Most big events have returned this summer — drawing crowds to everything from the Fourth of July fireworks to weekly outdoor concerts — but the Taste of Wisconsin festival won’t be back until 2022.
That left a big hole in the local outdoor festival season.
More than 40,000 people attended the Taste of Wisconsin festival each summer along Kenosha’s lakefront, until COVID-19 scuttled the 2020 and 2021 events.
Its absence this summer has left a void for folks who enjoyed the festival’s food, drink and live music, but 58 Below and Fusion are hoping to help ease the pain — at least in part — by hosting a live music festival Saturday (July 24).
The Downtown venues are both featuring live music and food.
At 58 Below, 504 58th St., the music is outside, featuring the bands Lunde (4 to 5:30 p.m.), 89 Mojo (6 to 7:30 p.m.) and The Unusual Suspects (8 to 10 p.m.) in the venue’s parking lot.
As for food, “we have three food trucks coming — Fry Daddy, the Nacho Queen and Roll with It, which serves egg rolls,” said Pete Pedicone. He books bands and does social media for the club that was co-owned by his late brother Dominic Pedicone, who was also a member of 89 Mojo. Dominic’s wife, Michelle, operates the club now.
“Since they canceled Taste of Wisconsin, we thought we’d try to get something going,” Pete Pedicone said. “People are looking for outdoor entertainment and good food.”
58 Below has been hosting more and more outdoor shows since the weather heated up.
“Outdoor shows have their challenges — because of noise ordinances, we have to be done by 10 p.m.,” Pedicone said. “But overall, it’s going really well. We love being able to do shows outside when the weather is gorgeous.”
Taste of Fusion
Over at Fusion, 5014 Seventh Ave., organizers are even calling their Saturday event “Taste of Fusion,” to keep the whole Taste of Wisconsin vibe going.
Taste of Fusion runs from 1 p.m. to closing time (after 1:30 a.m.).
There are two stages featuring live music.
Inside on the Main Stage are: Oscar Green (2 p.m.), Miss B Haven (4 p.m.), Speak Free (6 p.m.), First Rule (9 p.m.), The Hooks (10 p.m.) and an Open Jam wrapping things up from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Outside in Fusion’s Beer Garden, starting at 1 p.m., are The Thieving Magpies, PVR, Cruzotti and Dropping Daisies.
There will also be a food truck out front and a flat top in the Beer Garden.
In addition to its live music and abundance of food offerings, Taste of Wisconsin was also an important fundraising event for the Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha, which organized the event each year and used the proceeds to help local charities.