After a full year of planning, taking just one month off for the winter holidays, the volunteers behind TosaFest are crossing their fingers for good weather this weekend, Sept. 5 and 6.
"There is nothing worse than standing in the middle of a downpour and thinking about the 11 months you spent planning," said one of TosaFest's organizers, Ann Raisler, who last year logged more than 900 volunteer hours working on the event.
With the festival celebrating its 38th year in operation, weather is one of the only things the volunteers haven't been able to perfect over the years. The rest is an orchestrated yearlong effort by the Wauwatosa Village Task Force that kicks off as soon as the last one ends.
Many of the Tosa Fest staples will appear again this year, with many returning activities and vendors. But the festival will also have a few fresh faces.
The main act for the weekend, Dread Zeppelin, puts a reggae twist on songs by Led Zeppelin, and makes its performances yet more unique with an Elvis impersonator in the mix.
Raisler said the band is highly anticipated.
"We've gotten calls from all over the country from people asking how to get tickets," she said.
TosaFest will also offer more than a dozen food vendors with unique offerings like a Mac and Cheeseburger, fried Oreos, and Dorito encrusted sliders.
"There's so many fun things to eat, you can just graze your way through TosaFest," Raisler said.
Tosa Cares, which provides food and assistance to local families, will be giving out $1 tickets for refreshments and rides to those who bring nonperishable food items to donate.
Entrance to TosaFest is free, thanks to several sponsors that donated about $20,000 this year. Any profit is donated to a variety of local organizations, determined in January based upon requests. Last year, TosaFest donated about $35,000.
Fundraising is only part of the goal of TosaFest, which is primarily meant to draw attention to Village businesses.
"We want to increase traffic, and business, and attention to the village," Raisler said. "Our goal is to have the best possible festival and get the most people down there we can pack in, and for everyone to have a good time. You can come to the festival and have a good time and not spend a dime."
A full list of events, rides and concessions is at TosaFest.org.
·Dave and Buster's State Street Stage: Kirk Tatnall and Group Therapy at 6 p.m., Shag at 8 p.m.
·Bridgetowne Harwood Stage: The Steelheads at 6 p.m., Dr. Woo at 8:30 p.m.
·Art & Craft Show: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
·Fire Department dunk tank, concessions, autographs from Milwaukee Wave players: noon to 9 p.m.
·Storyteller and clown at Kids Korner: noon to 2 p.m.
·Wildcard Gymnastics shows at Kids Korner: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
·Tosa Skateboarders United Ramp Jam: 2 to 6 p.m.
·Jo-Don Farms petting zoo: 2 to 7 p.m.
·Mad Science at Kids Korner: 3 to 5 p.m.
·Badgerland Striders Run: 5:30 p.m.
·Outdoor movie: dusk
·Dave and Buster's State Street Stage: opening ceremonies at 11 a.m., Jackson Park Jazz Orchestra at noon, Sophia's Heart Choir at 2:30 p.m., Groove Therapy at 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. 5 Card Studs, 9:30 p.m. Dread Zeppelin
·Bridgetown Harwood Stage: High School Rockers at noon, Eagle Trace at 2:30 p.m., Boney Fingers at 5:30 p.m., Greg Koch at 8:30 p.m.
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