Everyone knows that iconic scene in Apocalypse Now. You know, the one where Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) soaks in some good ol’ fashioned mayhem and destruction and says, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Even better, though, is the line that caps that scene: “Someday this war’s gonna end…” Kilgore seems sad as he says it, wistful. He stares off into the distance. He walks away.
We suspect much of Milwaukee is feeling equally wistful about the streetcar, a.k.a. The Hop. The controversial and loooooong-in-the-works project finally goes public this weekend with a “Grand Hop-ening.” If it feels like the war between those who see the streetcar as a godsend and those who see it as a harbinger of doom has been going on for decades, you’re not far off: Urban Milwaukee, long a champion of the project, filed its first streetcar-related post back in 2009.
Yes, soon, after the thing finally gets going and everyone just gets used to it already, the streetcar war will end. Will we miss it? A little. We’ll certainly miss writing hyperbolic headlines like this. And this.
Anyway, here’s the schedule for this weekend’s festivities at Cathedral Square Park. For streetcar proponents, it smells like…victory.
GRAND HOP-ENING DAY
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2, CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK
Streetcar service from 1 p.m. to midnight
11 a.m.: Music’s up in the park with DJ Kima Hamilton of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.
Noon: It’s go time! Mayor Tom Barrett, U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Federal Transit Administration officials, Common Council members, and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino CEO Rodney Ferguson commemorate Milwaukee’s new streetcar!
12:30 p.m.: Ribbon Cutting
1 p.m.: Service begins! Hop on! There’ll be 2 vehicles at Cathedral Square, 1 at Burns Commons, and 1 vehicle at the Intermodal stop at the corner of Vel R. Phillips Ave. and St. Paul Ave.
12:45-2 p.m.: Stop by The Hop tent to pick up some fun freebies and to purchase a T-shirt! Then enjoy the sounds of DJ Kima Hamilton.
HOP-IN FOR BUSINESS SATURDAY
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK
Streetcar service from 7 a.m. to midnight
Hop, Shop and Win! Make a purchase at any business near the route and upload a photo of your receipt to the hopmke.com/hopshopwin for a chance to win cash prizes!
Noon-2 p.m.: Ride The Hop to Burns Commons for “Milwaukee in Motion”—a Multi-Modal Transportation Fair featuring Milwaukee’s various forms of transportation, from planes to trains to bikes! Grab some FREE Colectivo coffee and hop, hop, hop while Dori Zori from Radio Milwaukee spins some tunes.
KIDS & FAMILIES DAY
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, VARIOUS HOP STATIONS
Streetcar service from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There will be happy hopping for kids of all ages with a variety of family-friendly activities at stations along the streetcar route. Times are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. unless noted.
Milwaukee Fire Department: Meet the men and women of the Milwaukee Fire Department; experience the Survive Alive House, view firefighting equipment; meet the mascot Sparky; sign up to have a smoke detector installed in your home (City of Milwaukee residents only); and more.
Visit Milwaukee/Mandel Group: Find the “Me in MKE” statue, take a photo and share how you do Milwaukee. Be sure to tag #MeInMKE!
Milwaukee Jewish Museum: Free admission from noon to 4 p.m. to this museum which is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture.
JACKSON AT JUNEAU SOUTHBOUND AT JUNEAU VILLAGE TOWERS
Artists Working in Education Truck Studio: Drop by for art-based enrichment activities for youth ages 4-14.
JACKSON AT JUNEAU NORTHBOUND STATION
Metro Market: Free popcorn samples from Metro Market’s Cream City Confections, while supplies last.
Milwaukee Downtown: Play giant and regular-sized versions of your favorite board games such as Connect 4, lawn Yahtzee, corn hole, Chess, Clue, Jenga and many more at the Downtown GO! Kart.
The Hop Tent: Visit The Hop info tent for free tote bags (kids only) and streetcar stickers (while supplies last) and T-shirt sales.
CITY HALL SOUTHBOUND
MSOE’s Grohmann Museum: Free admission from 1-4 p.m. to this home of the world’s most comprehensive art collection, dedicated to the evolution of human work. (Museum is one block north on Broadway and State.)
CITY HALL NORTHBOUND
The staff of OnMilwaukee, an online lifestyle and entertainment magazine and digital media company, will provide free temporary tattoos that celebrate numerous Milwaukee icons.
HISTORIC THIRD WARD/PUBLIC MARKET
Hop off at the Milwaukee Public Market to find a face painter.
ST. PAUL AT PLANKINTON (IN THE PARK AT 2ND & ST. PAUL)
Milwaukee Police Department: Visit the members of the Milwaukee Police Department, including the horse patrol. Enjoy free ice cream treats courtesy of Pick ‘n Save and Kemps and other giveaways (while supplies last).