ave. (aka 76th Street), in Wauwatosa, which is now one of my favorites. Here's what I said about it two years ago:
"I grew up around the corner from a Greek church and remember going every year for the deep fried dough balls with honey (I never know the names, I'm sorry) and the saganaki (OK, I know that one). There were also games, rides and great Greek music.
"That about sums up Sts. Connie and Helen's fair, too. Outside, there's a tent with vendors selling beer, corn, honey balls, baklava, saganaki (stand back when they throw the booze on the bubbling hot cheese) and more. There were also a couple carnival games and a dj spinning Greek music (probably a lot like the music at the small table of the vendor selling CDs).
"Adjacent to the tent, a clutch of older men -- talking animatedly in Greek -- keeps the two dozen spits -- which hold whole chickens and pigs -- turning above a blazing hot brazier.
"Inside, in the gym, there were young Greek dancers, a raffle, more vendors selling jewelry and the like, and dinners, including a Friday fish fry, chicken dinners, stuffed grape leaves and more."
Last year, my son discovered his love for the inflatable bouncy house at this festival, so you can be sure he'll shed his Vans for a bounce or two before we leave.
The other event on tap is the church festival at Christ King, 2604 N. Swan Blvd. (aka 92nd Street), also in Wauwatosa. My neighbor runs the music tent there and his band plays a couple times, so I'll try to head over for one of those shows, but if my son's aha moment for bouncy houses came at Sts. Connie and Helen last year, it was cemented by the two fine examples at Christ King.
So, a daytime visit will also be key.
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.