The City of Festivals is making a comeback with record-breaking numbers

NOW: The City of Festivals is making a comeback with record-breaking numbers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Polish Fest continues this weekend at Milwaukee's Henry Maier Festival Park, one of many summer festivals returning after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

Despite high COVID transmission numbers in Milwaukee, most restrictions are lifted for festivals this summer.

The festival grounds on Saturday, June 11 showed a stark difference from the last two years, filled with people who were just happy to be able to have these gatherings again, and that joy is shown in the numbers.

It's safe to say the "City of Festivals" seems to be making a comeback.

"This is what Milwaukee's about, right? We have a great lakefront, we have a great festival grounds, I mean this is it," said Polish Fest attendee, Kaela Zielinski.

The comeback was clearly seen at last weekend's PrideFest with record-breaking numbers.

Organizers tell CBS 58 they saw 38,731 attendees over three days, more than a thousand more attendees than years prior.

On the same grounds this weekend, there is also a good outlook for Polish Fest.

"We had very nice attendance numbers Friday and Saturday," said Executive Director, Jeff Kuderski, "We're probably looking at 18,000 right now, for two days that's pretty good."

The director of Polish Fest says seeing everyone back together is a great feeling.

"The best part was, you look at the gates and people were lined up to get in, and they're ready to party," Kuderski said.

This summer, most COVID restrictions have lifted, and fest-goers are getting back to normal.

"I feel comfortable. I was very cautious about the coronavirus, and now I feel vaccinated and boosted, I feel good," Zielinski said, "It feels like everything's alive again, right. It's nice to see people you haven't seen in two years. It's nice to give hugs again."

The recent excitement is just a preview of what's expected for this year's Summerfest on the same grounds in less than two weeks.

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