Events to celebrate village's 125th anniversary
The theme for this year’s Memorial Fest in Menomonee Falls is unspoken yet respected in more ways than one.
In what will be the second year since the celebration took on its new name, the village will come together to commemorate a landmark year in its history.
“Everything kicks off with an opening ceremony at noon and the hope is this will just bring families down here to enjoy themselves,” said Menomonee Falls Downtown Director Barb Watters. “It’s the village’s 125th birthday, so we’re really doing our best to bring together the elements of the past that everyone looks for in our Memorial Day festivities with some exciting, new things.”
What that means for patrons of this year’s event on Saturday, May 27, is the addition of a second music stage as well as the Tri-County YMCA Kid’s Fest from noon to 6 p.m. with free family and kid games.
Familiar sights will include the Lucky Ducky Derby. Buy tickets as early as 11 a.m. for the 3 p.m. Duck Drop at Mill Pond Park.
The car show returns this year from noon to 4 p.m. on Main Street between Appleton Avenue and Mill Street, which will be shut down for the duration of the festival.
The vendor marketplace will feature the work of artisans and crafters from noon to 7 p.m. in the Seider Heating parking lot, N89 W16340 Main St.
Food and beer stations will be available onsite, and a variety of performers will play at both stages throughout the day from noon to 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, the festival will provide the landscape for the inaugural Operation Finally Home 5K Run/Walk. The run/walk will benefit Operation Finally Home in Wisconsin, which builds mortgage-free homes for disabled heroes.
“I’m a firm believer that there’s nothing we can’t or shouldn’t be doing in support of our veterans,” said Ray Hoffman, of Operation Finally Home Wisconsin. “None of these veterans are looking for handouts. Instead, they are so humble and don’t expect or want anything, so there’s really nobody more deserving of our help.”
The organization is in the process of finishing what will be the third home in the area for a family that will receive the keys in June. Two homes were completed last year in Jackson.
The race will start at 10 a.m. at the north end of Lime Kiln Park in the Mill Street Parking Lot behind AJ O’Brady’s, N88 W16495 Main St.
The route is a familiar and beloved one for Germantown resident Brian Depies, a former Menomonee Falls resident who still prefers his run through Lime Kiln over most others.
“I know the route very well,” Depies said. “It seemed like a perfect place for us to try this inaugural run to help raise funds for our organization.”
He shared his idea for the location for the inaugural run with members of the Menomonee Falls Running Group on Facebook, and things ran from their own from there.
The race is timed and there will be awards for the first- through third-place runners in several age groups, but Depies said the hope is there will be plenty of walkers as well.
“I thought a run would be a great way to promote the organization and really bring people in the community together for a really great cause,” he said. “It’s nice that it will be a timed event and everything, but it will be really nice to get families involved and excited about Operation Finally Home.”
Proceeds from the Lucky Ducky Derby were donated to Operation Finally Home last year, and will be again this year as well.
“(Operation Finally Home) really hits home for me so I do whatever I can to support it,” said Hoffman, a Navy veteran himself. “These veterans have sacrificed so much and they will never ask for our help, which is why it’s so important that we give with our whole hearts without allowing them a chance to change their mind.”
Sponsors are still needed and registration for the race is $25 and includes a shirt with pre-registration by noon Saturday, May 20.
On May 28, there will be a Memorial Tribute at 1 p.m. at Village Park on Garfield Drive at the war memorials.
The Memorial Day parade will be at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29. The route starts at Main Street and Harrison, then heads west to Grand Avenue and north to Falls Parkway.