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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Every Day is Milwaukee Day, but April 14 is When We Celebrate Milwaukee Day

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Several years ago a group of friends were discussing the date April 14 when one of them commented that the date (4/14) is the same as Milwaukee’s area code (414). From that casual observation, an especially casual holiday was born. The friends deemed April 14 Milwaukee Day, and proposed that it be used to celebrate the local character that makes the city such a rewarding place to call home. Last year Mayor Tom Barrett agreed that this group of dudes was on to something, and officially proclaimed April 14, 2012 Milwaukee Day.

This year Milwaukee Day falls on Sunday, and once again the city will celebrate with an endearingly ramshackle assortment of events, which are detailed on the holiday’s website. Walker’s Point will host one of the city’s first outdoor street parties with an event outside of Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room and Rumor featuring music from Hugh Bob and the Hustle, Jayk, Boy Blue and Up North, as well as BMX demonstrations and local artists and vendors. Hotel Foster on the East Side will play host to a Milwaukee-based short film festival (featuring Sam Macon, Manny Marquez, Xavier Ruffin, Cream City Soundcheck and others) from 3-5 p.m., followed by a fashion show at 7 p.m. And for its part, Historic Milwaukee will be giving walking tours of the Brady Street, Downtown and the Third Ward at 1 and 4 p.m. Following all that there will be a Milwaukee Day wrap party at Stonefly with Vic and Gab and Bigfoot beginning at 8 p.m.

The day will begin with a bell ringing at City Hall, which Milwaukee Day co-founder Brent Gohde is particularly excited about, calling it “the greatest thing to happen in my life.” Enthusiastic Milwaukeeans have until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 12 to submit an email to milwaukeeday@gmail.com with their name in the body and “BELL” in the subject heading to win the opportunity to be the bell ringer. The ceremony, Gohde says, “is going to be this random thing with Bango from the Buck and Mark Waldoch from The Celebrated Workingman,” and perhaps—though it’s not cemented yet—Mayor Barrett.

“I wanted the Energee dancers there, too, but they turned me down,” Gohde says.

As full as Sunday’s lineup is, next year could see the biggest Milwaukee Day yet. “It’s going to be 2014 next year, which means that April will be Milwaukee Month. It’s 414 for the entire month, and we have some grand plans for events we want to through. It’ll be a huge undertaking, but we have a solid crew of people that are really committed to making it happen. We’re kind of idiots that way.”