History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Organizations - Activist & Political - PrideFest

Milwaukee PrideFest - 2008
- At A Glance -

June 6-8, 2008


Henry W. Maier Festival Park




format: 8.5" w x 11" h - magazine
pages: 52


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PrideFest 2008 saw a freak weather pattern throughout southern Wisconsin that caused all three days to suffer tornado warnings, and torrential rains each evening and night: an all-time record was set in Milwaukee for the most rainfall in a 48-hour period, and as a result PrideFest attendance and income were both down. Still, all major headliner acts went on as planned, with a few die-hard fans ignoring the rain to cheer them on. And thanks to sound fiscal management, the PrideFest organization assured the community they too had weathered the storm, and would be back again strong in 2009.

Attendance was suffering so much, that an unusal email went out at 8:30pm Saturday, reading:

    The rain may have cut a few hours out of PrideFest's schedule, but the show will go on. As of 8:30, the rain has stopped on the festival grounds.

    The headline show will begin at 9:00 pm and Natasha Bedingfield will go on stage at 10:00 pm.

    The Dance Pavilion is packed and will continue providing an incredible dance experience until Midnight.

    The fireworks have been rescheduled for Sunday night after the Indigo Girls due to the weather.

    Thank you for your support of PrideFest!

PrideFest 2008 also hosted the now annual History Exhibit, with interactive Timeline.

The Fireworks were fired on Sunday night, but most people sat watching from under umbrellas, trees, or structures if they were lucky, as the rain continued to pour.

A letter from PrideFest President Scott Gunkel followed 2 days after the festival:

    Many people have expressed concern for PrideFest due to the unprecedented challenges the festival and its patrons faced over the weekend. Both the weather and a small protest drew attention away from the purpose of this event: to celebrate our lives and our community. However, I want to assure you that neither weather nor protesters can or will stop PrideFest and its merry people from celebrating life, love and the history of the LGBT community. While weather and protesters can have an impact on the final results of success, our event is still a success none-the-less. Our crowds were smaller this year than in previous years, but they were a celebratory, hearty bunch. Few people left during Saturday's and Sunday's storms; instead, they stayed together and enjoyed what they could and created an atmosphere of community towards each other by sharing a common experience.

    PrideFest's revenues will be down this year from previous years, but because of past successes and sound management, PrideFest will not fall. The strong involvement of the festival's many volunteers, who have worked diligently throughout the year to build financial and operational support, has made PrideFest strong enough to weather the storms.

    I must acknowledge all those of the Production Team and Board who work all year long; all those volunteer groups and individuals that came together throughout the weekend; and all the sponsors that came forth and supported PrideFest. You have the thanks of PrideFest, the LGBT community and myself for all you have done to create and maintain this strong and wonderful organization known as PrideFest.

    Forward in Pride & Peace,
    Scott D. Gunkel
    President, PrideFest


Each year, PrideFest honors members of the community who have made a significant impact on the festival and the LGBT community. The PrideFest Board of Directors and Production Team are proud to announce this year's honorees:

  • Medal for Corporate Community Service: Potawatomi Bingo Casino will be honored for its long and exemplary support of the LGBT community.
  • Medal for Community Service: Joseph R. Pabst for his exemplary and generous philanthropy, leadership and commitment to the empowerment of Milwaukee's LGBT Community.
  • Medal for Volunteer Service: This honoree was announced during the Opening Ceremony, and was recognized for long and exemplary service to the LGBT community as a PrideFest volunteer.


    Statistics (Note: Attendance figure above is official total attendance; numbers below are turnstile only and do not necessarily total to official count.)

    Day Turnstile Attendance High Temp Humidity Weather Conditions
    Fri 6/6 5,903 77 70 Light thunderstorms, Rain
    Sat 6/7 6,706 71 89 Thunderstorms, Rain
    Sun 6/8 5,576 68 93 Rain


    Pride Guide

    2008 Pride Guide cover
    (actual size: 8.5" wide x 11" high)
    (52 pages, magazine print)

    Click here to view pages from the 2008 Pride Guide


    Credits: design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
    Last updated: April-2011.