Thank you, Harley-Davidson. Thank you, and congratulations.
I'm giving it to you, not like I really have the authority, but I'm here to declare that Milwaukee is now officially your town; yours to own, grow and bring your loyal, passionate, "Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts" home whenever and however you want.
The energy and flat-out rollicking nature of the past several days has been nothing short of amazing. Add the weather, a sweep from the Brewers (and a near no hitter) and the Holiday weekend and there was a roar in Milwaukee that's just very special. Downtown hums, bustles and bursts in a way that it only can when thousands and thousands of HOGs and their riders ascend. Sure, they bring noise, but they bring dollars, smiles and most importantly an appreciation for Milwaukee and for the way (especially during the parade) that they are treated like near rock stars. It's awesome.
Since I've been in the heart of Downtown all week, a few observations:
Even the Milwaukee River was packed. Except for fireworks nights, I've seen few evenings as crowded. It's pretty cool.
Police are everywhere. Crowds are controlled and generally people are behaving.
Haven't seen any official attendance estimates, but I love the feel of Downtown with 100,000-plus extra people.
For as many Miller signs that I see on bars, there are equally as many Coors Light, Budweiser and Jack Daniels ones, too.
The neighborhoods that did motorcycle-only parking got the most traffic and, probably, the most business in their restaurants, stores and bars.
Was it just me, or was it super easy to get beer at the Springsteen show? I never waited in line.
The bathrooms, though, could have been located a bit more conveniently at Veteran's Park.
Thank you Northwestern Mutual for the cool H-D on your building. As I written before, we need more buildings sporting creative lighting.
Is there any other group of people that dress as similar as Harley riders? Seriously, black shirts (H-D, off course) and jeans on 89 percent of them. Think about it, is there any other group that backs and supports a product with as much passion and as much of a similar dress code? Maybe some bands or sports teams? But name one another company? You don't see Mac-heads dressing like Steve Jobs!
Downtown could use a few more coffee places and / or cafes. I had several people ask where the closest coffee was and many others wanting breakfast / cafe options other than their hotel.
For the 110th, I'd suggest a few more official events that don't have booze and music as the focus. I love booze and music as much as the next guy / girl, but this crowd is aging and I felt that some were looking for more options. Discovery World did a great job with its exhibit. More stuff like that, I think, is needed.
If you missed the Dierks Bentley show, you missed a great one. We headed to the Summerfest grounds after hearing a few Bruce tunes Saturday specifically to hear Bentley. The over flow crowd at Biggs sang along as Bentley worked the crowd with similar zeal as the Boss. No, he's no Springsteen, but I truly enjoyed his show and it ended in time to walk the lake back to hear Bruce's 11-song encore.
If this is now Harely's city, what's next? The museum will be front and center for a while, but how do they, as a company, continue this buzz on a local level and, more specially, in Downtown Milwaukee? Harley Café, anyone? Build one now!
The world loved Milwaukee. I can't tell you how many people said how lovely, clean and nice our city is. Everyone had great things to say. Milwaukee, you should be very proud.
All for now, sure there are more memories to recount so use the Talkback feature to tell us yours. See you at the 110th! Ride on and On Milwaukee.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.