Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Bastille Days

Besides the annual huge music festival that occupies Milwaukee for the first part of July ("Summerfest"), nearly every other summer weekend from mid-June to Labor Day and after features one of the "ethnic festivals"--Italian, German, Polish, Irish, African, Arab, Native American. "Bastille Days" is unique in that it does not take place at the Lakefront or State Fair Park, but is a free street fair that occupies several downtown East side blocks including Cathedral Square Park and extending to the front door of my office building. Of course, not only does one have to walk out a lunchtime to take in the music and the sights, but it's very easy to hang out after work for food, music, and shopping. Since there's also a bus line that runs from close to our neighborhood to the building front door, it's comparatively easy for Georgie to bus down and meet me at quitting time for a "date".

This year we thought the festival was particularly good. They did a way with the cumbersome "ticketing" process for food and drink so that you could just walk up and buy what you wanted from vendors for cash. Also, the Blatz stage was changed from over-amplified rock to acoustical music, which made the ambiance a great deal more pleasant. The food vendors we favored were all present, so we dined on excellent Jambalaya from J.T. Bones, and ice cream crepe from Cream and Crepe Cafe, and begniets from Alliance Francais. Best of all was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing on the main stage from at 5:00PM. (There was a strong New Orleans theme this year with Mama Digdown's Brass Band marching through the area as well--). We found a shady spot with breeze and a good view of the band and dancers and had a great time. I was suprised at how many people of all ages know the basic Jitterbug that goes well with a lot of BBVD's music, but particularly pleased and amused to see one couple that could do an authentic "Mooch" to "Minnie the Moocher." Boutique shops and vendors fill out the booths with scads of bright-colored summer clothing on offer, and about ton of silver jewelry. We spent a couple of very good hours before stolling back to my car and home.
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