11:12 AM

Milwaukee World Festival Inc. officially opens new North Gate and Community Plaza

Project made possible through partnership with American Family Insurance


American Family Chairman and CEO Jack Salzwedel also announces the creation of "Let the Music Play" grant program for music students in Milwaukee County.

Jack Salzwedel, American Family Insurance chairman and CEO
“Entering its second year, our sponsorship of Summerfest has solidified our belief that investing in community events and projects is important to us, our customers, and to the health of our communities."
Jack Salzwedel, American Family Insurance chairman and CEO

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. today officially opened the new North Gate and Community Plaza, which has been under construction since last fall. The project was made possible through a partnership with American Family Insurance and will connect Henry Maier Festival Park to the new Lakefront Gateway Project and downtown Milwaukee, as well as providing a new entrance for festival-goers.









American Family Insurance also announced the creation of the Summerfest “Let The Music Play” grant program which will award a $2,500 grant and performance opportunities to six Milwaukee County non-profit organizations that support student participation in music. More information is available at

At the ceremony, the new public amenities for the area, which is adjacent to Urban Park were also unveiled, including a new turnstile area, new box office, accessible benches and seating area, interactive play structures, bike parking and more. In addition, the Community Plaza will now feature unique interactive music spaces, including:

  • A percussion jam garden with drums, xylophones, chimes and metallophones

  • A chime garden – individually resonated aluminum keys and posts placed together, featuring six stations.

  • Interactive electronic sound and light Drum Organ sculpture – this one-of-a-kind installation blends light and sound technology, allowing fans to play music on four keyboard-like consoles, which emit sound and light.

“The official ribbon cutting ceremony today represents a culmination of years of hard work and planning with various city, county, and park departments and we are thrilled to provide a beautiful new entry on the north end of Henry Maier Festival Park,” said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “We are happy to introduce the new American Family Insurance North Gate and Community Plaza to festival fans and Milwaukee area residents who can enjoy this area year-round.”

“Entering its second year, our sponsorship of Summerfest has solidified our belief that investing in community events and projects is important to us, our customers, and to the health of our communities,” said Jack Salzwedel, American Family Insurance chairman and CEO. “Now with today’s announcement of the Let the Music Play Program, we're proud to give our support to music programs in Milwaukee County schools and the students who participate in them, by giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents publicly at Summerfest and other venues.”

Eppstein Uhen Architects served as the lead designer for the project, with Pierce Engineering performing the structural engineering, and CG Schmidt performing construction management services.

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About Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. is an independent, private 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1965 that produces Summerfest, presented by American Family Insurance, an 11-day festival that generates approximately $181.3 million in direct and indirect economic impact for the community each year. Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. also maintains Henry Maier Festival Park, located on 75 acres on the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to Summerfest, Henry Maier Festival Park hosts a variety of ethnic and cultural festivals, concerts, walks, runs, and other special events, attracting nearly 1.3 million people.

The mission of the organization is to promote an understanding of different ethnic cultures, the histories and traditions of various nationalities, harmony in the community, civic pride and provide a showcase for performing arts, activities and recreation for the public and employment opportunities for the youth of the community. For more details, visit, or Twitter: @Summerfest.

About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 311 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Web; Facebook; Twitter