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Bastille Days organizers announce new layout for 2018 festival in anticipation of streetcar operations

MILWAUKEE — Things will be a bit different in Cathedral Square Park this July during the 37th annual Bastille Days festival, slated to take place from July 12 through the 15. There will be a new layout this year, “in anticipation of streetcar operations,” organizers announced Thursday, Jan. 25.

While “The Hop” won’t be fully operational until late this year, the streetcar vehicles will be in a “testing phase” during the festival.

According to a news release from Bastille Days officials, Phase 1 of The Hop includes both east and west routes on Kilbourn Ave. — home to the main thoroughfare of Bastille Days. The two most noticeable changes of this year’s festival will include moving the main artery of the festival to Wells St. (from Kilbourn) and moving the festival’s iconic and popular Eiffel Tower south by 100 feet, into the north end of Cathedral Square Park. Kilbourn Ave. will still be utilized during the festival; however, pedestrian use will be scaled back.

The run route for the 2018 Associated Bank Storm the Bastille will not change under the new plan. The start and finish line will remain on Jefferson Street between Wells and Mason streets.

Organizers said in the release this will be a transitional year for the festival, as visitors will most likely be able to see streetcar vehicles throughout downtown this summer, but won’t be able to ride them because of the 1,000 hours required for testing.

Last year, the Forest County Potawatomi Community announced it would sponsor the streetcar for 12 years and cover free rides for the streetcar’s first year of operation. The Hop presented by Potawatomi Hotel and Casino will deliver riders to the front door of Bastille Days in 2019.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Bastille Days.