By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jan 30, 2024 at 2:45 PM

With a decade of slushy success under its belt, Mitten Fest returns this weekend. The location has changed – for this year only – but the plan is the same: drink quality beverages, enjoy toasty treats, groove to live bands and hang out with hordes of Milwaukee merrymakers. Mittens not required.

Mitten Fest 2024, presented by WMSE and Milwaukee Record, takes place Saturday, February 3 in the parking lot (and inside) Boone & Crockett and The Cooperage, 818 S. Water St. The indoor/outdoor event runs from noon to 8 p.m. Street parking is available but limited, so consider taking an Uber/Lyft/bus instead.

Boone & Crockett has proven itself as a premier spot for soirees of all kinds. Thus, here are five reasons we predict Mitten Fest gets two thumbs up this year.

1. Stellar live music line-up.

The line-up this year is an eclectic representation of Milwaukee’s powerful music scene. Here’s who’s playing when:

  • 1 p.m. Hanna Simons - Inspired by Brandi Carlile, Jewel and H.E.R., Hanna Simons is an engaging blues/rock/soul artist with much to share with her audience.
  • 2:30 p.m. Emmitt James – From Midwest-based emcee to LA-based hip hop artist, James brings incredible energy to every stage he graces. He's got a style all his own, but think A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak and The Internet
  • 4 p.m. Force – Thrash-metal / punk / hardcore band Force aren’t effing around. Show up and find out why.
  • 5:30 p.m. Rat Bath – It’s full speed ahead for this country-emo, all-transgender Milwaukee band that released a highly acclaimed album a mere few months ago.
  • Between acts: WMSE DJ Christreater

2. Warm, wintery refreshments.

Is “warm and wintery” an oxymoron? Not when describing the food and drink available at Mitten Fest. There’ll be roughly 20 rare beers from Central Waters Brewery and Founders Brewing along with a wintry mix of cocktails including the fest’s signature Brandyland Old Fashioned; spiked and unspiked Valentine coffee, Tullamore Dew Hot Cider and Honey Toddys, and more. Plus, vendors such as Taco Moto, Sweet Smoke BBQ, Dooby Dogs, Pig Tailz, Roll MKE, Happy Dough Lucky and more will be on sight serving up an array of comfort foody options. (No carry-ins, please.)

3. Multitasking at its finest.

While most of us are rocking our mittens off, the fest will collect money for the Hunger Task Force – an organization that feeds healthy food to thousands of local folks every day. Note that food and clothing items will NOT be collected this year in lieu of cash and credit donations that can be made at the fest.

4. Mod temps ahead.

It looks like 40 degrees on Saturday which means you get all the bragging rights for partying outdoors without the frozen fingers. Mitten Fest is also dog friendly – as long as your dog is Mitten Fest friendly – so the weather's looking good for your furry tagalong, too.

5. It's freeeee.

Plan to throw down some cash for drinks, eats, souvenirs (there will be vendors on site) and maybe a donation to Hunger Task Force, but the cost to get into Mitten Fest is a whopping zero dollars. You know how much we love that, Milwaukee. See ya at Boone!

mitten fest

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.