Catering to 40,000 for Mile of Music

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 08/05 2014 03:26PM

Updated 08/05 2014 05:28PM

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) The Mile of Music kicks off this Thursday in Appleton.

Organizers are planning to double attendance compared to last year.

Local businesses are busy preparing to cater to the needs, and particularly the thirst, of 40,000 people.

Mile of Music was a gamble for local businesses last year. But, it paid off big time.

In fact, so many people showed up several bars ran out of beer.

Now, distributors are stocking the coolers to make sure the mile does not run dry.

"The vibe in town was something I have never felt" says Steve Lonsway, Stone Arch Brewmaster.

He is sampling a batch of his Mile of Music Pale Ale, in custom printed glass bottles.  

"We also did our root beer" he explains. "We did a real small amount of those so that is a real limited edition".

His craft beer mirrors the flavor people will find on stage.

According to Lonsway "It just goes hand in hand. A lot of the musicians coming in are local, artesian, same as our whole concept".

This year he is increasing production of his limited edition brew to 1900 gallons, after some bars ran out of beer last year.

It is not only the bar scenes getting a boost from the Mile of Music. Local coffee shops are also feeling a jolt.

"We are always fully staffed. We bring in everybody, the A team I guess" says Jane Maggard, a Barista at Aspen Coffee & Tea.

The cafe is one of 60 venues hosting live music.

Parks, museums, hotels and even the local comedy club are setting up stages to host 600 performances.

"Be patient there is going to be crowds everywhere and be kind to one another" says Maggard.

In addition to taking in the sounds of 220 artists, people spend a lot of money at downtown businesses.

"People love frappes which is a blended ice drink. Mostly the sugar maple" Maggard says as she prepares the frosty treat.

The sweet sound of success, to the tune of $1.5 million. That is how much experts believe will be poured back into the local economy.

"It is a huge impact for us. It is a great opportunity for us to showcase our brand" says Lonsway.

The festival starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Click here for a complete lineup.

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