8 things to know about this year's Bastille Days

With Bastille Days beginning Thursday, here is what you need to know in order to take full advantage of the festivities on Thursday, July 12:

Free slices of cake served for the first 1,000 attendees at Cathedral Square Park at noon, courtesy of Metro Market. This year's cake masterpiece will be inspired by the Parisian monument, the Arc de Triomphe.

Live music beginning at 11:45 a.m. with Sweet Sheiks on the Cathedral Square Stage, Ian & The Dream on the Gruber Law Offices -- "One Call...That's All" Stage and Derek Sallmann on the Door Peninsula Winery Stage. Paris' own GINKGOA will headline at 5:30 and 9:15 p.m. on the main stage.

Chef demonstrations turn up the heat beginning at noon with Kyle Cherek, host of "Wisconsin Foodie", Chef/Owner AJ Dixon of Lazy Susan at 12:50 p.m. and Executive Chef Bryce Knickelbein of Mi-Key's at 1:40 p.m. There will also be a WineMasters demo at 2:30 p.m. and BeerMasters demo at 3 p.m., followed by tastings led by Door Peninsula Distillery at 3:40 p.m. Catch all the demos and tastings at the Madison Medical Affiliates Beaux Arts Stage.

Mini French lessons by the Alliance Française de Milwaukee at the Door Peninsula Winery Stage at 12:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 5:20 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Mayor Tom Barrett unveiling Milwaukee Brewing Co.'s exclusive brew created just for Bastille Days at 5:30 p.m. at the Madison Medical Affiliates Beaux Arts Stage. The ceremonial tapping will offer an up-close look at the brew's firkin keg, plus free samples for of-age spectators.

Commemorating the historic storming of the Bastille prison by Parisians in the 18th century with the 34th annual Associated Bank Storm the Bastille. More than 5,000 runners and walkers will hit the streets of downtown at 9 p.m., beginning at the corner of Jefferson and Wells streets.

Minstrels, cancan dancers, jugglers and other roaming performers can be found throughout the grounds during the four-day celebration.

An international marketplace with nearly 90 vendors selling art, Provençal fabrics,    soaps, clothing, accessories and more.

The area’s best French, Cajun and American fare at nearly 30 on-site restaurants. 

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