It’s the most mitten-est time of the year!

Milwaukee is known as the City of Festivals for good reason, but many people wrongly assume that the outdoor festivities end with the falling of the leaves. Enter Bay View‘s neighborhood beer bar, Burnhearts, and their 6-year-strong Mitten Fest, rocking the great outdoors this weekend.

Pro Tip #1: wear mittens (and liquid layers)

Happiest Man at the State Fair, Historian Meggy, Writer Joe, and local comic creator Tim, wearing layers. Photo by Jennifer Janviere.

Happiest Man at the State Fair, Historian Meggy, Writer Joe, and local comic creator Tim, wearing layers at Mitten Fest 2015. Photo by Jennifer Janviere. All other photos by Joe Powell for The Squeaky Curd.

This block party tucked away in Milwaukee’s hip “Other East Side” ensures they’ll have no other competition by hosting the mostly-outdoor event in early February. Yes, it’s winter in Milwaukee and we’re outside, but Burnhearts and friends have got our liquid blankets ready: Korbel Brandy Old Fashioneds served out of the signature Brandy Land, rare beers from the venerable Wisconsin and Michigan craft brewers, Central Waters and Founders, and piping-hot pickmeups from Valentine Coffee Roasters.

Pro Tip #2: after getting your drink, get right back in line to get another!

Brandy Land is the most wonderful place on earth. All subsequent photos by Joe Powell.

Brandy Land is the most wonderful place on earth.

This block party is not just street drinking (though that’d certainly be enough for Milwaukee): Burnhearts partners with the Hunger Task Force and encourages donations of cash, non-perishable food, and clothing. In years past this free event raised nearly $2000 in cash alone!

Pro Tip #3: bring donations for those who don’t have a choice in standing outside in February

Seriously, they do good work.

Seriously, they do good work.

While you sip your drink and peruse the local arts and crafts fair, a smorgasbord of local musical acts will keep your feet moving and warm, with styles this year ranging from dream-indie to synth-pop to R&B to garage rock. After working up an appetite dancing in front of the stage, fill up on food-truck noms courtesy of Bay View hunger-destroyers Goodkind, Honeypie Cafe, and plenty of others on site and down surrounding streets.

Pro Tip #4: bring cold, hard, CASH

These little Bay View streets fill right up.

Mitten Fest is one of my favorite events in Milwaukee, hands down. Come find the little street party that could (the 15 busline drops off right in front), grab a fresh Old Fashioned, and enjoy a Milwaukee original event.

Pro Tip #5: drink Wisconsibly


Originally published February 4, 2016. Updated February 1, 2018.

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