Thanksgiving Day in Milwaukee

By Swathi Ramaswamy on Jan 08, 2019
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Celebrated on the 4th Friday of November, Thanksgiving Day is one of the major festivals of all the western world including Milwaukee. Together with the Friday after Thanksgiving, also known as the Black Friday and the Monday following that, known as Cyber Monday, this weekend is the peak time for shopping, spending time with family, stuffing yourself with delicious turkey and general merriment. The city leaves no qualms in celebrating the age-old tradition of showing gratitude to a fruitful harvest season. Besides a cheerful dinner with family, you can also head out to enjoy the various events that the city hosts on the Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving is called the unofficial start of the Holiday season. In the real spirit of the Holidays, Milwaukee hosts parades, concerts, etc. for the people to enjoy themselves throughout the long weekend. Not only the city a hub of events during this time but also heaven for holiday shopping. There are various stores that sell Holiday merchandise to satiate your shopping spree. As everywhere else in the world, Thanksgiving is a Public holiday in Milwaukee too.

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Therefore, here is the list of a few things that you can do to jazz up the long Thanksgiving weekend:

Watch the Milwaukee Holiday Parade

The Milwaukee Holiday parade is an age-old tradition of Thanksgiving. It started in 1927 and has been the base of Holiday spirit in Milwaukee since then.

The parade starts at approximately 9.30 a.m. It has 100 units which include marching bands, giant helium balloons, decorated vehicles, live animals and last but not the least----Santa Claus.

The parade starts at Kilbourn Avenue and Astoria Street. Then it proceeds westwards towards Old World 3rd Street where it takes a left turn and continues south to Wisconsin Avenue. The parade finishes in front of The Shops of Grand Avenue on the corner of Old 3rd street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Indulge in some Food and Shopping

The idea of Holidays is incomplete without sumptuous food and a mad shopping spree. The city of Milwaukee gears up for this part of the Holidays quite well. Each street of the city is bright with little shops and stalls to satiate your sudden urge to burn a hole in your pocket. The stores are decked with Christmas decorations, food, clothes and other accessories. There is an abundance of discounts owing to the Thanksgiving weekend, and the people do not need prompting to avail them. You can also visit quaint cafes and restaurants to eat your Thanksgiving dinner in style. To attract more people and thus increase business, many restaurants also offer eye-catching discounts and combos. However, it is to be noted that the streets tend to be quite crowded throughout the weekend. Therefore, if you hate pushing your way through hordes of people just to see some lights, then you should consider staying put at your warm home. It is also to be noted that not all malls and shops are open on Thanksgiving. Therefore, you should do your research before planning your day out on Thanksgiving. If you see that your favorite shop is closed on Thanksgiving, then do not be disheartened. Be assured that all shops are open on Black Friday.You can shop till you drop then.

Walk Through Candy Cane Lane

However much the rest of the world celebrates Thanksgiving, the 300 families of Candy Cane Lane have taken Holiday spirit to the next level.  This lane is located just north of Oklahoma Avenue in West Allis. But what is the big deal about this lane, you ask? Starting from Thanksgiving Day, this lane is adorned by hundreds of bright fairy lights set up by the residents of this area. They have retained the age-old tradition of hanging lights during the Holiday season and made a beautiful event out of that. If you want to take a quiet walk amongst this little lane alight with Holiday spirit, you are welcome to free of cost. However, you can consider donating some money to neighbors who will ultimately go to the MACC Fund.

Watch the Lighting of the Whale

The lighting of the whale is one of the quirkiest traditions of Thanksgiving in Milwaukee. It was started by the employees of the Milwaukee Public Museum to start the Holiday season in their way. It evolved from the tradition of wrapping the squid in fairy lights during the Holiday party of the museum. Eventually, the employees started to wrap the skeleton of the famous hump-backed whale in the strings of light. However, it is with great regret that the museum announced that this tradition is to be discontinued due to the bones of the whale being damages in the process. However, the Museum promises an event just as quirky and fun to trigger the Holiday season in style.

Walk Through Sesame Street

Sesame Street becomes a hub for all citizens to take a stroll during the Thanksgiving Holidays. It is an interactive tradition developed in the true Holiday spirit of making new friends and relations out of strangers. You have to pay $15-$68 to enter this interactive zone.

Like all other Western countries, Milwaukee also celebrates Thanksgiving in its own unique way. However, the only common thing about this unofficial start of Holiday season is the food, lights and the smile on everyone’s face.

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