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Center Street Daze guide: carts, cycles, shopping and more

Festival-goers walk the
Center Street Daze / Facebook
Festival-goers walk the thoroughfare at Center Street Daze in 2019.

The city’s foremost festival for homemade-vehicle enthusiasts and music fans alike is back! This Saturday, Aug. 12, Center Street Daze Festival returns to its Riverwest stomping grounds for another year of carefully crafted conveyances, live entertainment, food, drinks, shopping and more.

The very first thing to know is if you happen to live in the neighborhood and have a vehicle, you need to make sure it’s not parked on East Center Street between Humboldt and Holton. If it’s there Saturday morning, the tow trucks making the rounds starting at 7 a.m. will move it for you, and probably not to a place you’d enjoy.

With that out of the way, we can move on to the fact that this year’s festival will take place at the location mentioned above starting at 11 a.m. and wrapping up at 7 p.m. The Art Cart Race will once again get the day started in a raucously creative fashion as participants propel their handcrafted vehicles and fans cheer them to victory or at least the end of the course without their cart falling apart. The first competitors get rolling at noon at the corner of Center and Bremen streets.

Three men push a homemade cart with a cardboard lizard at the wheel as onlookers and colorful tents line the street on either side.
Center Street Daze / Facebook
A Bowser (or King Koopa, if you prefer) themed cart races at Center Street Daze.

A few hours later is the Boonie Bike Shakedown featuring mini-cycles piloted by fearless individuals, who — as organizers made sure to emphasize — must wear helmets and eye protection. NO EXCEPTIONS. The pits open at 2 p.m., and practice starts at 3 p.m., followed by the event itself.

Racing fans won’t be the only thing lining the streets. The festival has 100+ vendors on board to peddle their products, food, beverages and more. Neighborhood businesses are sure to be among their ranks, and many along Center Street will also open their doors to fest-goers.

On the entertainment front, six locations will feature music throughout the day, including High Dive MKE, which had the good sense to book 88Nine’s Marcus Doucette for an extended DJ set from 1 to 6 p.m. Riverwest Radio will also set up in front of the station at 824 E. Center St. so you can learn more about its operation and chat with show hosts.

The entire music lineup is below, and more information is available at the Center Street Daze Festival website.

A woman plays a violin alongside a woman playing a cello as they perform on stage with a brick building and three windows behind them.
Center Street Daze / Facebook
SistaStrings performing outside Company Brewing at Center Street Daze in 2019.


  • 1 p.m. – Stas Venglevski and Jon Proniewski
  • 2:30 p.m. – The Wilson Family Band
  • 4 p.m. –  The Cream City Players
  • 5:30 p.m. –  The Johnson Bros Band formerly The Longnecks

Jazz Gallery

  • 1 p.m. – Loosely Organized – From the Jazz Gallery’s own Improvisation Workshop including Rick Ollman, Rosalie Robison, Eli Smith, Elise McArdle, and Nicolas Verbos
  • 3 p.m. – Toty Ramos Latin Jazz Sextet including Dave Bayles: Drums, Tony Ayala: Percussion, Russ Johnson: Trumpet, Geoff Branfield: Saxophone, John Wheeler: Bass, and Toty Ramos: Guitar
  • 5 p.m. – KASE with Tiffany Miller including Jamie Breiwick: Trumpet, John Christensen: Upright Bass, Jordan Lee: Turntables + Electronics and Tiffany Miller: Poetry

Company Brewing

  • 2 p.m. – Dead Dead Swan
  • 3 p.m. – SSAAN
  • 4 p.m. – BLAX
  • 5 p.m. – Wolves of West Virginia
  • 6 p.m. – Micah Emrich

Quarter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Palace

  • 1 p.m. – Mookie Terremoto
  • 1:45 p.m. – Lefty Luci
  • 2:30 p.m. – The Cult of Nasty
  • 3:15 p.m. – Rat Bath
  • 4 p.m. – Billy Dreamer
  • 4:45 p.m. – Rhetoric Vendetta
  • 5:30 p.m. – Size 5’s
  • 6:15 p.m. – Highball Holiday

Club Timbuktu

  • Noon – SpunBack (Headway HiFi) with special guests Kinky P (Beatdown Sound) and Head Inna Bin Crew
  • 3 p.m. – The Majestics
  • 4 p.m. – KnoMuzik showcase
  • 6 p.m. – Spunback, Kinky P, Head Inna Bin Crew closing night

High Dive

  • 1 p.m. – Marcus Doucette