Urban Life


Ron and Kathy Verkuilen went to Summerfest on their first date 45 years ago. The music, the food and the tradition have lured them back every summer.

“Summerfest has become more modern and spread out. Originally it wasn’t this big, and they have paved it so it’s easier to walk around,” said Kathy Verkuilen.

Two long-time friends, Carol Boroxicz and Kathy Potter, have also been to Summerfest every year since it started, and continue to come back for music, fun and food.

Both agreed that the bus schedule makes it easy to get to the lakefront where Summerfest has been held each year for 11 days from the end of June to early July.

In addition to the food and music, tight security has helped keep Summerfest safe so people can enjoy what Summerfest touts as the world’s largest music festival.

Dorothy Fare, one of Summerfest’s security officers, said they haven’t had any major security problems in the 20 years she has been working at the festival, which she attributes to preparation, proper training, emergency systems, and the experience of the security officers.

Eliminating security worries allows people to enjoy Summerfest for the variety of reasons that brought them there.

Cheryl Sowatzke said what brought her to Summerfest is “the usual: food and music and friends.”

“I came for the fireworks and the celebrities playing,” said Travis Landry.

“The music is good and I also came to have fun with my friends. It gives us something to do because there’s not much else going on in the summer,” Charlie Duff said. “Today I came to see Lupe Fiasco.”

Others, like Lucy Jost, work at Summerfest. A design major, she works for Kohl’s, helping with drop in activities for children.

Another worker, Clayton Collinson, also helped by donating non-perishable items at the gate to the Hunger Task Force, one of the many ways to get into Summerfest free at designated times.

Once inside, no one needs the canned goods if they stop at food vendors such as Martinos, who this year introduced a 22-inch long, one-pound hot dog for $25.

Despite the cost, this is a great value, according to co-owner TJ Anderson, because it is six times the size of their regular $5 hot dog, and feeds four to six people.

He got the idea while thinking, “What can I do to make Summerfest more fun, different and creative?”

When he suggested the idea to his wife, she said, “are you crazy?”

“I told her, yes I am, you know that,” Anderson said.

Crazy or not, the hot dog has been a big hit. | UV


Time tested formula: music, food, beer|Brianne Stubler

“I came for the fireworks and the celebrities playing.” ~ Travis Landry