I don't know if I've shared this or not but I am a total sucker for traditions. It might just be that traditions sort of play into my OCD tendencies, but for one reason or another, I love 'em.
Coming up this week I will be participating in the 8th year of one of my very favorite traditions. Way back in the summer of 2004, when I was living in Minneapolis in an apartment on campus with three of my sorority sisters, during one of the most eventful summers of my life, I was able to convince my two best friends (and roommates) that Summerfest was the greatest event ever to take place...ever. This was on the tail of my three year streak of never missing a SINGLE day of Summerfest (read: I was nuts.) I was sad about not living in Milwaukee for the summer (notoriously the BEST time to live in Milwaukee) and knew that while I couldn't make the entire 11 days of the festival, I had to make it back for at least some of it. And why not drag my roommates with me? So we piled into cars and made the 6 hour trek back for the start of a long lived and memory filled tradition. One that at the time, we had no idea we were starting.
Fast forward eight years and we're still friends. Boyfriends have come and gone, degrees have been acquired, jobs have been accepted and resigned from, apartments rented, houses bought, hell one of us even got a husband in those 8 years. But the Summerfest tradition is going strong. The group has grown and shrunk and grown again, but the original three have never missed a year.
Our priorities have changed a bit, we prefer quieter scenes and drink considerably less. But some parts have carried on and will forever.
We always make it to Summerfest at least one night. Nowadays there's a lot more complaining about the drunk teenagers there. Ironic given that at the start of our tradition we WERE the drunk teenagers there. We stay to the side and leave earlier than close, but we make it there.
There is always a trip to Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago. Cheese curds are a staple to the tradition.
We spend Sunday at my parents' house. There's booze drinking, hammock laying, pool swimming, and lots of catching up. My mom makes way too much delicious food and my dad mows a Boccearena (an actual course for our annual Girls vs. Boys Bocceball Game) into their front lawn.
As of last year, we try to include Jazz in the Park on Thursday. If there's time we go to the Pleasant Prairie Outlets (a favorite among the male participants for sure).
This year we're adding a few new activities. We'll be touring Miller Park (since we have YET to play the weekend they're down here), and Lakefront Brewery. Paddle boats on the lake front and a museum if there's time. We're trying some new places (to the guests) to eat and drink (Swig, Olive Pit, Stubby's, Bryant's), and keeping some favorites in there too (The Yard at the Iron Horse, we discovered this last year.)
I can't even put into words how much I look forward to this weekend each year. It's my own version of taking a major trip. It's an escape in my own city that I love so dearly. I get to surround myself with some of my favorite people who walk this Earth, and show of my dear Milwaukee. How much better could it possibly get?