Crews prep for extreme heat as Summerfest gets set for kick off

MILWAUKEE -- Summerfest kicks off it's 45th anniversary festival Wednesday, June 27th, and forecasters say it's going to be a steamy start to the Fest! Festival organizers say they don't want people to stay home -- they just want fest-goers to come prepared.

Summerfest officials say staying hydrated is key when dealing with large crowds and extreme heat.

"Hydrate before coming to the event. Stay hydrated when you're here. Find areas of shade," V.P. of Summerfest, John Boler said.

One of the best places to find shade is Summerfest's new BMO Harris Pavillion, located right along the water's edge with a 50,000 square foot roof to shield fest-goers from the sun.

Another venue meant to help fest-goers beat the heat is the Columbia St. Mary's "Cool Down Lounge," equipped with air conditioning.

Summerfest officials say they've added staff in anticipation of temperatures in the 90s.

Bell Ambulance will have as many as 16 staff members on the Summerfest grounds and also say the most important thing is remembering to stay hydrated.

"Most often what we do is bring people back to the first aid stations, where it`s air conditioned. We sit them for a short time and then they`re on their way,"Christopher Anderson with Bell Ambulance said.

There is no air conditioning inside the kitchen at Major Goolsby's on the Summerfest grounds, but employees seem to understand the importance of finding a spot to stay cool.

"For breaks I always tell the kids 'quick - go in the freezer for awhile 'and if can`t find the worker they are more than not, in the freezer cooling off," Major Goolsby's manager Lindsay Kessenich said.

Summerfest crews were working Tuesday on setting up a few extra misting stations in addition to the three already on the grounds.

Boler said officials will be watching the forecast closely, because if a heat advisory is issued, that will change the carry-in policy.

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