Summerfest begins today with revamped grounds

Summerfest begins today and fest-goers will be able to check out the first phase of the $25 million redevelopment of the south end of Henry Maier Festival Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront.

Phase one of the 22-acre project includes a new Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Stage (with a seating capacity of 6,000 to 8,000), a new South Gate (including a courtesy office and box office), restrooms, food and beverage buildings, a covered two-story viewing deck and a new approach to the Marcus Amphitheater.

The two-story viewing deck is for sponsor and corporate parties, and on some occasions will be open for public use.

Last year Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. agreed to a 10-year extension of its Summerfest sponsorship through 2020.

The second phase of the renovation project for the south end of the Summerfest grounds will begin at the end of this year’s festival season and will be completed in time for the 2012 festival season.

The renovation project is the largest capital improvement project in the history of Milwaukee World Festival Inc., which hired Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects to do the design work for the project.

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