Bastille Days Festival returns; Milwaukee touts the largest Bastille festival in North America

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee is home to the largest Bastille street festival in North America, as 250,000 people are expected to visit Cathedral Square downtown this weekend. The four-day festival kicked off Thursday, July 14 with dozens of French and Cajun food options, plus three stages filled with performances. 

"The idea of having a free street festival in downtown Milwaukee is a very French thing." said Anne LaPleau, the executive director of Alliance Française de Milwaukee. "But July 14th is the equivalent of Fourth of July in France,  and there's always music in the street, people dancing in the street and food." 

Places like Cream and Crepes Cafe, from Cedarburg, have been at the festival every single year. They're gearing up to sell around 6,000 crepes over the next four days. 

Lake Park Bistro is once again selling the popular Croque-Monsier. They're prepared to serve about 3,000 of them. 

There will also be tons of street performances and artists on the green entertaining people. 

There are also unique vendors that you can only find at Bastille Days, like the French Bulldog kissing booth. 

"Everyone who stops by we charge a dollar for a kiss," said Dawn Reitz-Austin, with the French Bulldog Rescue Fundraising Alliance of Milwaukee. "We have various Frenchies that take turns in the kissing booth and then all of the proceeds are divided up amongst about 5 different groups that we work with." 


The festival goes until 11:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and it runs until 8 p.m. on Sunday before it wraps up for the 2022 season. 

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