(Photographs by Mike Miller Images)
The 37th annual Bastille Days returns to Cathedral Square Park July 12 – 15 with free
entertainment all weekend long. Featuring live art, an international marketplace, wine and beer tastings, chef demonstrations and captivating street performers, as well as nonstop musical entertainment on all four festival stages, fest-goers can anticipate a robust lineup of sights and attractions at the four-day French affair.
Associated Bank Storm the Bastille on Thursday
Free slices of decadent French-themed cake will be available on opening day for the first 1,000 guests to march into Bastille Days at noon on Thursday, July 12, courtesy of Metro Market. Following the sweet satiation, fest-goers can enjoy Thursday’s musical menagerie, which includes: the Sweet Sheiks and electro-swing tunes from Ginkgoa; the
Carnival of Curiosity & Chaos, displaying daring tricks and acrobatics on the Cathedral Square Stage; and the captivating vocals of Robin Pluer on the Beaux Art Stage.
Kicking off the evening’s activities, Milwaukee Brewing Company and Bastille Days sponsor Beechwood Distributors will unveil a new brew with a nod to French-infused ingredients at 5:30 p.m. on the Madison Medical Affiliates Beaux Arts Stage. Following the beer tasting, the 34th annual Associated Bank Storm the Bastille 5K run/walk will
commence at 9 p.m. This reenactment of the revolutionary storming of the Bastille prison by Parisians in the 18th century will take nearly 5,000 runners and walkers through the streets of downtown Milwaukee and the Historic Third Ward. Registration is $20 in advance at http://www.bastilledaysfestival.com, or $25 day of.
Worldly Lineup of Diverse Musical Performances
Get a taste of tunes from around the globe with a vast variety of live performances on the festival’s stages, including: zydeco beats and New Orleans-infused jazz music from Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers and Sweet Crude on the Cathedral Square Stage; Milwaukee Hot Club; Extra Crispy Brass Band; Charles Walker Band; Boo
Bradley; the 5 Card Studs; the Whiskeybelles; Mississippi Cactus; Well Known Strangers; the Hungry Williams; Hot & Dirty Brass Band and much more, fest-goers will be immersed in a mix of worldly tunes.
10th Annual Kids Day on Saturday
Free, family-friendly activities will be offered during Bastille Days’ 10th annual Kids Day on Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highlights include a variety of hands-on activities, including ballet stretching and posing, mini French lessons courtesy of the Alliance Française de Milwaukee, magic tricks, a caricature artist, arts and crafts and more.
Plus, a French-inspired breakfast will be available in the morning for just $5.
Bastille Days will serve up daily chef, beer and wine demonstrations as area brewers, chefs and sommeliers share French and Cajun themed dishes and drinks on the Madison Medical Affiliates Beaux Arts Stage. Plus, sip and sample spirits from around the globe with ticketed wine tastings, taking place on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8:30
Spills and Thrills at the Waiter/Waitress Race on Sunday
Kicking-off the final-fest day, Robin Pluer will grace the Cathedral Square Stage at 1:30 p.m. with captivating classic vocals. Cheer for local bars and restaurants as their top servers and bartenders go head-to-head, navigating an elaborate obstacle course while balancing full wine glasses during the annual Waiter/Waitress Race, beginning at 3
p.m. on Sunday, July 15. Following the competitive spectacle, fest-goers can round out their fun-filled weekend with high-energy tunes by Alma Afrobeat Ensemble ft. Marga Mbande on the Cathedral Square Stage.
French Fare and Other Activities
With nearly 100 merchant booths and over 25 restaurant vendors, Bastille Days will offer an international ambiance bursting with flavor, variety and one-of-a-kind finds. French favorites include beignets handcrafted by members of the Alliance Française de Milwaukee, crêpes galore, international wines and beers, and gifts such as Provençal
fabrics, soaps, jewelry and artwork. Additional must-see sights include the Tamarind Tribal Belly Dancers on the Madison Medical Affiliates Beaux Arts Stage, Madame Gigi’s Outrageous French CanCan dancers and roaming busker entertainment around every corner. Don’t forget to snap a selfie in front of the fest landmark, a 43 ft. Eiffel Tower
Bastille Days is sponsored by Madison Medical Affiliates, Bud Light, Associated Bank, Door Peninsula Winery, Saz’s Hospitality Group, Gruber Law Offices—“One Call…That’s All” and Pepsi.