MILWAUKEE — The largest French festival in the country is back for its 38th year, and we've complied eight things to know before Bastille Days starts Thursday.
1) Need a Ride?
This is the first year you can take The Hop to Bastille Days. The streetcar will feature performances at the Third Ward platform and on "Le Hop" to get riders feeling festive. The M-Line stops directly in front of Milwaukee's replica of the Eiffel Tower and will be running an additional streetcar on the line to get people to and from the festivities. The ride is free thanks to Potawatomi Bingo & Casino.
Over 20 food vendors will line the Square offering French delicacies like escargot, beignets and croque monsieurs. A little too adventurous? Saz's Sampler Combo platters, cheese curds and other delicious Milwaukee fare will be available for the expected 200,000 visitors this weekend.
3) Storming of the Bastille
Thursday night, it's estimated that over 5,000 runners and walkers will re-enact the 'Storming of the Bastille' and run the streets of Milwaukee. This is in memory of the 18th century attack on the Bastille prison in Paris. The 5k-run and 2-mile walk will begin on Jefferson & Wells. Day-of registration is $30.00 and available at the Deloitte Booth near the race's starting line.
4) Mardi Gras Parades
Mardi Gras returns this year with elaborate parades starting at 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. on Friday night.
5) Wine Tasting
Is there anything more Parisian than a wine tasting? We think not. There are four opportunities to train your taste buds on wines from the world with a certified wine specialist. A ticket includes 8 tastings and a light appetizer.
6) Want to Learn Some French?
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.
7) Need to Withdraw Money?
There are ATMs at every major bar at Bastille Days, if you're low on cash. No, the Euro is not accepted in this pop-up Paris.
Four stages around Cathedral Square will feature performances for all ages ranging from can-can dancing, food and wine demonstrations, and live music.