Waukesha Memorial Day Parade returns, new safety measures in place

A busy week for downtown Waukesha starts with Monday's Memorial Day Parade – the city's first parade since November's Christmas Parade attack.

The Memorial Day Parade is just the start. Friday Night Live returns to downtown next Friday, June 3. Both events will see new barriers in place to help block traffic.

Downtown Waukesha is like a second home to musician Cateyln Picco.

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"I’ve played at Steaming Cup, Crush Wine Bar, the Guitar for Life Café – the list goes on," she said.

However, her biggest gig comes every summer as hundreds gather for Friday Night Live.

"They close down the streets," said Picco. "It’s kind of like this big street party of live music."

The 23-year-old has performed country music at Friday Night Live for seven years. Her focus has always been delivering a good show, not worrying about her safety. That is, until heartbreak unfolded during the city's Christmas Parade.

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"Something like that never really crossed my mind," Picco said.

Police say Darrell Brooks Jr. drove his SUV into the crowd, killing six people and injuring dozens of others. When Friday Night Live returns, barriers will block the streets.

 "It is the MVB 3X modular vehicle barrier system," said Police Capt. Dan Baumann.

The city of Waukesha purchased the barriers in April for $800,000 in hopes of preventing someone from driving through. Friday Night Live won't be the first time they will be used – they will be out for Monday's Memorial Day Parade.

"It’s sad to me that it’s something we have to do now, but I’m thankful for the extra security we do have," Ashleigh Davis, unsure if she will take her family to the parade, said. "It’s still heartbreaking to think about. Especially with kids. It’s a scary thing."

New Waukesha parade route

It will be the city's first parade since the November attack, one with a new route that will be in place for all future parades. Police said the new route will help keep traffic away – another reminder of how the community changed.

"I think it’s something we should never forget and will never forget," said Picco.

Sunday night, parking will be restricted within the parade's perimeter. Any car parked along the route will be towed starting at 7 a.m. Monday, May 30.