Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Summerfest reveals new food, drink and merch for its 55th

 Two women extend plastic cups filled with a pink-colored beverage toward the camera while standing in the middle of a large festival grounds.
Summerfest / Facebook

With the music lineup handled (mostly … healing thoughts to Jimmy Buffett), Summerfest’s ramp-up to its 55th anniversary celebration continued this week with the announcement of the second-most important thing at the festival: food!

Organizers also unveiled some merch featuring those double nickels, but let’s start with the stuff you can put in your face. For starters, we’ll have two new bar areas at Henry Maier Festival Park this year that show some real thoughtfulness when it comes to addressing beverage-enjoyers of all types, as well as brand sponsorships.

The first is called Keg & Cask, which you’ll find on the south end of the park right inside the gate. If you’re in the mood for a beer, there will be 12 on tap from Terrapin, Hop Valley and Leinenkugel’s — including an exclusive Summerfest 55th anniversary beer that will be available in limited supply at Keg & Cask and three other spots around the grounds.

If suds aren’t your thing, you can also pick up a cocktail. The announcement highlighted a Five Trail Whiskey Sweet & Sour and a Barmen Bourbon Rickey, both of which sound perfectly serviceable on a hot summer day.

The second sipping spot is definitely more of an all-ages affair: the Starry Bar, named after Pepsi’s next iteration of lemon-lime soda (pour one out for Sierra Mist). This “experience,” as it’s called on the official festival map, will be just a little north of Keg & Cask on the lakefront and feature a selection of cocktails and mocktails. It will also have a 360-degree content studio, no doubt for social sharing and whatnot.

The beverage news doesn’t stop there, though. The announcement also listed five new drinks you’ll be able to enjoy during the festival, including a Seedlip Prickly Pear Watermelon Mocktail and Seedlip Passion Grapefruit Mocktail, Central Standard Lemon Honey Bourbon Smash, Leinenkugel’s Juicy Peach, and Topo Chico Spirited Tequila Grapefruit.

On the food front, we have five new vendors waiting to help you soak up those cocktails and mocktails — Chubby’s Wings, Ian’s Pizza, Johnsonville Summerville, Mac-A-Do’s, and Nashville North. Those vendors and several others have a few fresh options for you to try this year, including:

  • Cedar Crest Ice Cream — ice cream flight
  • Charcoal Grill and Rotisserie — Oostburger
  • Cousins Subs — Cheetos Flamin’ Hot cheesesteak, cherry-lime shake
  • El Hefe Mexican Grill — walking nachos
  • Ian’s Pizza — various pizza slices (mac & cheese, Smokey the Bandit, cheese and pepperoni) and three-pack breadsticks with ranch dipping sauce
  • Johnsonville Summerville — Johnsonville Sausage Sampler, Summerville Nachos, Summerville Bratwurst
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria — Malnati Salad, Chocolate Obsession
  • Mac-A-Do’s — Swine Mac
  • Nashville North — Nashville hot chicken sandwich
  • Saz’s — italian beef and giardiniera stuffed bites, “Stephanie” fried chicken sandwich
  • Ultimate Confections — frozen chocolate-covered cheesecake (plain, chocolate, turtle or peanut butter dream

But what happens when some of that deliciousness falls on your carefully selected outfit? For that reason — and for commerce-based trips down memory lane — there’s a new line of 55th anniversary merchandise you can purchase at the three Summerfest Store locations during the festival, as well as right now online. We’re talking tees, tanks, bags, body belts, cups, caps and plenty more.

You can find all of the merch, as well as information about all the food-and-drink options at this year’s festival, on the Summerfest website.