Henry Maier Festival Park

200 N Harbor Dr Milwaukee

Milwaukee Parks and Gardens/Henry Maier Festival Park
Written By VAMONDE

Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions

Henry Maier Festival Park

Henry Maier Festival Park, also known as the Henry Maier Festival Grounds or the Summerfest Grounds, is a festival park located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Park is named after Henry Maier, Milwaukee's longest-serving mayor.

Before Summerfest

In 1927, this was the site of Maitland Airport, one of the city's first airstrips. The airport remained in operation for more than 20 years before it was replaced by a Nike missile installation, established during the height of '50s Cold War tensions. The site was one of eight in the Greater Milwaukee area and had both the Nike Ajax and nuclear-capable Nike Hercules missiles as a means of last resort against a possible attack by the Soviet Union. This missile launch site was closed in 1969.

The land was then sold to the city and became a top possible destination for Summerfest by its early leaders. Organizers believed that a centralized location was crucial, and the lakefront site was deal. This land was leased to Summerfest by the city for the cost of one dollar a year.


Summerfest began in 1968 as a music festival and was held in over 35 different locations. The next year drew low attendance due to horrible weather. In 1970, Summerfest moved Henry Maier Festival Park where they set up offices and planned stages on that space.

Construction continued through the 1970s and 1980s, with the highlight of the creation of the Marcus Amphitheater, a 23,000 seat partially covered venue, in 1987. Summerfest's central location ensured its success and popularity.

Other festivals

Starting in the 1980s, the park held various ethnic and cultural festivals that have continued to this day:

* African World Festival * Arab World Fest * Asian Moon Festival * Festa Italiana * German Fest * Indian Summer Festival * Irish Fest * Labor Fest * Mexican Fiesta * Polish Fest * PrideFest

Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover Image sourced from Wikipedia (CC SA 1.0 and uploaded by HollyAm.

Milwaukee Parks and Gardens

Henry Maier Festival Park

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