Jon Anne Willow
Made in Milwaukee

Art, Music, Love

By - Sep 3rd, 2010 07:00 am
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The East Town Farmers Market

It all started innocently enough in 2002.

Charles Watson was looking for a way to create a more accessible, more broadly enjoyable way to experience local music in Milwaukee. He talked to Paul Onopa, then-owner of Onopa Brewery (now Stonefly Brewing Co.) about staging what could only be termed a “happening” at his Riverwest brew pub. The first Made in Milwaukee featured two stages of local music, vendors, an outdoor sculpture garden and a local art exhibition.

At the time, this “pile-it-on” party style was rarely seen in our fair city. The kids, as they say, went crazy.

Since then there have been eight more events (twice there have been two in the same year), averaging 1,000 or more attendees each. And that brings us to this Saturday: Made in Milwaukee X, an event so big, so multi-faceted, that unless Hurricane Earl somehow manages to blow in from Lake Michigan, it will eclipse past events by a factor of eight. Or so Charles hopes.

“Who we are as a community is extremely important” says Charles. “It is my hope to be part of establishing a true identity for Milwaukee based on the people who are creating it day by day.” Oh, and he thinks 8,000 people enjoying the party is a reasonable goal.

Music, art and fashion have always been integral to MiM, but this year, with the vast increase in space (all of Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee), Charles and East Town Association Development Director Peter Adams have paid special attention to widening the net to appeal to families and a broader swath of the creativity-curious.

According to Peter, “Chuck and I have been friends for a long time, and when I started working at East Town Association I approached him with the idea of presenting Made in Milwaukee at Cathedral Square.”

Was it hard to talk him into such a vast undertaking?

“He responded with a prompt ‘hell yeah!’” says Peter. “So, we’ve been working hard to bring as much excitement and talent to this event as Milwaukee will allow.”

Kings Go Forth. Photo by Brian Jacobson

MiMX starts bright and early with the regular East Town Farmers Market at 8 a.m. Later in the morning an art fair will open and as the day progresses the thousands of expected visitors can hang out in the Discovery World kids and family area; taste-test wares from local coffee purveyors Anodyne, Alterra, Valentine and Stone Creek; munch on tasty food from Nessun Dorma, Coquette, Mamasita’s Tamales, Satellite Crepes and Café Hollander; and take your taste buds on a tour of twelve Wisconsin breweries at the inaugural “Milwauktoberfest”.

It’s also MiM’s first collaboration with Milwaukee Film, which will unveil the full Milwaukee Film Festival schedule in the afternoon, giving away program books and selling tickets to the 11-day festival, which kicks off on September 23.

Throughout the day and into the evening, the stage will turn over a dizzying array of Milwaukee talent of all types and tastes, from Kings Go Forth to a kid’s fashion show – and lots of the things one would expect to find in between. Parking may be tight, so treat yourself to a pedicab ride from our friends at Cream City Rickshaw. They’ll be on hand to keep the car or door-to park commute reasonable.

A full schedule for the day can be found on MiM’s website, and the event is free. ThirdCoast Digest will be there with our own very cool balloon dart game you can play for ridiculous prizes, plus your chance to be “Made In Milwaukee” yourself with a wacky photo booth. Make up your own Milwaukee-centric name (if yours isn’t already Milwauk-ified enough) and we’ll take your picture. Check back here next week for a photo gallery of all our new friends!

Hope to see you there.

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