When I talked last week with Alexandria Binanti Robinson, executive director of Downtown Kenosha Inc., about the organization’s Pop-Up Beer Garden on Simmons Island Beach, she was looking forward to the bonfires on Saturday night and the artisan markets.
So when we chatted Tuesday about how the first weekend went, we talked about toilets.
Not to be coarse, but when an event sells a lot of beer, bathroom access is clearly a priority.
Unfortunately, the restrooms at the Simmons Island Beach House were closed due to a water issue. (There apparently isn’t any running water at the beach house, which is ironic for a building sitting on the lakefront. Blame the ongoing renovation project at the historic structure).
“The bathroom issue should be resolved this week,” Robinson said. “The city is optimistic we’ll have them open starting today.”
That would be great news for the folks heading to Simmons Island today for the Food Truck Takeover, kicking off the Pop-Up Beer Garden’s final weekend of activities.
Tonight’s other highlights include a five-course dinner on the beach, catered by Binanti’s Taste of Italy. There are a few tickets left for $100 (which includes two beverages). The menu can be viewed and tickets purchased at www.downtownkenosha.org/beer-garden/
Other than having to rely on port-a-potties, Robinson is, well, flushed with excitement (sorry!) after opening weekend.
“There are always hiccups with live events,” she said, “but the best part about this event is that we’re showcasing this beautiful space. We’re highlighting this beach and showing that people want to be there.”
The venue itself, meaning the beach’s sand, “is so well groomed,” Robinson said. “The Parks Department does a great job of maintaining that beach.”
Bathrooms aside, “we enjoyed a very successful first weekend,” she said, “with record-breaking attendance. It’s amazing to see so many people out there. On Friday night, we had so much business, we were afraid we’d run out of beer! Our vendors went on overdrive to get more product to the event.”
Because of the crowds, Robinson “doubled up on staff on Saturday. We had volunteers and staffers on hand.”
She promises to have enough beer and other products this weekend and said local Kenosha breweries “are doing a great job showcasing their products. The bar setup was fantastic, with good flow, and we served a variety of beers.”
The live music, she said, is “a huge draw, and our daytime activities for kids were really well received: yoga on the beach, rock painting, drum circles, face painting. We’ll have all of that again this weekend. The Kenosha Rocks activity never stopped. I painted a rock with my girls, and we had a storybook hour with Blue House Books. This weekend, an anti-bullying dog will be there.”
Robinson is also looking forward to Drag Queen Bingo, 6 p.m. Friday.
“This is a Kenosha Pride event,” she said. “Miss Kenosha Pride is emceeing the free bingo game. It’s PG-rated entertainment and will be an actual bingo game with prizes.”
She’s confident the second weekend will be as popular as the first one and promises the Saturday night bonfire on the beach will be as impressive, too. (Seriously, it was quite a show.)
“Overall, it was really well received in the community, and we had more participation from local businesses,” she said. “It’s a fun and lighthearted way to bring people out to see this area. We’re really focusing on how we can keep doing events like this.”
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