This was my first ever Bastille Days in Milwaukee. I have been living in this city for almost 2 years and I don’t know why I did not make it to the last year’s one. But I am glad I made it this year and it was so much fun. The organizers clearly know what they have been doing. Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee at Cathedral Square, it is summer’s most awaited festival. The four-day bash attracts more than quarter of a million visitors from across Wisconsin and the Midwest.
The festival kicks off with the 5K run 2-mile walk and this is done to commemorate the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Then there is the Mardi Gras Parade that happens on the opening night following the 5 K run. The atmosphere is so electric. Though the Mardi Gras here is nowhere as big as New Orleans, it still attracts a lot of beads loving Francophile to the festival.
Raining food everywhere 🙂
The highlight of the festival is the Eiffel Tower replica standing tall in the square with a light show every hour. It gives a very French feeling to the whole festival. Then there are all those impromptu street performers, roaming minstrels, and a variety of interactive and musical entertainment. Then there is a whole lane devoted to fortune telling and if you are feeling adventurous and brave then, by all means, this is where you can get a sneak peek into your future. For all those dog lovers out there a counter devoted to the French Bulldog rescue and a kissing booth. The day I was there I petted Roxy and she was adorable.
As with all festivals, the food and music are the main attractions. The Bastille Day boasts a wide variety of some of Milwaukee’s best restaurants. So we tried food from 4 different vendors and they are all very delicious and not to mention the generous portions that were included. French favorites included beignets handcrafted by members of the Alliance Française de Milwaukee, crêpes, wine, and many different types of trinkets and gifts such as Provençal fabrics, soaps, cards and artwork.
Very Well Sign Posted 🙂
The Flannery’s Bar and Restaurant had the tastiest Buffalo wings I have had in a long time. The Hawaiian Tiki bar had a unique way of serving Nachos with Wantons and Teriyaki chicken, I simply loved it. The Chicken Chipotle panini was a unique flavor that I tasted for the first time as in the combination of Chipotle and panini. But it came out really well and the portion was whole some too. W finished our food jaunt with the super delicious chocolate mousse crepe topped with whipped creme and chocolate syrup from the Cedar Creek crepe and I was in food heaven. There was also a wine tasting event on Saturday at the north east corner of the square and for 25 dollars you get 8 different tastings of selected wine from France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, California. That is really cheap. One of the best deals you can get in wine tasting.
Chicken Chipotle Panini from Aladdin
The Teriyaki Chicken Wanton Nachos from Hawaiian Tiki Bar
Chocolate Mousse Crepe from Cedar Cream and Cafe
As for the music, there were some really good bands playing last week end. We had the Blair Crimmins & The Hookers, Nineteen Thirteen and Paris-based group, La Jarry, on the Cathedral Square Stage; then on the Peninsula, Winery Stage we had groups Milwaukee Hot Club, Fox & Branch and Tinker Boys on the Door performing. Finally, on the Madison Medical Affiliates Beaux Arts Stage, there was Robin Pluer and Brett Newski performing. I personally couldn’t attend all of them but I did make it to the Blair Crimmins and the Tinkerboys performances and they were really good. The atmosphere was relaxing, fun and very enjoyable. Sorry I got so carried away with the performances that I forgot to clicke pictures 🙂
Impromptu Street Performances
I am really glad I made it to this year’s Bastille Day, It is one of the most sort after summer events here in Milwaukee and the best part of it all is that it is free, no tickets, no entry lines. You pay for what you eat and drink. I am already looking forward to next year’s festival and next time I want to be there for all four days.
Note: Next up Italian Fest coming up on 21-23 July here in Milwaukee. Make sure you mark your calendar and book your tickets online 🙂