SummerFest led the way in 1 968—the brainchild of Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier, as reported in Beric’ht #4. During the 1 970s, after SummerFest had found a dedicated location (later to be named Maier Park), Mayor Maier challenged the city’s ethnic communities to sponsor more festivals to celebrate their cultures.
This year’s festival season began with PrideFest, from 6 June through 8 June, followed by Polish Fest from 1 3 June to 1 5 June. After SummerFest came Festa Italiana (1 8-20 July), followed by GermanFest (25-27 July, which featured 93 wiener dogs racing in the 9th annual Dachshund Derby) and Arab World Fest (8-1 0 August). Currently being held at Maier Park is Irish Fest, running from 1 4 to 1 7 August. This year’s Irish Fests features special Brian Boru Millennium events, commemorating the 1 000th anniversary of the death of Ireland’s most famous High King at the Battle of Clontarf in 1 01 4. Next comes the Mexican Fiesta (22-24 August), and finally the festival season will be concluded with the Indian Summer Festival (5-7 September) celebrating Native American culture.
Most of these festivals have thirty or more years of history, and several (including the Polish, Italian, German, and Irish festivals) are the largest of their kind in North America. The fact that most of these festivals began between the founding of Talossa and the late 1 980s presumably helps explain the creation of “TalossaFest” as a cultural festival of Talossa’s own in 1 989. B