Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:12 pm
For 11 consecutive days next year, MacArthur Square in downtown Milwaukee could transform from the desolate green space that covers a parking structure on James Lovell Street, into “The Largest Oktoberfest in Wisconsin’s History.”
Milwaukee restaurant owners, Craig Pruscha and Hans Weissgerber III recently proposed Milwaukee Oktoberfest 2018 to take place Sept. 28-Oct. 8 at MacArthur Square. It would be free to enter and open to the public.
“The event will be a Munich, family-style Oktoberfest blended with Milwaukee’s style,” Craig Pruscha, managing partner at the Northmen Group LLC said. “There are so many unique things about Wisconsin and we want to celebrate those things and think Milwaukee is the best place to do that.”
Milwaukee’s German heritage, its well-known hospitality and its reputation as the “beer capital of the world” attracted the two natives to host the event here. It will be a family environment combining Munich’s traditions with Milwaukee’s style, Pruscha said.
“There are a number of ideas for the future of MacArthur Square and we are all ears,” Jeff Fleming, communications director for the City of Milwaukee said. “The additional attention to MacArthur Square is good news.”
Pruscha and Weissgerber want to work with the city to refurbish the forgotten MacArthur Square so it can be used not only for Milwaukee Oktoberfest, but for other downtown Milwaukee events.
Pruscha said they hope to, in the future, expand Milwaukee Oktoberfest to other downtown parks, with MacArthur Square as the main site, connecting them via trolley.
“Its all about building something traditional that will go on for years and years,” he said. “The goal is to get businesses involved and drive business in the surrounding area.”
Weissgerber owns HB Milwaukee, the company that operates Old German Beer Hall on Old World Third Street and the Estabrook Park Beer Garden in Shorewood. Weissgerber also recently proposed a plan to create a public beer garden in Pere Marquette Park to operate from April through October next year.
He has hosted Pere Marquette Park’s annual Oktoberfest until he announced this year that he would no longer hold the event. When Weissenburg made this announcement, Swarmm Events announced it would host this year’s Pere Marquette Park’s Oktoberfest to take place Sept. 29-Oct. 1 and Oct. 6-8.
Weissenberg decided not to hold the event this year to, instead, focus on planning Milwaukee Oktoberfest 2018.
“Hans and I have always prided ourselves in building substantive events with a lasting footprint,” Craig Pruscha, managing partner at the Northmen Group LLC said. “The difference between average and stellar is detail, and (Milwaukee Oktoberfest) will be every bit of stellar.”