Milwaukee has a lot of nicknames, its most famous, “Brew City,” and its less dubious “City of Festivals.” I used to go to so many of the ethnic festivals held either downtown or down by the lake: Polish Fest, Bastille Days, Irish Fest, Festa Italiana, Indian Summer. I always loved and looked forward to German Fest the most.
Christopher and I were fortunate enough to be in town German Fest this past weekend. We roped my dad into going, too, and the three of us attended the German-centered Mass, complete with German hymns, German readings and German prayers (and the archbishop celebrating) and got into the festival for free.
We started the day like any three good German people
would should: beer!
We walked the festival grounds in search of food and settled on a sampler platter from Mader’s, the biggest and most well-known German restaurant in Milwaukee.
We walked the grounds some more, watched a German dance group, watched the pigs roast and had another beer.
We walked the grounds a bit more, stopped for dessert, grabbed a pork schnitzel sandwich and had another beer (and a shot of Bärenjäger if you’re a man).
We made our way toward the highlight of the festival: the glockenspiel, a live reenactment of a traditional German coo-coo clock in which five old guys dressed in lederhosen act out (and dance) a short skit to a song played on an accordion. It’s usually pretty comical.
(I found a video of the glockenspiel from 2011, and I believe it to be the same act we watched. Check it out here.)
We wandered just a bit more, and I had a hankering for potato pancakes, so I caved and got them—with applesauce. I even ran into an old friend from my freshman year of college while I was in line.
We had a lovely time, but then again, I always feel so happy when I’m back in Milwaukee doing some of the things that marked my formative years.
What marks summer in your city?