Believe it or not, Bastille Day is all the rage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the largest French-themed festival in North America takes place every summer with about 250,000 in attendance.
From July 11 to July 14, anyone in the alentours can enjoy the free entry to the festivities, which include live music, wine tastings, the Storm the Bastille 5k, Friday Mardi Gras parades, and street performers. Join the fun in Cathedral Square Park, located in downtown Milwaukee, where a 43-foot-tall Eiffel Tower replica will preside with hourly light shows.
As you enjoy the summer day, there will also be plenty to snack on. Fried boudin, classic French fries, éclaires, croques monsieurs, warm brie, escargots, crêpes, shwarma, and more will be available to purchase at the 25 restaurant stands. You can also peruse numerous vendors who will be selling quintessential French products, like Provençal fabrics, soaps, and art.
If you feel like exploring your sommelier side, head to the northeast corner of the park where a tent will be set up throughout the weekend (Friday-Sunday). This year, the East Side Association is upping their game with the addition of champagne tasting on Sunday at 1 p.m. If you can’t make this bubbly addition, don’t worry — the wine tastings are on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Plan your outing in advance, since tickets are $30 ahead of time instead of $40 on-site at Bastille Days. If you would like to attend more than one tasting, you will need a different ticket for each as there is a 76-person limit per seating.
The East Town Association is also partnering with Lyft this year to get you to the festival without hassle. Lyft drivers will have exclusive access to pick-up and drop-off locations to get you to the festivities swiftly and without the pain of parking. The East Town Association asks pet owners to only bring well-behaved dogs on short leashes to the event if necessary, otherwise pets may not attend.