That faint clacking sound you hear throughout the city isn’t your imagination—it’s just the impending return of QWERTYFEST MKE, a homegrown celebration of a homegrown Milwaukee invention. That’s right! Working in Milwaukee in 1873, Christopher Latham Sholes invented the modern QWERTY keyboard layout we still use today. The modern keyboard was invented in Milwaukee! How about that!

QWERTYFEST MKE was founded in 2023 by Milwaukee writers Molly Snyder (OnMilwaukee) and Tea Krulos (author, Milwaukee Record contributor). For the 2024 installment, set for June 21-23, Snyder and Krulos are sparing no expense and going all out with a plethora of typewriter-focused events. Here’s a quick rundown of the QWERTYFEST MKE 2024 itinerary:

Friday, June 21
National Typewriter Day Ball @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“This will feature live music with headlining guests the Boston Typewriter Orchestra. There’s also interactive writing and mailing stations, the DarkFusion Systems Gaming Lounge, vendors, a dramatic competition called the Clackathon (as well as a words-per-minute contest called the Quick Brown Fox Typing Contest), storytelling, food and drink, and more.”

Saturday, June 22
QWERTYFEST @ Mitchell Street Arts
“Workshops and presentations on typewriters, writing and creativity, history, and art. We are having a ‘Whisky Type’ after party at Great Lakes Distillery.”

Sunday, June 23
QWERTYFEST Activities Day
“Typewriter Brunch Open Jam (location TBA), ‘QWERTY Journey’ tour at Forest Home Cemetery, and other activities around town TBA.”

Speaking of “expense,” QWERTYFEST MKE is currently raising funds to make the hunt-and-peck magic happen. Click HERE to contribute to an Indiegogo campaign (and pick up some nifty swag in the process)…

…and mark off Thursday, June 6 on your calendars for a fundraiser screening of the documentary California Typewriter at the Oriental Theatre. Tom Hanks is in it! Get your tickets HERE!

And to answer your question of “Why didn’t you type this article on an actual typewriter like you did last year?” Well, we ran out of ink. Here’s hoping we can pick up some replacement cartridges this June.


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About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.