Editor’s note: Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service staff pick the stories that still resonate with them after a chaotic 2020.
I remember the collective sigh heard around the city when it was announced that Summerfest grounds were closing for the year.
If there was nothing else to look forward to in the dead of a Milwaukee winter, it was the summertime festivities happening there. Whether it was concerts or one of the many festivals held there throughout the summer, there was something for just about everyone.
One of those festivals was Mexican Fiesta, a celebration of Latinx heritage put on by the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation. Fiesta, like all the other events at Summerfest, was cancelled this year.
But their organizers didn’t take the year off.
The foundation put its energy into manufacturing masks, creating over 45,000 by August to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
This story exemplifies what is, in my opinion, one of the year’s biggest developments: adaptability. If there is one thing all of us can relate to, it’s having to adapt to the circumstances of our “new normal” because of COVID-19. We’ve all had birthdays and celebrations and other life events put on hold, and we’ve all had to adapt to it.
What I find particularly heartening about this story is the dedication that the organizers showed to keeping the festival alive. They hosted modified events at the end of the summer, fundraising to give much-needed scholarships to Latinx youths in the city.
Like so many of our local organizations, they stepped up when the going got tough. When the community needed them. And that has been the story of 2020.