Frolics parade, yes; Carry-ins, no
April 1, 2013
By Katherine Keller
Bay View Lions announce Frolics changes
Compared to the standing-room-only turnout last summer, the number of residents who attended the March 21 Frolics meeting was modest, but they were no less insistent in their call for change.
Hosted by Alderman Tony Zielinski and County Supervisor/Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, members of the Bay View Lions who sponsor the annual parade and festival announced new policies and practices that they will institute at the South Shore Frolics festival in July.
“Absolutely, positively no carry-ins of any sort will be allowed,” said Julie Magerowski, Bay View Lions member and longtime Frolics volunteer organizer.
A common complaint at the August meeting was the drunkenness and disorderly conduct of festival-goers. This year the Lions are working with Milwaukee County sheriffs to enforce the no carry-in policy. Those who attempt to carry in alcoholic beverages will be instructed to take the contraband back to their car, or if they refuse, the alcohol will be confiscated.
If carry-ins are discovered on the festival grounds, sheriffs will confiscate it or ticket offenders.
Six to eight weeks before the event, the Lions will launch a publicity campaign to broadcast the carry-in ban through yard signs, signs posted in local businesses, banners, and local media.
One wristband, one beer
A system will be implemented this year whereby a wristband will be given each customer when they purchase a beer in the Lions’ tent. Lyn Graziano, another member of Bay View Lions and longtime volunteer and Frolics organizer, said she realized customers will be unhappy with the wristband policy when they learn it means they can’t buy more than one beer at a time. She justified the policy decision saying the wristband system is the only way to ensure that beer is purchased exclusively from the Lions.
If the sheriffs spot someone with a beer and no wristband, they will assume it was carried in, Graziano said.
The Lions rely on beer sales to fund the festival and generate the profits they donate to their charities.
Magerowski noted that the Lions are offering an expanded beer menu for July. They will continue to sell MillerCoors products, and they are working with their distributor to add microbrews.
Addressing calls for a wine bar, Magerowski said the Lions “are making positive motions to make that happen.”
In response to complaints about food quality and the dearth of local vendors, Graziano said they’ve approached Babe’s Ice Cream, Guanajuato, Toppers Pizza, Pietro’s Pizza, St. Francis Brewery, and Off The Clock to ask if they would offer food for sale during the Frolics. She stressed that consideration must be given to the challenges of recruiting local restaurateurs, many of whom are small businesses with limited resources that make it impossible for them to operate a festival food stand, no matter how much residents want them at the Frolics.
Patty Pritchard Thompson announced that she and other members of the 2013 Frolics work group are looking into creating a Local Food Sunday, which this year could include a pig roast—“a ticketed event”— presented by Braise and Honeypie.
There will be more sheriff’s personnel on duty this year. In Milwaukee, the county parks are under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s department (South Shore is a county park), while the area surrounding it is under the police department’s jurisdiction. “There will be more eyes on the perimeter, more officers that weekend,” Magerowski said, emphasizing that the Lions want to reassure residents that the police will be looking out for the neighbors. “Alderman Zielinski volunteered to be there all weekend to help with security,” she said.
Additionally, volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol and private security personnel will be on duty.
The Lions rejected a suggestion to enclose the festival with fencing, citing the expense and the potential danger. Julie Magerowski said that she feared that someone could get trampled in potential bottlenecks at fence gates during the “cattle call when the fireworks get out.”
In response to audience members’ complaints about the live music’s volume (and the number of hours that it is played during the festival) and questions about the noise variance requirement for the festival, Alderman Zielinski said he signs the noise variance each year without consulting the neighbors because the Frolics “is an established institution.” He feels the variance is justified because there is loud music every year, it’s part of the Frolics’ tradition, and if he received more complaints, he would consult the neighbors before automatically signing the variance.
The city requires a noise variance at night, but not during the day. The variance provides that the music must end by 9:55pm and the fireworks (that produce booming explosions) must conclude by 11pm.
The Lions were asked to consider reducing the volume of the music, as well as adjusting the direction stage loudspeakers face to mitigate the impact on residents who live on the park’s perimeter.
The noise was clearly an issue of concern at the March 21 meeting, and the topic was volleyed between Zielinski and audience members without resolution until Thompson stepped in. Taking responsibility for the group said, “Our work group hasn’t addressed it [yet], but we will talk about it. If noise is a huge issue, we need to have a conversation about it.”
Instead of staging the biggest fireworks display Sunday night—a long held tradition to mark the festival’s close—the big display will be Friday. Friday and Saturday night fireworks will start at 10pm.
On Sunday, the festival will close with the short display that starts earlier at 9:20pm.
The 9:20pm Sunday start-time is a concession to the neighbors.
When petitioned to start Friday and Saturday at 9:30pm to make the event more appealing to families with young children, Graziano said they would consider the suggestion for the future but pointed out that earlier closures mand fewer beer sales, which constitute the Lions’ main revenue source.
Julie Magerowski announced an expanded children’s program to be set up in a more isolated area that they’re calling the “family zone.”
“The July 13 parade is on,” Thompson announced, and offered a special thank you to Mayor Tom Barrett.
Earlier this year, the Lions, who canceled the 2012 parade due to inadequate funding, said they require $27,000-$30,000 to cover parade permits, barricades, payments to participants, and other costs. Thompson volunteered to help them find that money.
Thompson and Bay View Lions member Dave Reszel, the third of the three principal volunteer organizers, took their plight to the mayor, in whom they discovered a “huge fan of the Frolics parade.”
Mayor Barrett said in an interview with the Compass that when he represented Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District (1993-2003) his son Tommy and daughter Annie, now ages 20 and 18, walked or rode in the Frolics parade with their dad.
When Barrett gave up his Congressional seat, and was freed from walking the parade route, he took his family to see the Frolics parade. They sat on the sidelines with the other parade-goers, an experience that proved revelatory to Tommy and Annie.
“They said, ‘Dad, this is a thousand times better!’ and I realized their experience of a parade was being in the parade, not watching the parade! I cherrish this moment,” Barrett said. That is part of what is behind the mayor’s great fondness for the Frolics parade.
When approached by Thompson and Reszel, the mayor said he immediately thought of Walter Kunicki, who represented Wisconsin’s 8th Assembly District from 1980-1998, now Wisconsin Energy Corporation’s senior vice president.
Barrett recalled that Kunicki always spoke with great enthusiasm about the Frolics parade and said it was a beloved Bay View event. Barrett called Kunicki and told him that the Frolics parade was imperiled again this year.
The result? A $15,000 gift from Wisconsin Energy Corporation, the lift the Lions needed to save the parade.
Thompson said the Lions also received sponsorships and donations from the White House tavern, Bay View Community Fund, Bay View Business Improvement District, Bay View Neighborhood Association, Dwell apartments, Horny Goat, John’s Appliance, McDonald’s, Oak Creek Lions, OxyClean, Shorewest realtor Toni Spott, and from individuals and families.
Julie Magerowski stepped down this year from her post as parade manager and organizer. Carol Krako stepped up, joining the Frolics team to take up Magerowski’s duties.
Stressing the Lion’s dependence on a “huge” cadre of volunteers, Thompson enjoined residents to help the Lions produce the parade.
Lyn Graziano assured the audience that there will be an art festival this year, but said the Lions are looking for new sponsors. The Bay View Arts Guild hosted and produced the arts and crafts festival from 1993 through 2012.
At the beginning of the evening March 21, Julie Magerowski referenced the August 2012 meeting, an event characterized by contentious neighbors demanding change. Weary of litter, trespassing, public urination, drunkenness, and disorderly conduct, they challenged the Lions to recognize that the festival no longer reflects Bay View’s culture and values.
The Lions, stunned by the vehemence in August, reminded their critics that they have given countless volunteer hours to produce the parade and festival since 1995 and that they were proud of their record, including donating Frolics’ profits to charity.
“We took a lot back to the table,” Magerowski said.
It was evident at the March 21 meeting that the Lions were decidedly more open to the questions and criticism they had received.
And while Magerowski said the festival improvements called for by residents will not happen overnight, the modifications and new policies that the Lions announced were undeniably in response to the outcries they heard from their neighbors last year, and reflect their willingness to bend and change.
Contact Carol Kraco to join the parade volunteers: firstname.lastname@example.org
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