The Santa Rampage is coming back to Milwaukee on Saturday, Nov. 30. The Santa Rampage is an annual event in Milwaukee that features hundreds of people in Santa suits – as well as a wide swath of various holiday-themed costumes – riding their bicycles across the city. Over the last five years it has reached such an esteemed cult-status that even the dodgy weather of the season does not detract from the merriment or the number of riders who participate in these festivities.
And this year these Santa's will ride for more than a few laughs.
"Our bike crazy friends at the Lowlands Restaurant Group, Turner Hall and a few of the other stops on the Rampage wanted to give back for all they have benefited by this ride," said Rampage coordinator Dave Schlabowske.
Misters and misses Claus can purchase an optional wristband that riders can cash in for beverages from Lowlands Brewing Company (Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal) or Lakefront Brewery at many of the stops throughout the day. The wristband costs $20 and all of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Wisconsin Bike Fed – a non-profit organization that uses education and legislation to make biking in Wisconsin a safer and more enjoyable activity.
"In the same way Santas rely on the kindness of strangers to set out cookies and milk on Christmas Day, they also rely on cafe and tavern owners to provide for them on the Rampage," said Schlabowske. "This year all the business owners are on the Bike Fed's 'Nice List' for offering various donations."
Food trucks will also be setting up shop at several stops along the route.
The wristband isn't just good for a few drinks. It can also be used for entry to the final stop, the Rampage Santa Gala at Turner Hall. The Gala will feature live music from The Crombies and The English Beat.
"In addition to a mosh pit of sweaty, skanking Santas, there will be DJs, a silent auction, food and other surprises," Schlabowske added.
Didn't join the ride but still want to enjoy the evenings festivities? You can still purchase a ticket to the Gala from the Pabst/Riverside in advance or at the door for $25.
The ride length varies, depending on which feeder route you select, but expect to put on 15 to 20 miles at a comfortable pace by the end of the night.
The full ride schedule is below. Bookmark it on your mobile device and never get left in the cold.
- Wristbands for sale at each location (day-of only) for $20
- Good for a free Lowlands Brewing Company bier
- Good for a free Lakefront Brewery beer
- Entry to Turner Hall for the Gala and The English Beat concert
Feeder rides begin at 9 a.m.
- Cranky Al’s Bakery & Coffee Shop, 6901 W. North Ave.
- Café Hollander - Tosa, 7677 W. State St.
- Café Hollander – Downer, 2608 N. Downer Ave.
- Café Centraal, 2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
- Fuel Café, 818 E. Center St.
All Santas meet at Lakefront Brewery at 11 a.m.
- Lakefront Brewery, 1872 N. Commerce St.
- Santa Rampage Tees for sale
- Free beer with purchase of a wristband
Great Lakes Distillery at noon
- Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia St.
- $1 of every cocktail purchased is donated to the Wisconsin Bike Fed
- Food trucks at this stop
Optional Ride Locations (choose your adventure) at 1:30pm
Final stop is Turner Hall at 3:30pm for the Santa Rampage Gala!
- Turner Hall Ballroom, 1034 N. 4th St., doors open at 3:30
- 3:30 p.m. – DJ Marcus Doucette from 88.9 RadioMilwaukee, silent auction, food, drinks
- 5:30 p.m. – Opening band: The Crombies
- 6:30 p.m. – Live auction
- 7 p.m. – Headliner: The English Beat
- Merchandise for sale
Bike parking at Turner Hall and along the route provided by Wheel & Sprocket.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.