Runners embarking on the Honky Tonk Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K won't need headphones to hear twangy country tunes. That’s because the hilly Wisconsin Dells course features live bands and DJs along the route to keep participants energized as they race toward the finish line. The party-like atmosphere doesn’t end with the race, as a full-blown celebration complete with food, beer, and line dancing awaits runners and their family and friends. Aside from age-group awards for the top three males and females in each race, finish-line gifts include a Honky Tonk cowboy hat and goodie bag for all participants, a finisher-medal buckle for marathoners and half marathoners, and an ice bath for those who decided to pogo stick the entire 26.2 miles. The Honky Tonk marathon and half-marathon course is USA Track & Field certified and is also a Boston Marathon qualifier.
Flashing lights and an orchestra of electronic beeps fill Blazzin Lazers' indoor arena, where warriors young and old plunge into battle against others who were friends mere minutes before. Amid a realistic military base and barrels oozing with faux-neon toxic waste, players flex their fingers around laser-gun triggers, dodge enemy blasts, and scan barcodes with superhuman speed as computerized vests keep track of scores. The laser-tag facility also hosts parties, offering packages for larger groups and a party room where groups can lower heart rates as they unwrap birthday presents and enjoy cake or food brought from home. Housed inside the space of a former haunted house, Blazzin Lazers also hosts haunted laser tage in October.
HauntFest packs two terrifying stories of adrenaline-fueled fun inside a heated house fraught with this year’s Hollywood-themed phantoms. With a VIP pass, visitors can forgo lines and waiting rooms, skipping straight ahead toward 20,000 square feet of bloodied zombies, ghoulish skeletons, and curious medical students. Although the actors adhere to a strict no-touch policy, the festival's motion-based attraction, The Last Ride, jostles bodies and spirits with a startling simulation of being buried alive. Monsters roam HauntFest’s grounds, and DJs spin live tunes to fend off fiends with the demon-destroying power of the treble clef.
Summerfest is the pride and joy of Milwaukee's music scene, attracting between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people a year with bands playing on 11 stages. The first day of the festival features a variety of general-admission shows, with the first Groupon listening opportunity kicking off at 4:15 p.m. with the Mechanical Kids on the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage. Headlining acts that begin at 8 p.m. include Tokyo Police Club and Colbie Caillat. At 10 p.m., the big hitters emerge from the bullpen with the sultry rhythms of Sheryl Crow, the smooth jamz of The Wailers, the electro-fun of Passion Pit, and more, creating a musical-chairs game of concert options. Check the Summerfest website to view the full music schedule for June 24 (please note that your general-admission ticket does not get you into the Tim McGraw performance in the Marcus Amphitheatre).
German Fest is a celebration of culture through food and drink, live entertainment, and all kinds of family fun and shenanigans. Use your voucher toward bratwurst, gulasch, dumplings, potato pancakes, pork chops, desserts, and more. To wash down these hearty helpings, head to the beer garden at the north end of the grounds. On the south end of the fest, there is a carnival with games and rides.
In 1977, a group of Milwaukee’s sailors responded to its city’s lack of a public sailing institution by banding together with county officials to create a not-for-profit organization accessible to everyone. The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center has continued to uphold this original vision of granting everyone—regardless of age, physical ability, or financial means—a chance to develop sailing skills while exploring Lake Michigan’s aqueous expanses. Since its founding, it has imparted its knowledge upon upwards of 100,000 student via hands-on classes and private lessons.
Throughout the summer’s balmy months, Milwaukee Community Sailing Center’s experienced and certified staff can be found reviewing boat safety with students during on-shore lessons or calling out instructions to their trainees from within a sailboat cruising around the lake. As winter’s frigid winds rage across the city, a host of off-season winter sessions enables skippers to keep their sea legs toned until spring returns. Bobbing cheerfully in the onsite marina, the center’s seaworthy fleet is comprised of more than 80 meticulously maintained vessels, including sturdy dinghies, cruisers, and saddled-up krakens. The center’s dedication to bringing the community together on the water is further evidenced in its outreach programs, including one designed to help Milwaukee’s at-risk youth turn a new leaf by helping them uncover hidden talents, develop leadership skills, and conquer their fears.