Several hundred members of the public joined community leaders and elected officials downtown to celebrate the City of Milwaukee’s 174th birthday at the Grain Exchange on January 30.

Hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club, the annual birthday party provided an opportunity for area residents to network at the beginning of the year. The theme for 2020 celebrated the people, places, and things that made Milwaukee “Unconventional,” as displayed on the unique birthday cake adorned with pop culture icons like the Fonz and bowling, to the culinary staples of beer and cheese.

Also, for the first time in more than a decade, a Governor of Wisconsin attended the birthday party to salute the city. Governor Tony Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes offered a special toast to begin the event’s festivities. State and local elected officials joined Mayor Tom Barrett on stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to the city.

“2020 is truly going to be a historic year for the history of the City of Milwaukee with the Democratic National Convention coming here,” said Mayor Barrett. “All eyes will be on our city. Airbnb has already announced that the city with see largest increase in Airbnb bookings between 2019 and 2020.”

These images present a few highlights from the evening as Milwaukee approaches its Demisemiseptcentennial, literally one-half (demi-) x one-half (semi-) x seven (sept-) x 100 years (centennial), or 175th birthday in 2021.