The unofficial mayor of Bay View (and my good friend) Bill Rouleau is at it again. Bill has obviously been busy, because three of the best events the neighborhood puts on all year go down over the next few weeks, and I plan on being at each.
The first is the sixth annual Dog Day Afternoon, which takes place this Sunday at noon. It begins with a sincere blessing of the dogs by Father Tom Wittliff at the Immaculate Conception Church, followed by a canine ice cream social (for lack of a better word) at Bella's Fat Cat, then a dog costume contest back at Cataldo's, 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. As I've done a few times, I'm one of the "celebrity" judges, though, if Bill is including me, then clearly the bar is set very low for the title of "celebrity." The event wraps up with a raffle, with all proceeds benefitting the Wisconsin Humane Society.
"The grand prize is a doozy and has literally resulted in numerous attempts of bribery," says Bill. "But I cannot be bought."
Next up is literally my favorite Milwaukee event of the year, Biketoberfest, on Oct. 17. Now in its amazing eighth year, this is a pub crawl by bike that takes 250 plus riders through spooky cemetaries and to taverns most of us never knew existed. It's a long, challenging route to novice bikers, but after a few pints, it becomes quite a bit more tolerable.
"We always stress safety and emphasize that this isn't in any way shape or form a Critical Mass ride, nor is it a race," says Bill. "We take great pains to keep the ride off of major thoroughfares, and in addition, to pre-empt the 'tsk tsking talkbackers,' we also tell people to regulate their intake."
That's some great advice. I do this every fall and wholeheartedly endorse the event that kicks off at 6 p.m. at Cataldo's. The group, many clad in costumes, rides in rain, wind and/or starry skies.
The final event is the Pumpkin Pavilion, a wonderfully family-friendly event that wraps up at Humboldt Park on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24. But before that, pumpkin lovers can carve jack-o-lanterns at Bella's on Tuesday, Club Garibaldi on Wednesday and at the park pavilion on Thursday. With live music, facepainting and games for the kids, this is another "Bill labor of love."
"We normally donate all our pumpkins to Will Allen for composting, but this year since it's the week before Halloween, people can swing by and grab jack-o-lanterns to take home starting at 10 a.m.," says Bill.
I should note that Bill hates when I tell people this, but I'm gonna do it, anyway: He doesn't make any money on these (or the other handful of other) community events he marshals. He simply devotes his time, recruits volunteers and donates proceeds to charity. Similarly, he doesn't shamelessly self-promote these events, and counts on word of mouth, blogs like these and sporadic posters to get the word out -- so I can't point you to a Web site for more information.
Instead, just visit Bill at his record shop, Rush-Mor Records, or where he bartends, Palomino, and ask him yourself if you have questions. And maybe buy a CD or a beer while you're there.
These three events make Bay View a better neighborhood, and are the kind of community-building gatherings that remind my why I'm so happy to call this area my home.
Having participated in past Biketoberfests I can say that injuries are rare. With the exception of a couple people attempting dumb bicycle stunts and failing at them, no one has been injured (this does not include hangovers).
BV Patty | Oct. 12, 2009 at 11:24 a.m. (report)
The Bay View Neighborhood Association loves Bill! We've been working together on the Pumpkin Pavilion, and he is a dream! We are very lucky to have him in our 'hood! He's a great partner in our organization.
Consuming even one alcoholic beverage and then riding a bike is a terrible idea. We need to change the drinking culture in this state! Also, bike riders need to keep their eyes and ears in peak focus to avoid the evil cell phone talking/texting motorist maniacs out there. Don't be a victim.
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