Harley-Davidson 115th anniversary celebration roars into Milwaukee this weekend

Events planned throughout region

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin are no stranger to motorcycles, but things go to another level once every five years as Harley-Davidson celebrates its major anniversaries.

A sign at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee welcomes people to the company’s 115th anniversary celebration, which will be held through this weekend.

The 115th anniversary celebration is no different as an estimated 150,000 motorcyclists descend on the city, bringing with them an economic impact of $95 million, according to Visit Milwaukee.

The events this year do have a slightly different flavor than previous Harley anniversary celebrations in Milwaukee as the emphasis for the 115th is less on events concentrated near downtown and more on street parties and events throughout the region.

“That has a huge ripple effect,” Kristin Settle, Visit Milwaukee director of communications, said of the regional approach. “The opportunity for people to get out and explore is fantastic.”

She praised Harley for promoting the event across the region and providing visitors with the information they need to navigate throughout southeastern Wisconsin. She also said the more distributed lineup could cut down on some congestion and traffic concerns as events will not be as concentrated.

“Harley-Davidson has done a phenomenal job of making this a community event,” Settle said, noting there is plenty to do for non-riders. “The whole city is going to be electric this weekend.”

The celebration also includes a heavy dose of racing, including a race on Bradford Beach, flat track racing at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, a hill climb at Little Switzerland and Run What You Brung at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove.

Staples of past anniversary parties are still in place, including live music at the Harley-Davidson Museum and Veterans Park. Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker will also play a show at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater on Saturday.

Street parties and community events are also planned at the Rotary Performance Pavilion in Wauwatosa, at Jazz in the Park at Cathedral Square, in Walker’s Point along South 5th Street and on Brady Street.

The traditional parade from North 45th Street and Wisconsin Avenue to Veterans Park will take place Sunday starting at 1 p.m.

The seven dealerships in the area are also part of the action with demo rides, live music and group rides on a daily basis.

Harley is also partnering with Lyft to provide ridesharing to and from major attractions during the anniversary celebrations. Riders who use the code HD115 will get 20 percent off rides to or from designated pick-up and drop-off zones at the Harley corporate headquarters, Veterans Park, Bradford Beach, the Harley-Davidson Museum and Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations in Menomonee Falls.

The code is good for one ride and users are also entered into a sweepstakes to win a Harley.

“As we continue to deepen our involvement in the Milwaukee area, working with Harley-Davidson – an institution of American culture with an enduring legacy throughout Wisconsin – is a major step forward,” said Jean-Paul Biondi, Lyft Wisconsin market manager.

For specific details on events, times and locations, visit: H-D.com/115

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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