Waukesha celebrates its 125th anniversary by 'unlocking' the city

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The city of Waukesha is celebrating its 125th anniversary Saturday and Sunday by "unlocking" the city to the community where more than 60 businesses and organizations have activities and behind the scene tours.

The event is about showcasing what the city offers through its businesses, properties and organizations. It's free to the public. People can pick up a brochure at Waukesha's city hall located on 201 Delafield St. or download a brochure of the different organizations participating to create your own itinerary.

"It means a lot to celebrate our history. We've been a city for 125 years. About two or three years ago, we decided we needed to really celebrate this. It's an opportunity for city residents and people to tour a whole bunch of different places that they probably have driven by many times and wondering what it looks like inside," said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly.

Waukesha is the seventh largest city in the state with a population of just over 72,000 people.

There's a variety of local spots to tour, including the Andrew Frame House, Carroll University, Waukesha Masonic Lodge, Aries Industries, Innio Waukesha Gas Engines and Waukesha's new city hall. There are also virtual tours being offered of a few businesses.

"We have a beautiful downtown, we have the river that runs right through the middle of the city. We have a lot of manufacturing that is very important to the city," said Reilly.

"Waukesha invited us to join in with the 'Unlocked' event and it coincided with the city's 125th and our 115th anniversary so we said, let's have a party. We brought out our engine that was used as backup power in the World Trade Center so it was there on 9/11," said Matt Walloch, the training center manager for Waukesha Engine.

There was also family-friendly activities at Waukesha Engine like pumpkin and face painting, bounce houses, food, a line up of classic cars and more. The guided tours of Waukesha Engine's Training Center was the big highlight.

"Inside we've got our engines that range from 18 liters to roughly 275 liters. Your average car is between two and five liters so they're really, really big engines to come and check out. Everything runs on natural gas," said Walloch.

Another site to tour was the nonprofit La Casa de Esperanza, which has been in the Waukesha community for 55 years.

"Our mission is to help people to be financially and socially self sufficient. Programs range from an early childhood education program and charter school, our center for financial stability and other services available to anyone who walks through our doors," said Shari Campbell, the interim president/ceo of La Casa de Esperanza.

The nonprofit focuses on serving the Hispanic community and showcased the rich art and culture of the building through tours and a special dance performance from the charter school.

"La casa is such a critical part of Waukesha and I am so happy to be able to open our doors and let people see what happens inside. We're so proud to be one of the largest nonprofit agencies in southeastern Wisconsin and we serve nearly 20,000 people each year," said Campbell.

As part of this weekend event, there are also free bus rides through the Waukesha metro bus Saturday and Sunday. There's also free parking at the Transit Center on 212 E. Saint Paul Ave. Site locations are marked with the bus route to allow for easy visiting of all locations.

If you missed the 'Unlocked' event today, it will also be happening tomorrow, (Sunday Oct. 10) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More details on the event can be found here.

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