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Summerfest 2022 opens doors for day one

Fans flock for 54th year
Summerfest day one
Posted at 10:50 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 23:50:27-04

MILWAUKEE (NBC26) — The sounds and the smells are only two of the reasons why people from all over Wisconsin come out to Summerfest.

But it's not just within the state. From Chicago to Arizona, thousands swarm to the fairgrounds every year. Officials estimate between 600,000 to 800,000 guests a year.

"Just experiencing the culture," said one festival-goer from Chicago. "I haven't had cheese curds in a minute so I'm hoping to have those."

Lifelong fans making the trek up from the Midwest. One father-daughter duo has been traveling for 30 years from Davenport, Iowa.

"Because it's the best music festival ever!"

Wherever you look it's definitely a party. That's what Bob Babisch said, the Vice President of Entertainment for the festival. He's been with the festival for 46 of it's 54 year run and has seen it grow from one stage, to something bigger and better.

“I think people have taken this festival under the wing… so it's almost like their event," Babisch said. "So, they want to come back and they want to enjoy that time.“

Babisch is also in charge of one of the most important facets of the festival: the music.

“We try to find the cream of the crop of the local bands, guys that are up and coming… not just Milwaukee, we get Green Bay bands," Babisch said. "We just try to have a different genre on a different stage every day."

One of those bands being country artist Brent Bel from Menasha.

"It's a great opportunity to be a part of it," Bel said. "I went to college in Milwaukee so it's good to be back."

He also feels lucky to be a part of a bustling event.

“Just look around, you got vendors, you got fresh music, the view is pretty rough," Bel said. "It's been a while since we've had to kind of open up and have a good old party.”

You can find the full Summerfest lineup here. It runs for three weekends, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday, until July 9th.