Top

The Best Fest in Riverwest!

by Tess Reiss

Locust St. Festival, voted “Best Neighborhood Festival” in 2001 and 2002 by Shepherd Express readers, kickstarts the summer season on Sunday, June 8. It gets off to a running start with the traditional 1.8 mile Beer Run/Walk. Alderman Mike D’Amato does the honors at the Start Line on Locust and Booth, when hundreds of runners take off at 11:30 a.m. sharp. For just $5, runners can also get a 10-minute sports massage at either the Start or Finish Line by students of the Milwaukee School of Massage. Proceeds benefit the Woodland Pattern Book Center. Woodland Pattern will be the scene of the debut of Riverwest: A Community History. Author Tom Tolan will be on hand to sign the book he began 20 years ago as part of the Milwaukee Humanities Program. In conjunction with the book signing, a photo exhibit, Riverwest: Everybody’s Neighborhood, features historic photos of Riverwest, along with contemporary photos of the neighborhood by Riverwest photographer John Ruebartsch, whose work is featured in the book. Riverwest resident Kate Hawley was the book designer for the long-awaited project, and is also designing the photo exhibit. All proceeds go to COA Youth & Family Centers. Music and dancing in the street will be non-stop with more than 20 bands on six outdoor stages presented by The Tracks Tavern, Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, Klinger’s East, Riverwest Commons, Nita’s Two, and Lakefront Brewery. Bands include local favorites Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans, King Solomon, Mississippi Cactus, The Mosleys, and Salt Creek, for a full complement of musical flavors from rock to blues, bluegrass, funk, reggae, acoustic, and Latino rhythms. Or folks can make their own music at the popular Drum Circle on the corner of Locust and Bremen hosted by Milwaukee Public Theatre. Be sure to bring the kids to see the amazing 27-foot teepee sponsored by the Urban Ecology Center (next to Klinger’s), or try their prowess on the climbing wall in Garden Park hosted by Riverwest Outdoor Enterprises. If that’s not enough, check out the Bucketworks Play Arena for adults and kids (next to Maedke Chiropractic). For arty types, try the arts and crafts activities sponsored by Milwaukee Public Theatre (near the Drum Circle) or Kids ID fingerprinting kits at Ma Baensch along with oceans of coloring. Have some free herring while you wait for the kids. Also look for local street performers like Capoeira Batukue Street Roda, a form of Afro-Brazilian martial art and dance, at the Fratney intersection. The “Cosmic Patterns” block (between Fratney and Pierce Streets) is the place to find tarot card or palm readings, investigate holistic health products, or view demonstrations. Up and down the street you’ll find more than 60 artists’ and craft booths, clowns, balloons, and a variety of foods and beverages to round out your day. Want to join in on the fun? Call The Tracks at 414/562-2020 or email Tess Reiss at for a Beer Run application (the only way you can get one of those cool festival T-shirts) or for a booth application if you have a product, service, or organization you would like to promote. It’s a rain or shine event, so think sun! Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 6 – June 2003
by Tess Reiss