This may only qualify as Big Summerfest News to me (and fellow Carthage College graduates), but here goes: Our local college has been added to the list of schools for the “Show Your College Pride” Day promotion on June 28. Gateway Technical College and Herzing University also made the list.

From noon to 3 p.m. that day, anyone who comes to Summerfest wearing a shirt or hat representing one of the participating schools will get in free.

The promotion debuted in 2018, without any local schools on the list.

The Milwaukee festival celebrated its Big 5-0 with much fanfare in 2017, but festival officials are always adding new attractions.

In 2018, the new U.S. Cellular Connection Stage was unveiled, with increased capacity, a 25-foot LED screen, benches (with charging amenities) along the lakefront and a new bar area. Other 2018 additions included a new North Gate and Community Plaza and the Klement’s Sausage Beer Garden.

New foods this summer

Something fans look forward to every year at Summerfest are new food offerings.

And 2019 is no exception.

Among the new food and beverage venues are:

Pizza Man — This new vendor features whole pizza and pizza slice options, along with homemade eggplant fries. (American Family Insurance Amphitheater Forecourt area)

Red Bull Bar — No surprise: This new venue serves a variety of Red Bull-themed cocktails. (JoJo’s Martini Lounge)

Vintage 1968 Wine Bar — You expect a wine bar to features wines, right? You’ll find wines by the glass and bottle. (on the lake walk, near the BMO Harris Pavilion)

New food offerings include:

Cinnamon Pretzel Nuggets at Auntie Annie’s. (U.S. Cellular Connection Stage area)

The Piggy Mac Sub with pulled pork, bacon, sautéed onions, Wisconsin mac and cheese and Wisconsin smoked gouda on Italian bread at Cousins Subs. (Children’s Theater & Playzone area)

Sriracha Cauliflower Bites, served with mojito lime dipping sauce. (at Saz’s).

The Meatball Cone: Meatballs with marinara sauce in an Italian bread cone topped with mozzarella cheese at Venice Club (Harley-Davidson Roadhouse area)

On the healthier side of the menu is the “Beyond Burger,” described as “a soy-free, gluten-free plant-based burger” offered at AJ Bombers in the Children’s Area.

New attractions

L.L. Bean will offer free stand-up paddleboard and kayak rentals every day on a first-come, first-served basis at the Summerfest Landing. If you need help, no worries; instructors will be on hand.

Also at the Summerfest Landing, Mercury Marine and Sea Ray are offering free Lake Michigan boat rides, in cooperation with SkipperBuds. Stop by the Mercury Marine Go Boldly display to sign up for a free ride.

Also on the water, Dylan Miller, a professional wakeboarder, will perform in the Summerfest Lagoon at 2 and 5 p.m. on June 28-30.

Family fun

The Kohl’s Captivation Station is back, with daily performances from entertainers including ComedySportz and Mad Science and free activities from Discovery World, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Penfield Children’s Center, the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Milwaukee County Zoo. See the schedule for daily events at the Kohl’s Captivation Station.

Also back is the “Splash Pad.” Kids of all ages can splash and play the day away while keeping cool.

The Big Bang fireworks go off at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday (June 26) to kick off this year’s festival. Staying home that night? You can watch the taped show at 10:30 p.m. on WISN-Channel 12.

The Summerfest Parade steps off at 3 p.m. on June 26-28 and July 2-3, starting at the south end of Henry Maier Festival Park at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater Forecourt and completing a full lap of the grounds. Visitors are encouraged to join the parade.

Enjoy a $1 bratwurst — while supplies last — from noon to 2 p.m. June 27. The Klement’s brats will be for sale only at the Mid Gate designated booth. Limit one per person. Cash only; proceeds will benefit a local charity.

The School of Rock — featuring more than 80 bands made up of talented kids from across the world — will perform June 29-30 on seven different Summerfest stages. School of Rock teaches more than 30,000 students at 230 locations.

Up, up and away: the Skyglider — a Summerfest tradition, offering scenic views and a ride over the grounds — is back in action this year. One-way and round-trip fares are available.

The Johnson Controls World Sound Stage will once again host the Emerging Artist Series, highlighting emerging talent each evening from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Fans can vote for their favorite performances on Twitter.

Planning your visit

If you’re planning to visit Summerfest, download the Official Summerfest App to keep up on all the information you need to help plan your day.

Also, while supplies last, 1,500 free digital general admission tickets — valid only on July 4 — are available to people who download the Summerfest App.

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