2018 Bay View Bash Wrap Up

October 2, 2018

By Sheila Julson

Bay View Bash has rocked Bay View since 2004. This year the one-day street festival held on Kinnickinnic Avenue between Potter and Clement drew an estimated 35,000 people, said Nicki Rouleau, president of the Bay View Community Fund, (BVCF) the not-for-profit that has operated Bash since 2010.

Held on the third Saturday of each September, the 2018 event took place September 15.

The revenue generated by the festival pays for the party but also is the funding source for the grants that the Bay View Community Fund distributes each year. 

Rouleau, who has been involved with the Bash organizational committee for seven years, said that city permits, entertainment, generator, stage rental fees, and electricity cost about $30,000. Vendor booth fees and sponsorships generate revenue but beer sales contribute the largest portion.

The 2018 Bash receipts were still being calculated at press time, however Rouleau said that the $17,000 profit generated by the 2017 Bash was distributed to Second Hand Purrs, Downtown Montessori Academy, Milwaukee Makerspace, the Robert J. Haertle Memorial Scholarship Foundation, English Language Partners of Wisconsin, Kompost Kids, Interfaith South Shore Regional Neighborhood Outreach, Humboldt Park 4th of July Association, South Shore Sharing Meal Program, and Bay View Huddle: The Missing Voice Project.

BVCF’s goal is to provide grant money to each group that applies. “We try hard to fulfill as many requests as we can because we want to help as many groups as we can,” said Rouleau.  

This year there were 134 vendor booths, many of them long-time participants.

In the beginning, electricity for amps and lights was provided by business owners. “Businesses would run cords from inside their businesses out onto the street,” Rouleau said. “Obviously we’ve grown since then, but a lot of those businesses on KK have helped over the years.” Among those are Rush-Mor Records, Bay View Quick Mart, the Shape Up Shoppe, and Sven’s Café.

Music has always been a feature of the Bash. This year 21 bands performed on three stages.

The Demo Stage, which has become a favorite over the years, presented nonmusical acts like Dead Man’s Carnival, as well as the Strong Man competition that is organized by Ken Weber and his team at Brickyard Gym.

The Divas of Hamburger Mary’s, a drag show that took place at mid-afternoon on the Demo Stage, was another favorite. “They had not participated for a couple of years after they moved to Walker’s Point, but they came back this year,” Rouleau said. Hamburger Mary’s moved from its Bay View location on Bay Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue to Walker’s Point in 2016.

Bay View’s eateries had a strong presence among the 30 different food vendors. Vanguard, Café Lulu, Café Corazon, and Hue were represented, as were other restaurants outside of the Bay View area.

Kompost Kids brought in members of Milwaukee Area Science Advocates to help manage recyclables, compost, and landfill materials produced by the Bay View Bash street festival. PHOTO Katherine Keller

This year Bash organizers partnered with a number of organizations including Kompost Kids, who have assisted for the past five years by collecting compostable materials and helping the festival organizers move toward a near-zero waste goal. Kompost Kids brought in members of Milwaukee Area Science Advocates to help manage recyclables, compost, and landfill materials produced by the street festival. 

Volunteers from local nonprofits helped bartend. “This year all bartenders came from different nonprofit organizations and their tips were donated back to the organizations where they work,” Rouleau said.

Approximately 200 volunteers, including the bartending staff, were recruited for Bash 2018. Planning the Bash takes eight months, Rouleau said. The committee starts planning in February.

Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) was another partner this year and shared its resources and volunteers.

“BVNA has benefited from the Bash by way of a grant that is earmarked for our skate park project, and they have also been sponsors of Chill on the Hill,” said BVNA president Patty Pritchard Thompson.

Bay View Bash was established in 2004 as a community project of the newly formed the Bay View Neighborhood  Association.

BVNA sponsored and operated Bash through 2007. In 2008, BVNA announced its decision to discontinue sponsoring the Bash to focus on smaller events. From 2008-2009 the Bay View Historical Society helped stage the festival.

In 2010 a core group of Bash volunteers formed the nonprofit Bay View Community Fund and has since operated the street festival.

More info: bayviewbash.org

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