RNC Milwaukee welcome party at Summerfest grounds takes Wisconsin focus

The Republican National Convention will bring worldwide attention to Milwaukee starting July 15; a big party the day before will welcome roughly 15,000 guests and shut down a major bridge.

The nonpartisan Milwaukee 2024 Host Committee is teaming up with local businesses to host the welcome party, called "Red, White & Brew." It will be held on Sunday, July 14 at Henry Maier Festival Park, the Summerfest grounds. It'll feature Wisconsin food and drink favorites. Country music star Trace Adkins will perform.

Majic Productions is producing the party. 

"This is the first welcome for all these people, some of which are traveling quite far to come into our city and experience Milwaukee and our beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan," said Michael Jurken, president of Majic Productions. 

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Jurken said the party itself will feature an array of food options from local vendors, including different tastes of Wisconsin, including: the feel of an up north supper club; a German-themed tent; a beer garden; a Wisconsin tailgate zone; jazz in the park; a "cork and curd" area.

Majic Productions often produces presidential rallies for both parties. The company organized parties for both teams at this year's Super Bowl and did the same for several other Super Bowls. They also prepared the NBA championship festivities for the Bucks in 2021. Now, they're getting ready for the welcome party.

"We want them to think: ‘If this is just Sunday night, this is just day one, what does the city and the state have to offer for the rest of the week?’" Jurken said.

The party will feature an air-conditioned old-fashioned bar, with drinks by Milwaukee's Central Standard Craft Distillery.

"You’re going to be able to choose a brandy or a bourbon, and then you go to the next station and you can add sweet, sour or press, and then you can add your garnish to it, so we really want to showcase things that are really strong Wisconsin ties," said Jim Kanter of Central Standard Craft Distillery.

The distillery is part of a new group, the 414 Council, that is helping the Host Committee host the welcome party.

"We formed this 414 Council to showcase Milwaukee, right? So, it’s people that are Democrats, people that are Republicans, really just coming together to really just showcase the best of Milwaukee," added Kanter.

"This is a big boost for our business. It’s a great opportunity to showcase that, it’s a great opportunity to showcase the great brands that we have," said Kanter. "The more people coming in, and seeing it, the better for everybody."

Because of the welcome party, the the U.S. Secret Service plans to block off roads around Henry Maier Festival Park on Sunday, July 14. That includes shutting down the iconic Hoan Bridge. 

Security footprint for 2024 RNC welcome party in Milwaukee

The welcome party is not open to the public; it’s for delegates and other guests in town for the convention.

"Now we can show: 'Hey, look at this place. It’s amazing, its incredible," said Jurken. "And we’re rolling out the red carpet literally and figuratively for all these delegates and guests."


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