Streetcar service begins in Milwaukee, special events for The Hop's first weekend

NOW: Streetcar service begins in Milwaukee, special events for The Hop’s first weekend

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee's streetcar "The Hop" is officially open for business. 

The public got their first rides Friday afternoon after a big celebration and ribbon cutting with city leaders. 

The theme of the event was a new beginning for the city of Milwaukee. 

Dozens of people turned out to check out the festivities. There was music, prizes, and of course the ribbon cutting which was a ribbon of hops. 

Local leaders say The HOp is a game changer for Milwaukee and puts the city on the map when it comes to transportation and tourism in downtown. 

Mayor Barrett says the future looks bright. 

"The purpose of this is to bring people together and bring places together. It's to create a community to make a place where we can all be proud to raise our kids and our grandkids. It's about the future. It's about saying we believe in this city. We're fighting back and we're going to invest in our city, our home," Mayor Barrett said Friday. 

Not everyone at The Hop celebration was excited about the launch. 

A group in Milwaukee called G.R.A.S.P. has opposed the streetcar plan since its inception. The group's founder says he's concerned that the launch was just the beginning. 

"Run it to Bronzeville, run it to Walker's Point, run it here, run it there, dig up more streets, cause more chaos. We're just opposed to it. There's so many reasons," says Tom Boese. 

There are events going on all weekend long to celebrate the launch of The Hop. 

Here are the special events that will be taking place:

Friday, Nov. 2
(Streetcar service from approximately 1 p.m. to midnight)

11:00 a.m. Celebration begins in Cathedral Square Park. There will be music by DJ Kima Hamilton of
88Nine Radio Milwaukee, free soft pretzels, cookies, coffee and cider, and The Hop tent will be
open distributing route maps and free Hop buttons. Limited edition Hop T-shirts will be available
for purchase.

12:00 p.m. Program begins on the stage at the north end of the park with a performance by the Golda Meir School drum line. Scheduled speakers include Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 CEO Beth Weirick, Mayor Tom Barrett, U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Alderman Bob Bauman, FTA Region 5 Administrator Kelley Brookins, Transdev Global CEO Thierry Mallet and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino CEO & General Manager Rodney Ferguson.

12:45 p.m. “Ribbon”-cutting ceremony on Kilbourn Ave. behind the stage. Media is invited to shoot from on the stage or from the sidewalk on the south side of Kilbourn as a group of dignitaries and key contributors to the streetcar project commemorate the start of service by cutting a garland of actual hops.

1:00 p.m. Passenger service begins! Ribbon cutting ceremony participants will be boarding the eastbound vehicle at the Cathedral Square platform, while the public will be invited to board the westbound vehicle via the entrance to the platform at Kilbourn and Jefferson.

1-2 p.m. Entertainment will continue in the park until 2 p.m., including music from DJ Kima Hamilton, free food (while supplies last), and T-shirt sales at The Hop tent.

Saturday, Nov. 3
(Streetcar service 7 a.m. to midnight)

All Day The Hop, Shop & Win Contest, presented by Kiewit and Mass. Electric with support from Milwaukee Downtown, is officially underway. From Nov. 3-24, anyone who patronizes a downtown business on or near the route is invited to upload a copy of their receipt to to be entered in a drawing for great cash prizes.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. The Hop tent will be open in Cathedral Square. Riders can stop by to pick up route maps, free buttons, or purchase T-shirts.

12-2 p.m. The Milwaukee In Motion Sustainable Transportation Fair will take place in Burns Commons at the north end of the streetcar route. Organizations working to keep Milwaukee moving toward a greener future will be on hand to share information, while 88Nine Radio
Milwaukee’s Dori Zori will provide some music and Colectivo will be handing out free coffee samples.

Sunday, Nov. 4
(Streetcar service 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Hop tent will be open in Cathedral Square. Riders can stop by to pick up route maps, free
buttons, or purchase T-shirts.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. It’s Kids & Families Day along the route, with fun activities at many of the streetcar stations.

Burns Commons

Milwaukee Fire Department: Meet the men and women of the Milwaukee Fire Department; experience the Survive Alive House, view firefighting equipment; meet the mascot Sparky; sign up to have a smoke detector installed in your home (City of Milwaukee residents only); and more.

Visit Milwaukee/Mandel Group: Find the “Me in MKE” statue, take a photo and share how you do Milwaukee.

Be sure to tag #MeInMKE!

Milwaukee Jewish Museum: Free admission from noon to 4 p.m. to this museum which is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture.

Jackson at Juneau Southbound at Juneau Village Towers

Artists Working in Education Truck Studio: Drop by for art-based enrichment activities for youth ages 4 – 14.

Jackson at Juneau Northbound

Metro Market: Free popcorn samples from Metro Market’s Cream City Confections, while supplies last.

Cathedral Square

Milwaukee Downtown: Play giant and regular-sized versions of your favorite board games such as Connect 4, lawn Yahtzee, corn hole, Chess, Clue, Jenga and many more at the Downtown GO! Kart.

The Hop Tent: Visit The Hop tent for free tote bags (kids only) and streetcar stickers (while supplies last).

City Hall Southbound

MSOE’s Grohmann Museum: Free admission from 1-4 p.m. to this home of the world’s most comprehensive art collection, dedicated to the evolution of human work. (Museum is one block north on Broadway and State)

City Hall Northbound The staff of OnMilwaukee, an online lifestyle and entertainment magazine and digital media company, will provide free temporary tattoos that celebrate numerous Milwaukee icons.

Historic Third Ward/Public Market
Hop off at the Milwaukee Public Market to find a face painter and meet mascots from the Milwaukee Bucks
(10:30-11 a.m.), Milwaukee Brewers (12:15-1:15 p.m.) and Milwaukee Admirals (1-1:45 p.m.).

St. Paul at Plankinton (In the park at 2nd and St. Paul)

Milwaukee Police Department: Visit the members of the Milwaukee Police Department, including the horse patrol. Enjoy free ice cream treats courtesy of Pick ‘n Save and Kemps and other giveaways (while supplies last).

For more information about The Hop, please click here. 

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