A Day at German Fest Milwaukee

August 5, 2016

It’s no secret that winter can feel LONG in Wisconsin. Between negative windchills and a “permacloud”  in the sky for months at a time….it gets repetitive and dreary fast. I think that may be why Wisconsinites are so quick to take full advantage of the summer months. We are already famous for beer, we just need some good excuses to drink it! (Actually I don’t think most people need an excuse here. This is Wisconsin after all). German Fest Milwaukee is the perfect excuse.

Milwaukee in the summer is FUN. Weekends are spent with friends tailgating Brewers games, enjoying a Pedal Tavern ride through the streets downtown, tanning and volleyball at Bradford beach, or choosing a festival to attend. Did you know that almost every weekend in Milwaukee has one festival or another to choose from? Summerfest is probably the most well known of them outside of Wisconsin. It is a two week music festival held on the lakefront. Each night there is a major headliner (2016 had big names like Selena Gomez, Paul McCartney, Tim McGraw) and eight “side stages” that hold equally as well-known artists. While Summerfest is very fun and great for people watching, I tend to prefer the cultural festivals. These range anywhere from Polish Fest to Bastille Days to Festa Italiana to Irish Fest to Mexican Fiesta. You get my point. This weekend Tyler and I decided to check out German Fest!


I hadn’t been to German Fest since I was younger, so I was excited to check it out with Tyler. We walked through the gates and immediately knew it would be a fun day. Every other person was walking around in either lederhosen or a dirndl (traditional German dress) and obviously accessorized with an elaborate beer stein filled to the brim. We arrived just in time to see the parade – vintage Volkswagens, a plethora of people decked in traditional German outfits, and more beer! After the parade, we realized we hadn’t even had a beer yet (party foul at this festival!) and found a seat at an outdoor stage. Several of the big outdoor stages are open during GermanFest. Check the events schedule to witness anything from kids performing traditional German dances to enormous bands playing. There are rows and rows of benches or picnic tables to sit down and relax.


After filling up on beer, we wandered throughout the festival grounds. Another not-to-miss favorite is the enormous Glockenspiel. With the lakefront as a backdrop, anything can look spectacular. Yes, even a giant glockenspiel. Every couple hours the door opens and a little old man takes the stage, accordion in hand. He starts to play and one by one others start to emerge carrying anything from a keg to axes! Honestly, the performance is so entertaining! I don’t think it has changed in years. Head over during one of the scheduled performances. It’s no more than ten minutes, but very cute and worthwhile.

We were exhausted from being out in the sun all day so we decided to call it an early night. Festivals in Milwaukee are so fun and unique in their own way. If you are ever in Milwaukee during the summer, please check an event calendar to see if your visit overlaps with a festival – specifically German Fest Milwaukee. These events are not to be missed!

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