Summerfest prepares for 2018 season with new North Gate, community plaza

There are less than two weeks until Summerfest, and if you go in the north gate you'll see some big changes. 

The north gate has a larger box office and longer gate. Don't forget the huge community plaza with interactive musical stations. Before heading into the grounds visitors can bang on chimes, xylophones and the huge drum organ sculpture.

Marty Peck helped create the drum organ sculpture and says the idea behind the musical plaza is simple.

"When you hit a button and it's a full interactive experience," said Peck.  "I'm trying to bring people in to make music. Even if it's not harmonious music- it's just fun music." 

American Family Insurance CEO Jack Salzwedel announced the creation of the Summerfest "Let The Music Play" Grant Program. This program awards $2,500 grant and performance opportunities to six Milwaukee County non-profit organizations that support student participation in music. 

"I am assured that [the grant money] will be very easy and available for kids all throughout Milwaukee County and beyond," says Salzwedel. 

La Toya Sykes is proud of the hard work Summerfest and American Family Insurance are putting into the community. Sykes runs the nonprofit Our Next Generation which helps children through academic and enrichment programs. She says that grant is on her list. 

"This is gonna be an amazing opportunity for [my kids] to get more exposure, to really get to learn what music is gonna be all about," says Sykes. 

The north gate's construction was part of the Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. partnership with American Family Insurance. The plan to connect Henry Maier Festival Park to the new Lakefront Gateway Project and downtown Milwaukee is a success. 

For more information about the "Let The Music Play" Program click here.

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