'Bigger and better every year:' Milwaukee Riverkeeper Boat Parade features floating art installations

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Riverkeeper officials joined with Brew City artists to celebrate Milwaukee's Rivers with floating art installations during Harbor Fest on Sunday, Sept. 8.

The Milwaukee Riverkeeper Boat Parade, a fun twist on a family classic, began at noon during the Harbor District's signature public event along the waterfront of Milwaukee's inner harbor -- traveling past popular riverfront bars and restaurants.

"My son mentioned that there was no candy being thrown to the crowd, and I said, 'If they did, half of it would end up in the water,'" said Dave Steele.

The sizable crowd taking part in the third annual Harbor Fest was excited for the unique parade floats that were actually floating in this case.

"It just gets bigger and better every year," said Lilith Fowler with Harbor Fest.

"I think I liked the sea turtle one the best," said James Steele. "It's the one where they put the entire boat cover by its shell. Then, they made the head move, and the fins move."

Officials said about 1,800 people took part throughout the day.

"So one of the things we're trying to do is bring people down, introduce them to the space, and figure out how we can all share," said Fowler.

Some came to watch the boats, while others just wanted to enjoy the festivities on a fall-like Sunday afternoon.

"It's great to get people down by the harbor, seeing the boats," said Dave Steele. "They were glued to the boats going by in the parade, so it was really cool. We'll be back next year!"