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Storming of the Bastille: How Milwaukee Shows Its French Side

By Lance Trebesch July 14, 2013

Milwaukee Hosts 32nd Annual Bastille Days in 2013

From Thursday, July 11th through Sunday, July 14th, the much-awaited annual Bastille Days festival takes over Cathedral Square Park, located smack in the middle of Milwaukee’s downtown area. Bastille Days is a French-themed festival that boasts some 250,000 visitors from the city and surrounding areas, and, if you can believe it, has FREE entry for all four days.

Milwaukee’s most popular French festival and one of America’s biggest celebrations of everything French, Bastille Days offers its visitors daily live music, an incredibly diverse marketplace, delectable Cajun and gourmet French cuisine, and plenty of other unique entertainment.

And if that isn’t enough to make you want to join the fun, Bastille Days will even display an illuminated 43-foot Eiffel Tower replica—complete with fantastic light shows.

How to Storm the Bastille—Milwaukee Style

Originally, the Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France back in 1789. The Bastille was a French prison and, at the time, it was a sign of royal authority in the center of the city. Although the prison only held seven actual people at the time it was stormed, bursting through the gates and freeing those prisoners was symbolic of the French overcoming the corrupt abuses of the French Monarchy.

These days, in Milwaukee, ‘Storm the Bastille’ is a 5K run through the downtown area of the city, dedicated to the memory of the 18th century French event. Participants get to join 5,000 of their friends as they kick off Bastille Days with this annual occurrence.

What’s more, you don’t even have to run! Runners/walkers will have the pleasure of meandering through the scenic downtown streets and enjoying the sites of the Historic Third Ward.

Why Going French is More Fun

You don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to experience a bit of French-style fun. And we’re not just talking about French fries (which were actually invented in Belgium!). In case you can’t make it Milwaukee this year, consider planning your own type of French celebration.

Infuse your event with some real French flair by pairing traditional French wines and cheeses, or serving some killer Cajun food. You could even incorporate French music into your event, or construct your own miniature Eiffel Tower.

Make your event more official by printing posters or flyers and advertising in advance. You could even find some inexpensive, quality event tickets and sell them to make up your event costs.