[caption id="attachment_125214" align="alignright" width="399"]
The Eiffel Tower sculpture at Bastille Days in Milwaukee.[/caption]
Downtown Milwaukee's annual Bastille Days festival this year will slightly change its location and placement of its iconic Eiffel Tower sculpture to accommodate a testing phase for the streetcar, named The Hop,
to occur during the festival.
One thousand hours of testing are required for The Hop before it is operational by year's end.
The festival's main stretch on Kilbourn Avenue-- which is lined with phase one of the streetcar-- will move one block south to Wells St., and its Eiffel Tower replica will stand in Cathedral Square Park's north end, moving 100 feet south of its usual location, the East Town Association announced yesterday at its annual meeting.
The 37th annual festival, running July 12-15, will still use Kilbourn Avenue but, according to the association, the street's pedestrian areas will be minimized.
"Over the last year, we’ve been working closely with city officials on a revised layout that will complement streetcar service and minimize impacts to neighboring businesses," Kim Morris, executive director of East Town Association said. "Our new footprint keeps Bastille Days anchored in the hub of our neighborhood and provides visitors with better accessibility."
The 5K route for Storm the Bastille, the run that annually kicks-off the festival, will not change, with the start and finish lines remaining on Jefferson Street between Wells and Mason streets.
Morris said The Hop's interference with the festival's layout this year is worth the adjustments as it will be available as a means of transportation to the festival in 2019.
“The ability for fest-goers to get to Bastille Days from points all throughout downtown with The Hop will be a true game-changer for us," Morris said. "We look forward to increasing the visitor experience, and the addition of the streetcar alongside our new festival layout will certainly help us accomplish that.”