10-Day Festival Slated for Holiday Debut

Winter Fest logoMILWAUKEE, WI, Aug. 10, 2011 – Ice skating, snow globes and Holiday carolers may seem to be months and miles away, but that hasn’t stopped civic leaders and community organizations from extending Milwaukee’s reputation as the City of Festivals.

Plans were announced today for Milwaukee’s Winter Fest, a 10-day festival at the Delta Center, to be held Dec. 21-31, 2011. The event will feature a broad variety of games, rides and indoor activities revolving around winter and the Holiday season.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined event organizers from the Wisconsin Center District, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Visit Milwaukee to provide details on the event’s attractions and community appeal. In addition, several Winter Fest sponsors were on hand to celebrate the news.

Mayor Barrett said, “We’re a community of festivals and family activity. This event adds to that flavor. It’s a welcome continuation of Holiday schedules.”

Dick Geyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wisconsin Center District, hosts for Winter Fest, said the event would be characterized by three key ingredients.

“First, it is primarily a family festival, providing special opportunities for families to enjoy the Holiday season.  There will be events, contests and activities for everyone.

“Second, major events, activities and attractions will be scheduled throughout the course of the day. Select evenings will be devoted to concerts, movies and a New Year’s Eve celebration.

“And third, while everything will revolve around winter, Winter Fest will occur indoors, including events normally reserved for the outdoors,” Geyer said.

Centerpiece for the festival will be the Winter Wonderland rink, a spacious indoor synthetic ice rink that will be open for public skating throughout the course of Winter Fest.  “We’ve taken the ice out of ice skating and created a rink with the fascinations of winter without the frustrations of the cold,” Geyer explained.

Winter Fest will also feature a Snowy Mountain movie theatre where Holiday classic films, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and others will be shown.

As with all Milwaukee festivals, music will play a central role with daytime entertainment on the Adirondack Mountain Stage including holiday choirs, ethnic dance groups and performances featuring magicians and comedians.

Evening performances will feature Strummerfest, a Mission River Band Concert on Dec. 22, benefiting Guitars for Vets, and a Winter Jam Concert with Night Storm on Dec. 29. At Strummerfest, 1001 guitar players will belt out a Bob Dylan tune in an attempt to break the American World Record.

“We want guitar players to unite, perform and become a part of history,” said Frank Gimbel, Chairman of the Wisconsin Center District.  He added another world record attempt will occur on Dec. 21st,  the Read It To Beat It Guinness World Record attempt, when as many as 6,000 school-aged children will gather to break a reading record, the most children reading together led by an adult.

Winter Fest will conclude with a bang featuring Radio Disney’s Family Fun program beginning at 7:15 p.m. and concluding at 12:15 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.

“We’re putting together a program with events and activities to make the Holiday season memorable and to get 2012 off to a rousing start. The entire festival is designed to make Milwaukee a place to come to, enjoy and remember.  We look forward to making it part of families’ Holiday traditions,” Gimbel said.

Dave Fantle, Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, expressed appreciation for the new festival.  “The new Winter Fest will be a draw for families and travelers throughout the Midwest. Not only will this event be fun for our community and tourists, but it will be good for the local economy,” he said.

Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, added, "Milwaukee’s spectacular line-up of family-friendly festivals welcomes Winterfest to its ranks. An annual winter festival will make Milwaukee a destination for family fun over the holiday season and also tie in to the wonderland of Holiday Lights displays in downtown parks."

Jean Lynch, Director of Procurement, Professional Events & Consulting, coordinators of the event, said that local corporations and organizations, including the United Way, Brewers Community Foundation, Frontier Airlines, Brady Corporation, and professional spots teams have committed to serve as Winter Fest sponsors.

Other sponsors are being recruited. Details on sponsorships can be obtained by visiting or calling 414-376-6518.

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Box Office Information:
Milwaukee Theatre
500 W. Kilbourn Ave.
UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
400 W. Kilbourn Ave.