It’s party time! We are all looking forward to the Library’s Annual Summer Celebration – Thursday July 26, 6 – 8 p.m.. After all, who doesn’t like Culvers’ sundaes, trolley car rides, the music of Frogwater, games, balloons, face painting and a chance to hobnob with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages? And the price is right – free!
This year is a milestone Celebration – our 20th. While we are definitely looking forward to this year’s big bash, we thought it was a good time to look back at the evolution of our grand event. The first Summer Celebration was organized by children’s librarian Heide Piehler as a family festival to compliment the summer reading program. 1998 was also the year of Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial and thoughts of yesteryear reigned supreme. The theory that the ice cream sundae originated in a Two Rivers drug store was getting some very sweet attention. We jumped on the nostalgia bandwagon and modeled our festival after old-fashioned ice cream socials. The first Summer Celebration featured Baskin-Robbins sundaes, lawn games, balloon animals, face-painting, and trolley car rides through some of Shorewood’s historic areas. We were surprised and thrilled when more than 200 attended. The message from participants was loud and clear – MAKE THIS AN ANNUAL EVENT! We did and it has grown into one of the most popular happenings of the summer. To take a look back, enjoy this photo-display put together by staff member Susan Lyles.
Today, 600 – 900 people attend our Summer Celebration. There have been some changes from the early years. We moved from Wednesday to Thursday. Baskin-Robbins moved out of Shorewood just as Culvers’ moved in and joined our team. We added music, mascots, and special four-footed guests including the Sheriff’s Department Mounted Horse and K9 units. This year, we will be adding "Celebrity Scoopers." Local officials will be helping out on sundae line. At its core, the Summer Celebration remains a celebration of community, bringing friends and neighbors together for an evening of sweet treats, music, play, and good feelings.
As we celebrate community, we also celebrate the many community partners who have made the festival such a success year after year. First and foremost, we thank the Friends of the Shorewood Library for providing the funding for the Celebration and many other library programs. We also thank our friends at Culvers of Shorewood, Metro Market, the Shorewood Woman’s Club, local historian Sue Rebholz for planning and leading the trolley tours, the talented volunteer face painters and balloon artists, teen volunteers, and Shorewood DPW and the Police Department for helping us make it all happen. Of course, we want to thank you for coming out and making it the best party of the season year after year.
Over the past two decades, Mother Nature has displayed a variety of moods from chilly to steamy. Fortunately, she has only thrown a stormy tantrum twice in twenty years – 2001 and 2016. We still had 500 – 600 people enjoy the events. If she decides to rain on our parade this year– no worries. We will just movel the fun inside.