Last updated on July 28th, 2020 at 01:30 pm
Elizabeth “Bo” Black, who was the executive director of Summerfest from 1984 to 2003, died Friday at the age of 74.
Black grew Summerfest into a massive event, with its attendance peaking at more than 1 million in 2001, until she was dismissed by the Summerfest board.
Black, who lived in Arizona during her later years with her husband, former Milwaukee Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn, returned to visit Summerfest in 2011 after tensions from her dismissal had eased.
“Today our Summerfest family is mourning the loss of Elizabeth ‘Bo’ Black,” Summerfest said on Twitter. “She was a force. We are all grateful for her efforts, creativity and flair, which help make Summerfest the incredible experience it is today. On behalf of everyone at Summerfest past and present, we send our heartfelt condolences to Bo’s friends and family.”
“Bo Black was a huge part of Milwaukee for many years,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement Friday. In the entire history of Summerfest, no one name is more associated with the annual event than Bo Black. She brought enthusiasm and glamour to her position as the head of Milwaukee World Festivals, and she was also a demanding leader who set Summerfest and the ethnic festivals on a course for ongoing success. Bo Black was truly a Milwaukee celebrity. She will be long remembered for her impact on our city.”
Read more about Black from WISN-TV Channel 12, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.