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How can you get in free to Summerfest this year?


I’d be willing to bet there are Summerfest regulars out there who have never paid for admission. That abundant ability to get in free is one of the facets of the event that separates it from pretty much every giant music festival in existence, and today it revealed the daily promotions (plus a couple more) that’ll get you in the gate at no cost.

“We encourage all of our fans to participate by taking part in any or all of the 14 free admission promotions during the nine days of Summerfest,” Milwaukee World Festival CEO Don Smiley said. “As we celebrate our 55th anniversary, it’s an honor for us to continue to fulfill our mission of bringing the community together, while keeping Summerfest affordable and accessible for everyone.”

In a release, the festival said it’s offering “more ways than ever to get in free,” with the added bonus of giving back to the community as well. That win-win approach starts right away on day one.

Thursday, June 22

Johnson Controls Stomp Out Hunger Day with FOX6 Milwaukee. Supposed Hunger Task Force by showing up at any gate between noon and 3 p.m. with a minimum of three non-perishable cans of healthy fruits or vegetables (or any three non-perishable food items) to get a free admission ticket valid that day only.

Friday, June 23

Shorewest Realtors Children’s Fest Day with TMJ4 and 99.1 the Mix. This one is even more straightforward. Just arrive between noon and 3 p.m., and you’re in. The day will also include a few family-friendly touches, including a Map of Fun from Shorewest Realtors and food-and-beverage discounts from select vendors.

Saturday, June 24

Briggs & Stratton Mary Lou’s Closet Supply Drive. The first 1,500 people who arrive between noon and 3 p.m. with a donation of NEW deodorant, socks and/or menstrual hygiene products (minimum value of $10, and deodorant is a particularly big need) will receive a free admission ticket valid that day. All donated products benefit United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and community schools

Thursday, June 29

Throwback Thursday presented by Pick ’N Save. It’s the annual day where Summerfest magically rolls back decades of inflation and offers $5 admission and 50% off beverages. Yes, technically not “free,” but still a pretty great deal. Those discounts are available from noon to 6 p.m., and the half-off beverages offer doesn’t include frozen drinks, specialty coffee drinks or smoothies.

Friday, June 30

Show Your College Pride Day with OnMilwaukee and CW18/MY24. Between noon and 3 p.m., stop by the Mid Gate Promotions Booth wearing gear from one of the participating colleges or universities, or present your High School ID, and you’ll get one free admission ticket. Here are the higher-learning institutions included: Carroll University, Herzing University, Marquette University, Milwaukee Area Technical College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Saturday, July 1

Summerfest Military and First Responder Appreciation Day with Generac. All active-duty military personnel and veterans, police, fire and EMT (along with up to four family members) who arrive between noon and 6 p.m., and present a valid Military ID, copy or photo of a DD-214 form, driver’s license with Veteran classification, or law enforcement or fire department agency-issued credentials at the designated turnstile at any gate will be admitted for free. Police and fire union cards will also be accepted with a photo ID.

Northwestern Mutual Make a Child Smile Day. Bring your new or gently used children’s books ($10 minimum value) to the Mid Gate Promotions Booth, and you’ll receive a free admission ticket. Picture books and early readers meant for kids between birth and 10 years old are preferred, and all donations will go to Next Door.

Thursday, July 6

Direct Supply Seniorfest Day. Show your ID at the designated turnstile at any gate between noon and 4 p.m., and if the math shows you’re aged 60 or over, you get free admission plus a $2 voucher to use toward any food or non-alcoholic beverage purchase over $10. Direct Supply will also have a special area featuring 30 senior-focused vendors, and all wheelchairs will be free of charge to seniors between noon and 4 p.m.

Silgan Community Food Drive. It’s another benefit for Hunter Task Force, which will receive donations from the first 2,000 patrons who come to the Mid Gate Promotions Booth between noon and 3 p.m. with three non-perishable food items (canned fruits and vegetables especially appreciated).

Friday, July 7

It’s Free with Fritos. With an assist from the snack purveyor, everyone arriving between noon and 6 p.m. gets in free — simple as that. And if you’re one of the 1,000 people through the Mid Gate, you get a free Fritos/Summerfest co-branded bad.

Saturday, July 8

Summerfest Fan Appreciation Day presented by Potawatomi Casino and Hotel. Another super-easy one: Just show up between noon and 3 p.m., and you’re in for free. If you’re one of the first 30,000 people, you also get a free ticket for Summerfest 2024 and a BIG WIN entry ticket you can drop into a bin at the Summerfest Mid Gate for a chance to win … big.

Other promotions

  • All high school students who start their Free Application for Federal Student Aid by July 6 will receive a free general admission ticket courtesy of Milwaukee Education Partnership.
  • A few weeks back, Summerfest announced a free-ticket offer via its official app. It was only for the first 15,000 people, so you can download the app and see if there are still tickets available (good June 22-24 between noon and 4 p.m.).
  • Buy $25 of participating items in a single transaction with your Fresh Perks Card at any Pick ’N Save or Metro Market from May 24 to June 13 to receive two free general admission tickets. Visit the Pick ’N Save or Metro Market websites for details and qualifying products.
  • Anyone who donates blood at a Versiti Blood Center location in Wisconsin or Illinois between May 25 and June 15 will receive a free general admission ticket while supplies last.