Whether you’re looking to celebrate your Italian heritage or want to learn more about a new culture, then Festa Italiana at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, could be for you. This three-day summer event attracts thousands of visitors annually and will surely open your eyes wide open to an entirely new way of life.
Not only is there plenty of delicious and authentic cuisine in which to indulge, but an action-packed program over the three days. Kids will love the carnival rides, parade, children’s area, and sweet treats, while the parents will undoubtedly revel in the opportunity to wine and dine.
In past years at Festa Italiana, there has also been a car show, gondola rides, a Mass, heritage exhibit, parade, and opportunities to play Bocce, an Italian form of Petanque. Essentially, anything and everything Italian is available at this annual festival.
While you’re in Milwaukee, the largest city in the state, you may as well make the most of your motorhome and check out the sights. The Milwaukee Riverwalk is a popular way to navigate the city streets, and The Hop streetcar system won’t disappoint, either.
Nature lovers can also be treated to a few different activities, and there’s more than enough for art and history buffs, too. If you have nothing planned this summer, then fly the Italian flag. This festival is an exciting weekend away for the whole family.
Festa Italiana is a wonderful family-friendly event that’s suitable for all. Tickets in the past have been as little as under $15, and children under 12 have been free with adults. VIP days, free admission during certain hours and free entry for military and service members have also been on offer, too. You can buy your Festa Italiana tickets at the gate on the day or in advance before you travel.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, lies on the edges of Lake Michigan. It’s known for its steep bluffs and central location to neighboring cities like Madison and Chicago, Illinois. As a result, it’s easily accessible from nearly all directions.
Before you leave home, it’s a good idea to download a driving aid like 511 Wisconsin. By doing so, you can be aware of all traffic coming and going from the area, delays you might face, and how much time you can allow for outdoor fun like hiking or fishing at Escanaba River State Forest in Rock River Township.
When you arrive in Milwaukee, from main routes like I-43 and I-94 to I-794, you will find Henry W. Maier Festival Park at 200 North Harbor Drive by Lakeshore State Park.
Parking spaces for cars and motorhomes are limited around Henry W. Maier Festival Park. But just because you can’t get a parking space directly at the venue, that doesn’t mean the alternative options are inconvenient.
One block west of the festival grounds is the Italian Community Center, which, in the past, has allowed people to park there for a fee. Park and ride services are also in operation from various destinations. Street parking may be limited, but it’s available with marking meters if you arrive earlier enough.
The Festa Italiana organizing committee has thought of everything, including public transportation. For travelers who would prefer to park at a Milwaukee RV campground and not use their campervan as primary transport, there are plenty of other ways to get to the festival.
You could organize rideshare or taxi services, but you could also make use of the Milwaukee County Transit System that, in the past, offered shuttle and Freeway Flyer services for the festival. The shuttle service leaves from Downtown Milwaukee at regular intervals.
You can also jump aboard the Freeway Flyer, which travels from park-n-ride lots surrounding Henry W. Maier Festival Park. Whether you’re near or far from Festa Italiana, the organizers ensure you can get there.
The Henry W. Maier Festival Park is a conservative-sized venue that has enough space for vendors, but not enough for campers. If you are taking an RV trip to Milwaukee with your family and furry friends, set some time aside to find somewhere accessible with a large RV near Festa Italiana. Don’t be afraid to stay somewhere a little further out, as it allows you to explore much more of Milwaukee.
If you’re looking for the best place for RV camping in Milwaukee, then you will be pleased to know such places are not all too far from Festa Italiana. Those who are traveling from the direction of Chicago can find upscale RV accommodation for a stopover at Chicago Northwest KOA within a two-hour drive of Henry W. Maier Festival Park. The Wisconsin State Fair Park, home of the Wisconsin State Fair, is also under ten miles from the festival venue for convenience.
Upon arriving at Festa Italiana, you may be surprised at how easily accessible everything is. Grab a site map and find everything within walking distance of each other. Toilets are dotted conveniently throughout, and there are even seating areas to rest your weary feet.
Milwaukee has a humid continental climate, which makes it prone to rapid changes in weather conditions. While the peak travel time is between May and September for warmth, that doesn’t mean you won’t be caught out by the odd rainy day or two.
Pack a wide variety of garments to ensure you’re prepared for any season. What’s more, if you are partaking in outdoor activities, like Lake Park, walking at Whitnall Park, or birdwatching at Havenwoods State Forest, then make sure you’ve got the correct clothing for the most comfortable experience.
A “less is more” approach is best during your visit to Festa Italiana. You can bring payment cards to withdraw cash at the various ATMs, and maybe even a small backpack to carry your Italian purchases. If you will be hanging around for the fireworks at the end of the event, ear protection for children with sensitive ears is worth bringing, as well.
Alongside gear for Festa Italiana, don’t forget to pack a few convenience items for on your campervan travels. Cooking and camping equipment can come in handy for primitive RV camping and even campgrounds with service hookups in Milwaukee.
Festa Italiana is a summer event. Even though the sun may not be shining at all times, it’s still worth your while to bring sun safety supplies to keep you and your family protected. Lather on the sunscreen throughout the day, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget the bug spray. After all, the festival venue is directly by Lake Michigan. If you are doing a bit of exploring on your motorhome trip, then a first-aid kit, toiletries, and prescription medication will be worth packing in your suitcase.
After indulging in Italy’s most exquisite cuisine, travelers will surely want to flex their creative muscles and try to make something for themselves. Using your onboard kitchen appliances, propane grill, or campfire if appropriate, you can undoubtedly muster up some mouth-watering masterpieces.
There are markets and convenience stores within a few miles of Henry W. Maier Festival Park, but you can also pop to the grocery store nearest to your campsite after Festa Italiana ends.
The beauty of a festival like Festa Italiana is that you don’t have to go to the restaurants since they come to you. However, after a day of Italian food, you may feel like something else, and that’s perfectly okay. Even within a few miles of the festival site, you can enjoy tavern and grill food with delicious craft beer, or how about a hearty burger from a takeout joint? By sticking to the main roads in Milwaukee, you will never be too far from the vibrant signs of a dining establishment.
Even the fussiest of diners will find precisely what they are looking for at Festa Italiana. Anything and everything Italian is on the menu to suit both young and old. Treat yourself to gelato and ice cream desserts, or why not tuck into fried polenta with grated parmesan? Wood-fired pizza, Italian cheesesteak, ravioli, Italian cakes, garlic bread, and much, much more, are available. There are dozens of vendors at Festa Italiana who can’t wait to show you a taste of Italian culture and cuisine.
Helpful security officials and ticket takers will be on hand at the main entrances to check bags, tickets, and people. Once you’re inside the venue, there is a convenient security area by the wine and spirits area. As this is such a significant event, police will also be based near the South Barrier near where Italian Mass will take place. There is also a police station in Milwaukee for outside assistance under two miles from the festival.
Summer temperatures in July in Milwaukee are reasonably mild. You can get away with wearing shorts and t-shirts, but temperatures tend to fluctuate around 60 degrees-Fahrenheit through to 80 degrees. Given the ever-changing conditions, don’t be afraid to take a few extra precautions while preparing your RV. Carry extra coolant and fluids on board, empty your tanks, check your heating and cooling units, and monitor a weather app before you leave.
Because Festa Italiana is such a well-organized and accessible event, all your needs are met while you visit. That includes your medical ones. For cuts, scrapes, bruises, or similar, you can visit the First Aid tent, which is near the toilets toward the South Barrier. If you or someone in your traveling party suffers from a medical event, dial 911. A hospital for care is within ten miles of the festival toward Milwaukee County Zoo and Greenfield Park.