Muskego — Like a little chick that is now flying off on its own, Jammin' on Janesville will spread its wings and for the first time try flying without city of Muskego financial support.
When the Jammin' on Janesville outdoor festival started four years ago, the city helped it financially because the festival's purpose was to remind people to patronize Janesville Road businesses during three years of massive road construction.
The road work will end this year but the festival held by the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce will go on. Now, it will be a showcase of mainly Janesville Road businesses and other area businesses have joined the popular summer celebration.
"I'm pleased the city was able to help during the construction years," said Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti, a festival originator when she was chamber of commerce executive director prior to becoming mayor.
It's wonderful to see the little festival grow strong and be able to stand on its own, she said.
"I always had a vision that it would do well, but it's far more successful than even I imagined. That's fantastic," Chiaverotti said.
At first, not everybody shared her vision.
"I had to do some convincing," she said. "I'm glad it more than paid off."
There was never much thought of ending Jammin' on Janesville after city funding ended, said Deborah Skurulsky, chamber of commerce executive director.
Chamber members were prepared to continue the festival on their own, based on a survey the chamber had done with its members after the last event in 2013, Skurulsky said.
Traditionally, Jammin' on Janesville was held three times a summer. This year, it will be held twice — June 6 and Aug. 1. Hours will be 5 to 9 p.m., although several establishments will keep the celebration going after the festival closes.
The festival will be from Moorland Road to the Muskego Centre on Racine Avenue for the first time.
Friday's Jam will feature more than 50 events, 14 $1 menu items, multiple bands and DJs and six corporate sponsors. More than 100 local businesses and community organizations are expected to participate in the festival this year.
The free trolley route has been expanded from Moorland and Janesville at the Kohl's Department Store to the Muskego Centre and people can park and ride at either end. The trolley will make numerous stops along the way.
The festival will extend west to the Muskego Centre this year because several businesses want to participate. That includes the Willow Tree Cafe, marking its one-year anniversary by being part of the festival.
Mary Belmore who owns the Willow Tree Cafe with her husband Ken said, "We're hoping to bring attention to businesses on this side of town as well."
Jammin' on Janesville is a good way to do that, she said, because it's so well attended and the center will be a trolley stop. The cafe and Hallmark and Allstate Insurance will present the Sharp Street Band offering classic rock from the 1970s and 1980s.
Hal's Harley-Davidson, another newcomer to Jammin' on Janesville, will have its Jumpstart stationary motorcycle ready for riders. No balance is required but it feels like you're really riding, said Carrie Schmidt, marketing and events manager for Hal's. It will be located at the Muskego Centre.
Trained staff will show novices how to shift the bike through its gears, she said. Jumpstart will feature a smaller Harley rather than a big touring bike.
New Berlin's Matty's Bar and Grill on the border of Muskego will have a second location at the festival and will offer burgers developed for the event.
Because Matty's will be at Muskego Tire and Auto, two of the new burgers will pay homage to the automotive theme, said Christina Gara, Matty's marketing and events manager.
The Firestone Firehouse burger will be packing some heat with jalapeno peppers, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo, she said. And the Bridgestone barbecue bacon burger will be topped off with smokey bacon and barbecue sauce, she said.
Matty's considers Muskego home as well as New Berlin, so it's a natural for Matty's to be part of the festival, Gara said.
Among the many other attractions along the route will be a petting zoo at Animal Doctors Holistic and Veterinary Complex, S73 W16790 Janesville Road; a photo booth and live music and $1 food and beverages at Janesville Commons at Parkland Drive; the police canine unit plus children's activities and hot dogs, brats and root beer floats at the Muskego Public Library, S73 W16663 Janesville Road; and $1 craft beer and wine at the new Twisted Cork wine bar, W168 S7392 Parkland Drive.
Last year, approximately 5,000 people attended each month's event. Corporate sponsors for 2014 that along with the chamber provide the majority of funding include Advance Physical Therapy Services, ATI Physical Therapy, Domino's, Gerald Boisits Law Offices, Lakeshore Medical Clinic, and Safeway Pest Management.
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