Milwaukee Day returns for a third year
Sahan Jayasuriya talks with Milwaukee Day organizers Andy Silverman and Timm Gable in anticipation of Sunday's celebrations.
Sunday, April 14, marks the third annual Milwaukee Day, the citywide celebration of Cream City and its unique charm. Last year, the celebration was made an official holiday by Mayor Barrett, and this year’s celebration has just as much excitement and fun in store. TCD’s Sahan Jayasuriya sat down with two of Milwaukee Day’s three founding fathers – Andy Silverman and Timm Gable – to talk about what to expect from this year’s festivities.
Andy Silverman: Milwaukee Day is simply a celebration of the great city that we live in. Its an opportunity for you as a Milwaukeean to celebrate everything that makes Milwaukee culturally great and historically unique by doing what it is that you like to do in the city.
SJ: Perfect. Last year Milwaukee Day had a pretty strong online presence both on your own website as well as social media. This year I’ve seen considerably less internet activity from you guys. Any reasoning behind this?
Timm Gable: I think last year more than anything we were really pushing to promote just what it was that we were doing, and I think this year that’s been pretty well established, and so a lot of the promotion that we were doing last year wasn’t quite as necessary as most people have a pretty good understanding of what Milwaukee Day is all about. As it grows closer, we’ll be a bit more active in announcements and such.
SJ: I think last year was pretty successful, though. People seemed to really latch onto it.
TG: Definitely, and especially with a lot of Milwaukee expatriates. People on both coasts in L.A. and New York were celebrating from afar. I had a friend who is living in Germany who sent me a photo of him holding up a 4/14 sign, which was awesome. It was great seeing people from all over really connecting to the city that they love and call home, even if they don’t live here anymore.
AS: Those kinds of reactions made us feel like we were really doing something kinda important.
TG: And it’s simple, really. The whole numerical pun is just representative of how simple it is to celebrate. There’s just this idea of enjoying where you come from, and it doesn’t take much to celebrate that.
SJ: Yeah, I think last year you guys mentioned that it was really for everyone and not exclusionary.
AS: Exactly, and we have a lot of great opportunities for people to partake in for sure, but as our message has always been from the beginning, we really encourage people to do whatever it is they want to celebrate. If you wanna have a barbecue in your backyard with your favorite Klement’s brats and Lakefront beer to celebrate, then do it.
TG: We’re just the launch pad for people to do something bigger. I have people coming up to me who are just like “You know what you should do? This and this” and I’m always just sorta like “Well, actually, you should do it!”. And people should. Milwaukee Day isn’t, like, ours (laughs).
SJ: Is Chris Schulist going to go on another Milwaukee Day Twitter rampage this year?
AS: I sure hope so.
TG: Me too. That’s definitely something I’m looking forward to.
SJ: With last year being a success, are you building on some of those successes or are you going for something different this time around?
AS: I think the main thing is that we’ve got a few more things going on around town because more people are participating this year. We liked the way things went last year and a lot of people were happy about that, so a lot of the events are similar but theres some new unique this year.
TG: I think we got more attention than we had the previous year, so there’s been more community support to be involved with what we’re doing. Like we said earlier, there’s just that basic idea of celebrating our city.
SJ: Which is really the most simple way to explain what the day is about.
TG: Yeah, its just the universal theme that we want to promote. From that standpoint, it’s very much the same message. There’s some shows and a few other things that are similar to last year, but there’s definitely some new surprises in store as well.
AS: One of the things I’m excited about is that we’re going to be able to offer people free historic tours of the city that usually cost $10 to $15. I ‘m always up for learning new stuff about our city, and things like that to me are really invaluable, so for them to offer that as part of Milwaukee Day is really really cool.
SJ: That’s really awesome. In addition to those organizations, are there other participants that are new to Milwaukee Day this year?
TG: Yeah. I know the Pedal Tavern is going to be offering a special Milwaukee Day deal.
AS: Yeah, I don’t know if the $4.14 thing caught fire like we were hoping (laughs)
SJ: It should have.
AS: Yeah, if we had control over everything, everything would be $4.14 on Milwaukee Day (laughs). But yeah, I know the Philly Way is going to be having some sort of special on Milwaukee Day. Even though its celebrating another city, it is truly Milwaukee’s own cheesesteak place.
SJ: So obviously there will be announcements as it grows closer to the 14th, but what are some of the featured events this year?
AS: There are several events that we’ve specifically been working on with other places. We’ve been working with the Battlecry folks on a show at Stonefly that Vic and Gab are playing. Bigfoot is playing as well. There’s gonna be a local short film festival at the Hotel Foster like last year. There’s gonna be an outdoor event at Tiki Joe’s and Rumor Lounge. They’re opening up their parking lots and getting together with Division BMX folks and also some bands like Hugh Bob and the Hustle are gonna play. MKE HOME is going to have their own Milwaukee Day party and fashion show at Foster after the film festival. One cool thing too is that at 10 a.m. they’re going to ring the bell at City Hall in honor of Milwaukee Day.
SJ: Last year the mayor declared it an official holiday, too?
TG: Yeah, last year it became official, this year they’re ringing the bell. It’s kinda cool to see things like this happen because it was just a little idea that we all had.
AS: One other event that I wanted to highlight is something that we’re organzing with the director of the Harambee neighborhood. We’re gonna have a community cleanup there, and the folks at Purpose By Design who helped us last year are on board again. They were such a huge help last year so its great to have them with us again.
SJ: What’s the best way for people to find out more about Milwaukee Day and the events going on?
AS: The website will be updated pretty consistently, but also Facebook as well. Everything will be up to date as the information comes in.
SJ: Excellent. Anything else you’d like to share with the lovely people?
TG: I think our message is pretty clear and constant. We just love the city that we live in and want people to…agree with us (laughs). Just take a moment to celebrate what’s great about Milwaukee on April the 14th.
Milwaukee Day 2013 is all day Sunday, April 14. For more information, visit www.milwaukeeday.com