It’s Sunday, June 13, and the 28th Annual Locust Street Festival is ready to tap into fun with an 11:30 a.m. Beer Run. Legendary! They’re off and running at Booth and Locust, chugging along over a 1.8 course with four mandatory beer stops. They pass the “Cosmic Patterns” block where fortunes are forecast, palms read, tarots tossed, and information about holistic health holds court between Fratney and Pierce. The run, it should be noted, is for more than fun. It also helps support the Woodland Pattern Book Center. For those who prefer strolling and browsing, the list of sights is amazing: 60 plus arts and crafts booths, food vendors with temptations, half-a-dozen music stages, and there, at the corner of Locust and Bremen, Milwaukee Public Theatre’s Drum Circle, keeping the Festival beat. The music stages are each sponsored by a specific Locust Street bar, and Miller Lite and Riverwest’s own Lakefront Brewery also ante-up with music support.
For seven years Tess Reiss was in the saddle as director for the famous Fest. This year she’s advising the new coordinator, Debra Weber. Needless to say, Tess has a tale to tell: A few years back a man who had been partying heartily took it upon himself to assume the role of doorkeeper at Linneman’s. Not so bad in itself, but he was charging folks $5 to exit the bar… that is, until police talked him into giving up his post. The weather isn’t always cooperative either. Last year it rained cats and dogs, or should we say the “waters flowed like whiskey?” Ben Rivera, the new owner of a place known as Whiskey Waters, lives in Riverwest and this will be his first festival as a bar owner. Naturally, he’s hoping 2004 is one of the best. Willie Worth, for what it’s worth, is bar manager at Riverwest Commons. His claim is the celebration gets bigger with each passing year. This is a good thing, as his venue, along with The Tracks, Klinger’s East, Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, and the aforementioned Whiskey Waters, is a heavy hitter when it comes to community spirit and sponsorship. So okay. There’s a run with beer. Does this leave grandma, grandpa, and the kids out in the cold? Nope. Bring them along for what is not only a community affair, but an all-inclusive event with something for everyone. For info contact Debra Weber at or The Tracks at 414/562-2020. Victoria Taylor studies communications at Marquette University. She’s working on a new ‘zine.