Milwaukee expects big crowds at summer festivals following Bucks NBA Championship win

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- VISIT Milwaukee estimates the Bucks NBA Finals' run brought over $36 million in economic impact. Along with that, it brought attention to the area and reminded people what's it like to live in the City of Festivals.

The Bucks NBA Championship parade left everyone involved in a state of euphoria.

"As much as we all suffered through the last year and a half, even for our guys with their equipment, doing their job and taking pride in it was kind of a like a coming out party for them," said Tom Poskocil, fleet operations manager for the Milwaukee Department of Public Works.

The Department of Public Works began forming a plan as soon as the Bucks won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Poskocil said the parade marked the biggest event has cleaned up in some time with the shortest time to plan. 

Like the rest of the city, DPW is looking ahead to the rest of the summer events.

"We can't wait until Summerfest gets started. I know that we've got the later start on it, but that's something that we plan for every year. Obviously last year kind of put the kibosh on it, but we're ready and we're waiting," Poskocil said.

On Friday, July 23, a spokesperson said Summerfest staff members were busy prepping the grounds for their first event, MKE Food Truck Fest, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 24.

Summerfest is also hosting the Foo Fighters at the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater a week from Friday. A spokesperson said it will the largest concert in the area in the last year and a half.

Summerfest 2021 will be held September 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18. 

"I think people are excited to get back to normal. Hopefully as more and more of us get vaccinated, people feel totally comfortable going out in the crowds getting to see live music again. I cannot tell you how many times people have said they've missed that the most," said Claire Koenig, communications director for the VISIT Milwaukee.

Koenig said she believes the Bucks championship win will make people want to visit the Deer District where history was made. And when they visit, they'll want to see all the area has to offer, such as the Wisconsin State Fair.

Chief Marketing Officer Jen Puente is counting down the days until the Wisconsin State Fair starts on August 5: just 13 days to go.

"We are expecting good crowds this year and a good amount of people to come out and participate. We have a lot of vendors coming back. We normally see about over 400 vendors come to the fair, and this year will be no different than that," Puente said.

The fair, which is scheduled for August 5 to 15, will open at 11:00 a.m. daily and will close each night except for Sundays at 11:00 p.m. On Sundays, the fair will close at 10:00 p.m.

The fair is in its final stages of planning.

"We're just getting ready, making sure that the fresh coats of paint are on, that the grounds look as clean as possible on Opening Day. The flowers are getting watered, signs are getting put up, and it's a really exciting time for all of us that plan all year for these 11 days," Puente said.

Vendors are getting set up and making sure they have enough staff.

"Most events we've worked (this summer) have been really good. Turnout's been good. Hope we get that here," said Larry Wynn with East Coast Concessions.

Koenig said she's expecting major media attention locally for the USA Triathlon and the Ryder Cup. She's also looking forward to events in the Deer District, like the Deer District Market, which starts next week.

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