Summer in Milwaukee is the shit. After a seemingly never-ending winter that leaves you wondering why you choose to live in such a godforsaken place, and a frustrating spring that leaves you wading in seas of unthawed cigarette butts and dog poop, summer finally arrives. You greet the suddenly tolerable outdoors with aplomb, don your best pair of jorts, bust out the grill, crank the Uecker, and proceed to cram in as much fun, music, art, and responsible drunken debauchery as humanly possible in four month’s time. Maybe you just get in your car and drive, windows down, Uecker cranked even higher, and take in the soul-warming glory that is summer in Milwaukee. Ahhh…
Which brings us to the theme of this year’s “Welcome to our Summer Preview Week” piece. Twenty-six years ago this month, the city of West Allis banned “cruising” on Highway 100. The crackdown sought to put an end to endless and aimless driving down the Milwaukee-area thoroughfare, a beloved tradition that dated back to the 1950s. Many cruisers in era-appropriate mullets and Zubaz cried foul, and bemoaned the end of “the people, looking at cars, the cruising, and the chicks” that went along with the suddenly criminal activity. It was a big enough deal to warrant at least two segments on local TV news:
Of course, cruising on Highway 100 wouldn’t be curbed for long. A quick perusal of YouTube reveals dozens of modern-day cruisers happily engaging in both the mundane (just kind of cruising around) and the straight-up illegal (street racing). Plus, there are a few videos of people getting pulled over by the police, and one soundtracked by some hilarious talk radio call-ins.
So, in preparation for a summer-themed week highlighted by tomorrow’s mammoth Milwaukee festival guide, gas up your piece of shit car, hit the road, and cruise the Highway 100 that is summer in Milwaukee.