Cheers to an early opening of beloved beer garden in Port

Events hosted by groups are so popular that they will begin in July

Members of the Port Washington Lions Club raised their mugs for a toast at the beer garden in Upper Lake Park. The group donated the Lions Club Centennial Pavilion, which is not a centerpiece of the beer garden. Press file photo
Ozaukee Press staff

Port Washington’s beer garden has proven to be such a popular attraction that the event will begin in July this year instead of August.

“A lot of people wanted it to start earlier,” Port Recreation Director Kiley Schulte said. “They just couldn’t wait.”

There were also more civic and community groups who wanted to host the beer garden than there were time slots available, Schulte said.

“We’re branching out to more groups to give back to the community and to the parks,” she explained. “This is an opportunity for all these groups to fundraise.

“I’m very excited about it.”

The beer garden is held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays from July 7 to Oct. 20 — except for Fish Day on July 21 —  in the Lions Centennial Pavilion in Upper Lake Park.

A different community group hosts the event each week. Each group adds its own personality to the beer garden by offering a unique variety of beers, sodas, food and entertainment.

“I think some of the new groups are very excited to be part of it and they’re being very creative with it,” Schulte said.

For example, the Firefighters Association plans on bringing in a converted fire truck with beer taps on the side, she said.

The beer garden was started in 2014 by former Parks and Recreation Board member Patti Lemkuil, who said she was inspired by the beer garden at Estabrook Park in Milwaukee.

“We really want to bring the community together and create a lot of camaraderie,” Lemkuil said. “We’re trying to make this charming and traditional. 

“We are encouraging people to bring their own mugs and to bring a picnic basket. We want everyone to be comfortable and to meet friends, family and new people as well.”

That has become reality, Schulte said.

“It brings everyone together in our parks while creating a sense of community,” she said. “The growth is a true testament to the way the community has embraced this.”

The beer gardens have also allowed the Parks and Recreation Department to make some significant improvements to the park, Schulte added.

Walkways and an arched entryway have been added in previous years and the nearby restrooms improved, and additional improvements are planned for this year, Schulte said.

Those include heaters and sidewalls for the Lions Centennial Pavilion, which was built last year to enhance the beer garden.

“We hope to add more lighting to make it even more charming,” Schulte said. “And we’re hoping to add a stage for bands in the future.”

The city may also use some of the lumber from the ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer to create a large chair that could be used as a backdrop for photos in the park, she added.

“We’re working on projects to improve the whole area and make it more inviting to the entire community,” Schulte said.

The community groups hosting this year’s beer gardens are the Port Washington Food Pantry on July 7; Shipwreck Education and Preservation Alliance, July 14; Port Main Street Inc., July 28; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Aug. 4; Leatherneck Club, Aug. 11; Be3, Aug. 18; Port Lion’s Club, Aug. 25; Greater Port Washington Kiwanis Club, Sept. 1; United Way of Northern Ozaukee, Sept. 8; Port Washington Rotary Club, Sept. 15; Friends of Port Washington Parks and Recreation, Sept. 22; Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, Sept. 29; Firefighters Association, Oct. 6; St. John XXIII Men’s Club, Oct. 13; and Port Washington Environmental Planning Committee, Oct. 20,


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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