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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Milwaukee celebrates French culture at Bastille Days

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One of the nation's largest French-themed festivals takes over Cathedral Square Park for 4 days every July. Bastille Days started 33 years ago when a Pfister Hotel employee brought the food, music and culture of France to a one block area of Jefferson street, between Wells and Mason Streets in Milwaukee's East Town.

 

Over three decades later, this free street festival covers 7 blocks, welcoming over 250,000 visitors downtown each summer. "I think for the most part businesses love it," says Kim Morris, Executive Director of East Town Association. "The hotels are full, the restaurants and bars get the overflow and they love the exposure of having people down here.

 

One Milwaukee performer has been a part of the French culture at Bastille days for 20 years. "I lived in France when I was 16 and that started my love affair with all things French," says musician and singer Robin Pluer. "I learned a whole French repertoire and they've invited me back every year." Pluer also attributes the festivals success to the location at Cathedral Square Park.
"The old square feels so old-fashioned with the church. Then you add the wine, food, the music...the whole French flavor," Pluer smiles. What's not to love?

 

Don't forget everyone's favorite meet-up place at Bastille Days, the replica of the Eifel Tower!

 

Listen to the story above to hear more from Robin Pluer and learn some fun facts about the origin of the tower.