MILWAUKEE — It's no secret that Summerfest is not only about music. From street performers, to parades, to food, the annual summer rite of passage is a party for people from all over.
"Summerfest is a gathering place for all of Milwaukee to come. There's something for everyone in terms of music, in terms of food, but we make a $186 million economic impact every year," said Sarah Smith Pancheri, vice president of sales and marketing for World Festival Inc.
Thanks to a host of promotions, the big party by the lake is also a boost for local charities. They include Goodwill, Next Door and the Hunger Task Force.
"We think about Summerfest's impact. Since 2008, over 100,000 people have given to support Hunger Task Force. That's really extraordinary!" said Pancheri.
This year, Milwaukee World Festival Inc. will have doled out more than $1.2 million in free tickets as a way to give back to the community.
"That's really part of our legacy when you think about the national festivals all over the world, you can't go anywhere and get in for 23 dollars."
"Summerfest is a gathering place for all of Milwaukee to come. There's something for everyone in terms of music, in terms of food, but we make a $186 million economic impact every year." — Sarah Smith Pancheri
So whether it's enjoying a ride in the sky glider, a summer game or bonding with your kids, Summerfest is more than a party. The iconic bash defines Milwaukee and offers an investment long after the Summerfest gates have closed.
"If we can be part of 11 days of joy and happiness and collectively bringing people together to celebrate Milwaukee and community, we're happy to do so. We love it!" Pancheri said.