By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 19, 2020 at 9:03 AM

Menomonee River Valley’s annual Valley Week autumn festival is back with a series of events that are a mix of virtual and social-distanced in-person events that celebrate the valley’s nature, recreation, brewing/distilling, dining, tourism and commerce.

Here are this year’s events, taking place from Sept. 12 to 19, and organized as always by the Menomonee Valley Partners.

For complete details, visit

All Week Long

A Public Art Self-Guided Bike Tour lets you follow an interactive map to explore the public art in the valley. A promo code encourages you to use Bulbr Bikes for your ride.

The annual Ultimate Beer Run takes a do-it-yourself approach, allowing you to run back and forth between City Lights and Third Space Breweries, alternating some exercise and a few beers, too. Plus, you’ll get your own souvenir mask.

Saturday, Sept. 12, 11 a.m., Photography class online. The Coalition of Photographic Arts will share photography best practices and allow you to practice your lens skills in nearby Three Bridges Park.

Sunday, Sept. 13, 2 p.m., Menomonee Valley Community Park, Introduction to Native Gardening Class. A $10 fee gets you knowledge on how to garden with native plants as well as a native plant to take home to get that garden started.

Tuesday, Sept. 15, noon-1 p.m., Valley Week Luncheon. John Gurda gives a keynote talk on the history of the Menomonee Valley during this virtual luncheon. You’ll also get a special Valley gift package.

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6 p.m., Rishi Tea Cocktail/Mocktail Class. The pros at Rishi Tea will share information on making unique cocktails and mocktails using Rishi tea blends in this interactive online class. Registration includes a kit of Rishi tea blends, sample bottles of liquor from Great Lakes Distillery and more.

Thursday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 18, 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Valley Blood Drive, The Garage at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Donate blood and receive a gift from the H-D Museum, including free admission to the museum, 10% off a purchase of $25 or more at The Shop, and $10 off $30 spend at MOTOR restaurant.

Friday, Sept. 18, 5:15 p.m., Sunset Kayak Tour, Milwaukee Kayak Company. Enjoy a sunset paddle along the Menomonee River while hearing about the past, present and future of the Menomonee Valley.

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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.