Summerfest will have about a week after its annual 11-day music festival to prepare for another major event, the kickoff of the four-day 2020 Democratic National Convention in downtown Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee announced Friday that it selected Henry Maier Festival Park as the site of its official Delegate Welcome Party, set for July 12. The convention will follow from July 13 to 16.
The event will bring the convention's estimated 4,750 delegates and their families to the northern end of the 75-acre grounds, which offers a view of Lake Michigan. The host committee plans to unveil additional details for the event's programming in the future.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the event will be convention attendees' first impression of the city.
"You can't experience more of a Milwaukee vibe than right here on the Summerfest grounds," said Peggy Williams-Smith, CEO of Visit Milwaukee.
The Delegate Welcome Party is one of three major events that the host committee is responsible for organizing, along with the Media Welcome Party on July 11 and the Volunteer Appreciation Party on July 17. Venues for the other two events will be announced in the coming weeks, according to a press release.
The local host committee is also tasked with amassing 15,000 volunteers and raising $70 million to fund the convention and its official events. Last week, the group launched its online volunteer portal which people can use to register and apply for various volunteer roles.
Friday's announcement comes on the heels of a chaotic week for the convention's local host committee. Top leaders Liz Gilbert and Adam Alonso were fired late Tuesday amid concerns over workplace culture and mismanagement, according to the organization’s board of directors. Longtime political operative Teresa Vilmain was appointed as the host committee’s interim leader.
After the press conference, Mayor Barrett responded to questions about the ongoing third-party investigation into those accusations and the board's swift removal of Gilbert and Alonso. He said he supports the board's decision.
Barrett said he is focused on moving forward from the issue and didn't seem concerned that the shakeup could negatively impact the committee's ability to successfully execute the convention.
"If anything this has brought the team even closer. They understand what's at stake here, how important this convention is for our community and those involved in it," he said.
He's also not worried about the "tens of millions" of dollars still left to raise, saying Milwaukee is ahead of schedule compared to past conventions.
"We've seen Milwaukee far out pace the last few conventions in the early fundraising, so had we been behind at this point, I would be much more concerned."