Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
Press Release

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. Explores Expanded Utilization of Henry Maier Festival Park


By - Apr 15th, 2024 01:59 pm

MILWAUKEE, WI — (April 15, 2024) — Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (MWF), an independent, private 501(c)(3) corporation that maintains and improves Henry Maier Festival Park, announced the release of a request for proposals to consider expanded opportunities for future programming and improvements at Henry Maier Festival Park.

The call for a Master Use Plan is being conducted to explore increased public use of Henry Maier Festival Park, while maintaining a world-class experience for Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance and the ethnic and cultural festivals, which define Milwaukee’s reputation as the City of Festivals. The Park has seen a significant increase in activity since the pandemic, hosting 83% more events in 2023 than 2019, which demonstrates an interest in new opportunities.

Henry Maier Festival Park is owned by the City of Milwaukee and leased to MWF under a long-term lease. In support of its non-profit mission, MWF maintains, stewards, and develops the Park.  MWF and its sponsors have invested over $160 million in capital improvements since 2003 to establish the Park as a unique lakefront destination. The land was designated for public use and has provided the public with recreational opportunities and cultural celebrations for decades.

“Henry Maier Festival Park is one of Milwaukee’s treasures, representing one of our community’s most important lakefront assets,” said Mary Ellen Stanek, chairwoman of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.  “As part of this process to explore additional programming, Milwaukee World Festival intends to deepen our partnership with the City of Milwaukee, including aligning Milwaukee World Festival’s goals with the City’s vision to grow Milwaukee.”

The exploratory process will unfold over the next year and include a competitive request for proposals, selection of a firm, on-site study, and a report from the successful firm.  Consultant firms invited to respond will include nationally recognized companies with expertise in developing hospitality, entertainment districts, and venues. Each expert firm will assemble a team of programming experts to execute the Master Use Plan including a local firm.

In 2023, Henry Maier Festival Park hosted over 1.2 million guests through Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance, cultural festivals, concerts, and non-profit events as well as public access to the Northwestern Mutual Community Park and Lakeshore State Park. This activity provided more than $318 million in economic impact to the State of Wisconsin and $263 million in economic impact to Milwaukee. The non-profit organization hired 2,304 total staff in 2023, made up of 79% Milwaukee County residents and 66% City of Milwaukee residents.

“We are excited to consider future opportunities to expand the use of Henry Maier Festival Park, while remaining committed to our non-profit mission to provide a showcase for the performing arts, exposure to ethnic heritage and cultural traditions, recreation for the public, and employment opportunities,” said Sarah Pancheri, President & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

About Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. 

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. is an independent, private 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1965 that produces Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance, a three-weekend music festival featuring over 600 artists across 12 stages. Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. also maintains and improves Henry Maier Festival Park, located on 75 acres on the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to Summerfest, Henry Maier Festival Park hosts a variety of ethnic and cultural festivals, concerts, family programming, walks, runs, and other special events. The mission of the organization is to promote an understanding of different ethnic cultures, the histories and traditions of various nationalities, harmony in the community, civic pride as well as to provide a showcase for performing arts, activities, and recreation for the public and employment opportunities for the youth of the community. For more details, visit or, and on socials @MilwaukeeWorldFestival or @Summerfest.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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