Bastille Days is back: Milwaukee’s French festival returns with something for everyone

Bastille Days

MILWAUKEE -- There are a lot of festivals in Milwaukee, but fans say none is quite like Bastille Days, which kicked off Thursday, July 12.

"Everyone is in a really good mood," said Fred Gillich, selling merchandise at Bastille Days.

One look and it was easy to see the event was off to a hot start.

"Bastille Days is actually one of my favorite festivals," said Azmi Aladdin, restaurant owner.

Azmi Alladin

Bastille Days

Milwaukee's French festival is perhaps more diverse than any other in the city.

"You know, it's like the international airport terminal, you know? Everyone is coming from all over," said Gillich.

You can smell it in the food -- that's for sure. It's one of the few festivals Azmi Aladdin keeps coming back to.

"I used to do 11 festivals a year, including Summerfest, and in the end, I kept only three that are my favorite and Bastille Days is one of them because the people are classy," said Aladdin.

Bastille Days

Not French? Don't worry. Fred Gillich has you covered.

"We've got countries. A lot of them are in the World Cup -- Croatia, Germany, Mexico," said Gillich.

This marks Gillich's 10th year selling his unique brand of shirts and hats at Bastille Days. He said he feels there's something for every person.

Fred Gillich

"You know, you're right in the heart of it. You get to see people from all walks of life here," said Gillich.

New this year, the Milwaukee streetcar rails run right through, so concessions are on either side. Of course, The Hop isn't running yet, so visitors don't have to dodge the train.