St. Patrick's Day in the Quad Cities

When I first moved to the Quad Cities nearly 15 years ago, one of the first things I found out was that there is a large Irish population in this area.  And one of the biggest times of the year in this city is St. Patrick's Day. 

MacsThere are a number of good Irish bars in the city - Murphy's in Rock Island, Mac's Tavern in downtown Davenport, the Irish Garden and The Circle Tap in west Davenport, and Pat McGuire's and Kelly's Irish Pub in northern Davenport.  They all get packed on St. Patrick's Day, packed to the point that there's too many people and it isn't very fun getting beer spilled on you and the line to the bathroom is 20 minutes long.

Still, that doesn't deter me from going out and having a good time.  Last night, Cindy and I went out to Kelly's to see Wicked Liz and the Bellyswirls, along with Spatterdash (playing their first gig since the death of their longtime bass player Randy Archer). 

Dan Kelly - the brother of Wicked Liz's Bob and Leo Kelly - is the managing partner at Kelly's.  They went all out for St. Patrick's Day this year.  Dan had a company put up a 60' by 90' foot big top tent in the parking lot in front of the place.  When we got there last night it was packed.  Leo saw me and said, "Hey, get up here and be our M.C. for the night!" I had no green on at all, but I do have green eyes.  Jerry Kelly - ANOTHER Kelly brother - gave an Irish toast, then I introduced the band and that was that.

I talked to Dan about 10:30 and he told me that based on the amount of wrist bands they gave out to people of drinking age during the course of the day, he estimated there were over 8000 people who came through Kelly's on St. Patrick's Day.

St_patricks_day_paradeBut the biggest event is the annual St. Patrick's Day parade - known as "The Grand Parade", which bills itself as the only Bi-State parade in the United States.  It's held on the closest Saturday to St. Patrick's Day and it's a big deal around here. 

Actually, it's more of a big drunken party than a parade.  Thousands of people begin over in Rock Island, then go across the Mississippi River on the Centennial Bridge and then end up in downtown Davenport - conveniently in front of Mac's Tavern and the other bars in the area.  But they're usually drinking heavily on the way over.  The only problem is that there aren't many bathrooms along the way, so they can't drink TOO much.      

There's local Irish clans and organizations that have floats and the like.  They throw beads and candy out to the crowds that are lined along the streets.  It's one of the few times the cops let people drink right on the street.  The annual St. Patrick's Day parade is a big party.   

After the parade, the crowd either goes to the downtown bars, or the other Irish bars in the area, and many go over to the big Post Parade Bash at the Col Ballroom just west of Downtown Davenport. 

St. Patrick's Day here in the Quad's is a big party and it's watched closely by the local police departments.  I was told one time by a cop I work with at a lot of events here in Davenport, Joe Blake, who heads up the traffic enforcement division for the Davenport Police Department that there are more people arrested for drunk driving on St. Patrick's Day than at any other time during the year - even more than New Year's Eve. 

Yes, I did drink green beer.  And Cindy did drive us home. 

Strategic Air and Space Museum - Ashland, NE

Air_and_space_museum_logoI like to go to Omaha on days when the sky is clear and the air is crisp.  Mainly because I like to see the various military planes that populate the sky. That's because just south of Omaha is Offutt Air Force base, which was the home of the Strategic Air Command when it was in existence.

Halfway between Omaha and Lincoln just off of Interstate 80 at the Ashland/South Bend exit (Exit 426, Nebraska State Highway 66 - see map) is the Strategic Air and Space Museum, a wonderful place to visit if you're in to planes, aerospace and military history.  I've been to the place about 7 or 8 times. 

As you pull up to this enormous facility, you'll see an Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile rocket out front, along with a Blue Scout rocket NASA uses for small payloads, and a Jupiter rocket, similar to the one used to send Explorer 1 into space to help discover the Van Allen Radiation belts

Sr71As you walk in the door, in the main lobby atrium they have an SR-71 Blackbird, a high-speed, high altitude surveillance plane used by the U.S. in the Cold War, suspended from the ceiling.  It's quite a stunning visual as you first come in.

B29_1There are three main areas of the museum.  On the main level, you can look into the Dunham Restoration hanger.  They happened to be working on a Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" when I was in there last.  It was pretty amazing to see.

Go down the escalators and hang a left at the bottom and you go into a huge hanger where you could easily have a football field inside.   This houses a number of planes including the largest military bomber ever made, the B-36.  It literally dwarfs the B-52 that sits next to it. 

That's right - the B-36 and the B-52 are sitting side by side.  That's how big this place is. 

B52abovecloudThe Boeing B-52.  These are big suckers.  But actually, when you get up close to them, they're not as big as you think.

B584There's also a B-47, the predecessor to the B-52; and a Convair/General Dynamics B-58 bomber in there, as well (shown above).  That's a pretty funky looking airplane.  It was the first supersonic bomber to be built in the U.S.

One of the more cool things in this hanger is a Russian MIG-21 from the North Vietnamese Air Force that was flown to the south by a pilot who wanted to defect.  It still has the North Vietnam star on the side of the plane.

There's also a B-25, an F-111, and an F-101 in the hanger along with many other planes.  That's right.  All in one hanger.  I'm tellin' ya - it's a big joint!

LostspacelogoThere's a center area under the main lobby between the two main hangers that has changing exhibits.  What they had in there for my last visit was "The Lost Spacecraft" - an exhibit and showing of Liberty Bell 7, the Mercury program space capsule that was lost in the Atlantic on July 21, 1961 after Virgil (Gus) Grissom's 15 minute flight sub-orbital flight, and was raised 38 years later by a team of salvage workers funded and backed by the Discovery Channel


Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom

Being somewhat of a "space geek" growing up, I really wanted to see this exhibit.  To get to the capsule I had to go down and through a series of displays.  There was a lot of memorabilia throughout the entrance area leading up to the Liberty Bell 7 display.

Finally, the entrance opened up into a room that showed the space capsule (which was restored as best as it could be by a team of historians and engineers at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS).  There were a number of items salvaged from the capsule including survival gear, knick-knacks and mementos Grissom took on the flight; and, surprisingly, hypodermic needles for medical injections in case something went wrong during the flight.  I've seen smaller injectors for putting marinade into beef or pork.

I lingered a little longer and looked around the capsule a couple times.  Wow.  Considering how small the capsule was, it's amazing to think how a man could fit inside that thing.   

Past the Freedom 7 exhibit and into the second large hanger (although smaller than the first one), they have a B-1A bomber on display - only one of 4 that were produced before they went with the B-1B bomber. 

Around the B1-A bomber was a display called "Power by Design", which displayed a number of sports cars to show the correlation of power and speed in design.  I'm guessing the sports cars belonged to Chip Davis, the creative force behind Mannheim Steamroller.  Davis has lent some of his sports cars to the museum in the past, and the 15 or so cars on display were similar to the ones that I'd seen in there in the past.  Since the display started at the end of October and would go through to the end of March, I figured that Davis probably found some place to garage his cars for the winter. 

Apollo_capsuleThere's also a British Hawker Vulcan on display in this room, as well as a C-119 "Flying Boxcar".  There's also a couple of transports helicopters suspended from the ceiling.  Plus they had replicas of a couple of the Apollo command modules on display.   

Some days there are former pilots from Offutt Air Force Base at the museum who will answer questions about various planes and procedures.  I talked to a guy one time about three years ago who used to be a pilot for the "Looking Glass" aircraft - a Boeing C-135 that was used as the flying command post for communications and forward control in the case of a nuclear attack. 

I remember seeing a C-135 with only an American flag on its tail doing a "touch and go" at the Des Moines airport a number of years ago.  I had always wondered if that was the "Looking Glass" and I asked him if it were possible that I did see one do a touch and go.

He told me, "Yeah, we used to do 'touch and go's' all the time to break up the boredom."  He said there were 3 "Looking Glass" planes and when one would finish an 8 hour shift, before it would land another "Looking Glass" plane would be taking off to take its place in the sky.  The missions ended in 1990. 

At the museum, there's also a gift shop that's kind of cool, a snack bar and some other periodic displays on hand.  I hardly ever get out of there in less than 90 minutes, and like I say, I've been there 7 or 8 times.  It never bores me. 

Even if you're not into planes, the Strategic Air and Space Museum is quite a place to visit.  The size of the place, alone, is worth the price of admission ($7.00).  But the historical value of the place is priceless.  It's definitely worth the visit.

The Spam Museum - Austin, MN

Spam_1Even though it wasn't fully open when we were there, one of the more interesting places that we've been to over the past few years has been the Spam Museum in Austin, MN.

No really!  It's pretty friggin' cool!

Spam_museum_2The Spam Museum is next to an annex of offices for the Hormel Foods Company (see map) - one of the largest food manufacturers and marketers in the world - which is headquartered in Austin. The present museum replaced a much smaller museum and has been open for a little over 4 years. 

You wouldn't think that Spam would be interesting, but from what we saw of the museum, we knew that we were going to have to come back sometime to go through the whole thing. 

Spam_museum_logo_3We were there on Labor Day morning.  We were disappointed the museum wasn't open, but the gift shop was.  There were two ladies working at the gift shop and we were their first and only customers of the day, so far. 

Since we were the only ones there, one of the ladies let us go back into the museum to look around.  There were still some finishing touches to be done.  But for the most part, it was about a week or so from opening.  She said, "There's no one here today since it's Labor Day.  I don't think I'd get in trouble if I just let you guys poke your heads in." 

(As an aside - the museum was to open on Sept. 15, but with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Hormel people decided to delay the grand opening.  They did have a "soft opening" of the museum in September of that year, but their official Grand Opening wasn't until the following June during their annual "Spam Jam" jazz concert.)

She pointed out a "hands on" area where people would be able to wear the hard hats and smocks like they do in the Hormel plant that makes Spam.  There was going to be an interactive area and a number of little vignettes, small theaters, historical pictures and letters from prominent people.

The one area that really fascinated me was the area that showed Spam's importance to the American troops and their allies during World War II.  There were some facts on a wall that gave many instances of Spam's contributions to the war.  One fact was the amount of Spam the allies air dropped to the Russians during the Siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Moscow during the Nazi siege in WWII.  It was something like 16,000 tons of Spam that was dropped.  That's a LOT of Spam. 

Spam_gift_shop_1Actually, the coolest thing about the museum was the gift shop.  Boy, they sold EVERYTHING there.  They had hats, basketballs, pencils, key chains, shirts, boxer shorts, sandals - about anything you could think of to put the Spam logo on.  You can look at what they have to offer in their gift shop here.

We blew over $100 bucks that day just picking up nifty little things at the shop.  We could have easily spent TRIPLE that amount had we not been conscious of the fact that we were buying a lot.   

We're going to go back sometime, we just haven't been up that way for a while.  But I think it would be worth your while to stop in if you're ever in the Austin area.  It really is something to see. 

Christmas in Chicago - Redux

As I said in an earlier post - Cindy and I had to take our daughter into Chicago for a flight to England.  We stayed downtown for a couple nights and we went out and took a bunch of pictures of the night scenery around the downtown area.

P1050097_1This is the tree in the courtyard of the Chase Bank building on West Madison Street.  We thought it was a pretty striking color considering all the multi-colored trees that were around town.

P1050102 The windows of the Marshall Field store on State Street are always good to look at during the Christmas season.  This year's theme was "Cinderella"  and the story of Cinderella was told via mechanical figures in 11 separate windows.

P1050105Here's another shot of one of the windows at Marshall Field.  This is when the prince is trying to fit the glass slipper onto the foot of one of Cinderella's wicked step-sisters.

P1050112 Here's the Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza just west of Marshall Field and next to the huge Picasso sculpture.  I wish I had a tripod with us when I took this picture.  It was a neat tree and it smelled great!

P1050116 This was a display in Daley Plaza that featured a small gauge railroad set running around the inside of the fencing.  I liked the way the people are silouetted against the lighted trees inside the fence.

P1050129 Skaters at the ice rink at Millenium Park.  It was a little brisk that evening, but there were tons of people on the ice and a lot of people standing in line to rent skates before the place closed at 10 p.m.


A picture of the skating rink taken from above the rental/snack shop building.

P1050185 A picture of the Millenium Park Cloud Gate "Egg" sculpture with the skyline of Chicago in the background.  The diamond shaped building is The Associates building.  The building to it's immediate right is the old Doral Plaza.  I used to stay there years ago when they had the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago each summer.


The Crown Fountain video display with the skyline in the background.


Looking west from Millenium Park to Washington Street with Michigan Avenue crossing to the left and right.


The Christmas Tree in the plaza of the John Hancock Building.  That's the Old Water Tower in the background.

P1050210Looking south on Michigan Avenue from the corner of Chestnut and N. Michigan.  That's the Old Water Tower in the center of the picture.


This is the Chicago Waterworks Visitors Center building across from the Old Water Tower.


Cindy under a canopy of lights next to the Old Water Tower.


Looking south on North Michigan Ave.


The NBC Tower.


(Lower Left) The Wrigley Building taken from across the street in the NBC Tower Plaza.

P1050220Looking north on North Michigan Ave.

I love Chicago, but I'll tell you, we missed a lot of great photos because we didn't bring the tripod.  Cindy even said before we left, "Don't forget the tripod."  But I did.  Oh well.  It's not like Chicago is going away any time soon.

Can't wait to go back in the summertime for shots of Millenium Park and Grant Park. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland

Rr_hof_logoCindy and I went out to Cleveland a couple summers ago and one of the places that I most certainly wanted to visit was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museum.  I grew up with rock and roll, I've played rock and roll, I still listen to rock and roll.  To me, it was like a pilgrimage to a shrine that I knew I had to visit one day.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located on Cleveland's lakefront, just east of the Cleveland Browns new football stadium.   It's a striking building with a glass pyramid look to it. 

Will_at_rr_hof Me in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cameras aren't allowed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they have a courtesy checkroom for your cameras if you bring one. 

July_26_2004_070One of the cool things that was going on when we were in Cleveland was the painted guitars on street corners and in front of businesses and restaurants all through the downtown area.  They had a bunch of them inside and outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We were able to take pictures of some of them before we went in.

We got our tickets and went down a long escalator to the museum exhibits.  Man, my head was just spinning.  The permanent collection pieces were just unbelievable.  A whole section on Jimi Hendrix (including a theater with a 15 minute loop of some of his past performances), the suits John Lennon and Ringo Starr wore on The Ed Sullivan Show, guitars and instruments from famous rockers over the years, a "Music of Ohio" section that celebrated a number of rock stars and groups from the state, and a number of clothes and outfits worn by rock stars in the past. 

It was just overwhelming to me.  There was just too much to see.  It took us, probably, 3 hours just to go through the exhibits downstairs.  I was in a literal daze. 

One of the rooms had a display of a number of photographs shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.  It was pretty neat.  There were some famous pictures she shot for the cover of Rolling Stone, as well as a number of other obscure photos and some documentation with them. 

After we went through the downstairs exhibits, we went up to the second floor and they had a theater that did nothing but show the speeches of those presenting the inductees and the inductees (or their relatives) themselves.  We didn't stick around for that. 

We went up to the third floor and there was a special display of the clothing and gowns The Supremes used to wear back in the 60's and early 70's.  A lot of the stuff came from former Supreme Mary Wilson's private collection.  Cindy was into that pretty heavily.  I thought it was neat as they did have the pictures of the gals wearing the dresses next to the dresses on hanging racks or mannequins, but I wasn't as thrilled as Cindy was.

One thing that I was sort of disappointed in was that there was no section in the museum that celebrated the Hall of Fame inductees, either with pictures or plaques.  There was a tribute to some of the old radio voices that pioneered rock and roll, but nothing on the inductees themselves, other than the speeches in the one theater. 

But the thing that got me more than anything else was the Hall of Fame store.  Not so much for the crap they were selling at inflated prices, but for the large selection of hard to find CD's.  CD's of bands from the 50's, 60's and 70's that I thought would never make it onto CD.  I really wanted to spend a lot of time in there, but Cindy was getting hungry and tired (we spent nearly 5 hours in the place).

I'd really like to go back again some day and take a closer look at not only the exhibits, but at the CD's they have to offer.  I can't seem to find any of the ones they offered online, and they don't sell them from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame site, so I'm going to have to take my time and peruse the CD's the next time I'm there.

Cleveland was a surprising city to us.  We'll go back again someday. 

Downtown Chicago at Christmas

I'm not big on the Christmas season, especially when I have to do the decorations.  But I do like going to festive places and taking in the sights.  And downtown Chicago between Thanksgiving and New Years Day is just the place to go.

Chicago_at_christmas I was in downtown Chicago for a good portion of a day calling on accounts earlier this week and I drove along Michigan Ave and saw all the trees that are lit up 24 hours a day, the great colors of the window displays, the people out walking.  I ended up going over on State St. and looking at the wonderful Christmas displays in Marshall Field's windows.  This year's theme is Cinderella. It kind of got me fired up about the season.

I ended up parking at a garage near Nordstrom's off of Michigan Ave. and took a cab around to some of the places I needed to go.  I ended up at 900 N. Michigan seeing a Tweeter store there and I decided to walk back to my car along Michigan Ave.  I didn't have a heavy winter jacket on - I always seem to come to Chicago unprepared for the weather - but I was warm enough to make the 20 to 25 minute walk back to the car.

The sights were really nice.  Downtown Chicago is such a great destination any time of the year, but it's even nicer during the Holiday season. 

South Haven, MI

On the west coast of the state of Michigan, tucked nicely into the Blueberry region of the state, South Haven (see map) is a place that Cindy and I went to for a few days a couple three years ago.  I don't quite remember how Cindy came up with the place - she read about it on-line or something.  And it's not that far from Davenport - about a 4 hour drive if you hit traffic right going through the south side of Chicago. 

We found a place called the Lake Bluff Inn overlooking Lake Michigan just south of town.  Parts of the place are older, but they just added on a new wing that updated their facilities nicely.  We opted for one of the older suites - it was cozy, but dated.   And since we went so late in the season, they gave us the winter rates on the room, which knocked about 35% off the price compared to summer rates. 

South Haven bills itself as the "Blueberry Capital of the World" and they have a big festival celebrating blueberry harvests in late August.  We were a little late for blueberries from the big places that sold them, but we did find a road side stand just outside of South Haven that was selling very good blueberries. 

South Haven is a typical tourist town - and we're glad we didn't go in the summertime.  There are shops of all kinds in the downtown area.  Some are the typical tourist traps, but others are pretty nifty - Cindy especially like the Rambling Rose, kind of an artsy store along the main street. 

They have a number of good little restaurants, but nothing really outstanding.  However, a couple restaurants - Tello's Trattoria and Pigozzi's - did stand out.  Tello's is an old Italian supperclub just outside of South Haven that was very good.  And it wasn't overly expensive, either. 

Pigozzi's is located in the North Beach Inn - a little bed and breakfast on the north side of South Haven.  Actually, the owner of the Rambling Rose and her husband own the North Beach Inn and Pigozzi's.  We went to dinner there one night after meeting her and her husband at her shop.  Actually, the food was very good there.  We even went back for breakfast the day we left South Haven.  They took us on a tour of their B&B and Cindy and I both said that we'd like to stay there when we go back. 

Pigozzi's and North Beach Inn is open from March thru January 1.  They were telling us that they used to close in December, but South Haven has become such a neat destination for the Christmas season - and the fact that they are packed for dinner and the inn is full on New Year's Eve every year - they decided to stay open longer. 

South Haven is also just down the road from Saugatuck - a neat little artists community along the lake.  We went up there for a day and hung out, looking at the shops and other things.  And Holland, Michigan is just a little further up the road.  It's a nice midwestern community that has more of a larger city feel to it.  It's a Dutch community and they have a Tulip Time festival that rivals the one in Pella, IA

But I wholly recommend going to South Haven for a nice little getaway.  I know we'll go back.

Bass Pro Shops - Springfield, MO

BpsThere's a place that I have to go to every time I'm in Springfield, MO that is too neat to pass up.  The original Bass Pro Shops was big when I first visited in 1987, but they'd added on tremendously between that time and when I went back in 2004.

Bass_pro_springfield First of all, you don't have to hunt or fish or camp to enjoy the place.  There's a lot of interesting stuff  on display - both for sale and for show - that can lure you deeper into the rest of the store. The motif is decidedly northwoods with a lot of cozy cabin designs all through the store.  They have a large clothing area for both casual and sport apparel, hunting and fishing supplies and accessories, and an indoor shooting range.  They have household and camping supplies, as well as food stuff items.

Splashkp3They have both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, a little brook going through the downstairs area by the camping supplies, a three story water fall, a turtle exhibit, and a Wonders of Wildlife "zooquarium".  I haven't been in the Wonders of Wildlife exhibit because it costs $10 bucks to get in, and I usually end up spending too much time in the Bass Pro Shop, itself. 

Hemingways Also in the building is a very good restaurant, Hemingway's Blue Water Cafe, on the third floor next to the water fall.  Hemingway's has good seafood (although their selection is not as numerous as it was when I first ate there in the 80's), beef and pork, as well as sandwiches and lunch specials during the day.  Years ago, I ran into an old boyfriend of one of my sisters, Jim Kahler, who lived in Springfield, and he was out drinking with a buddy of his, Arley Clark, who just happened to be the director of catalog sales for Bass Pro Shops.  Arley invited me in for a tour of Bass Pro and lunch at Hemingway's one day and I took him up on it.  I've had dinner at Hemingway's two or three times.  The seafood selections were very good - especially for a landlocked community like Springfield.

Tracker_logo_smOne other thing that Bass Pro Shops in Springfield has is a huge Tracker Boat showroom that is open 24 hours.  In fact, the showroom for Tracker Boats is in the area where the old catalog sales area was when I first went to Bass Pro in the 80's.  It's fun to go and and check out the fishing boats, the "party barges" and just to see what they're coming up with in the newest technology for boating. 

There are a number of Bass Pro Shops around the nation (click here to find a store near you), most of them are in the east and southeast of the US, but I see they're getting ready to open out in California very soon.  But I have to say that I've been to three or four of them around the Midwest and if any of the others are like those, they're impressive, but they don't hold a candle to the original location down in Springfield.

Summerfest - Milwaukee

Summerfest_gate(Photo by Nicole Bruni) One of the best destinations to go in the summer is to Milwaukee and to the annual Summerfest celebration.  Held annually during the end of of June and into early July for 11 days on the Henry Maier Festival Grounds along the lakeshore in downtown Milwaukee, Summerfest is the largest music festival in North America (and possibly in the world!).   They've hit 1 million visitors a couple times and continue to draw over 900,000 people for the event.

The Summerfest grounds sports 9 stages, including the Marcus Amphitheater that seats around 18,000 and has room for 6000 more in the upper grass area.  The major touring bands will play there during all nights of Summerfest.  Local, regional and nationally known bands are spread out at the other 8 stages across the Summerfest grounds.   

It's about $12 to get in and that gives you full access to all the grounds stages with the exception of the Marcus Amphitheater.   However, with some acts, they'll hand stamp the first 6,000 people who come during the day who want to sit up on the grassy area at the top of the amphitheater. 

There's food and beer available every where across the grounds.  You have a taste for virtually anything, it's probably found at Summerfest.  From Mexican to ribs to gyros to Italian to burgers to something on a stick, Summerfest has it. 

Most of the beers are Miller or Leininkugel products, with small breweries and brewpubs such as Sprecher and Water Street Brewing Company having areas, as well. 

Summerfest opens at 11 a.m. each day and closes at midnight.  It's good to go down to Summerfest during the day through the week as the crowds aren't too bad.  The weekends and the 4th of July holiday usually draws the biggest crowds.  Actually, opening night is usually pretty busy as they have "The Big Bang" - one of the largest fireworks displays in North America. 

You can begin to see who is going to be playing at Summerfest on the Marcus Stage as well as the other stages as early as April.  Bands are usually booked by the end of May and the daily schedule is available on the web site. 

Cindy and I have been to Summerfest many times.  She's a little burned out on it, and I haven't been in a couple of years.  Longtime Summertime director, Bo Black, was ousted three years ago.  She stepped on a few toes along the way of making Summerfest what it is today.   

Actually, for those of us who went for years and years, the post - Bo Black Summerfest just doesn't have the same feel.  They're trying different things, new bands, and new ideas to help cut down on teenage and young adult rowdiness at Summerfest.  I think the band line-up has suffered since Bo left and the attraction to Summerfest isn't the same as it once was.

If you can't make it to Summerfest, the city of Milwaukee hosts a number of other ethnic festivals including Festa Italiana, German Fest, Irish Fest and Polish Fest.

Still, if you've never gone to Summerfest, or have been there only a couple times, it's worth a day to spend there. 

Hey, This Place is Neat!

During my travels, there are places that I come across or have to go back to that are unique and interesting.  I'll talk about some of those places here.