Businesses connect at Monroe Street Festival

Neighborhoods and businesses connected at the annual Monroe Street Festival on Saturday, which happened for the 42nd time.

Business owners say they can expand their customer base and invite past customers back for sales and special deals.

Event organizers said the festival is like a party for the Madison-area residents who make the shops so successful.

“I’m always just in awe of how much our community, not just the businesses, but the neighborhood, comes together and approaches everything we do with just commitment and enthusiasm,” said Bloom Bakery’s owner, Annemarie Maitri.

For some, the Monroe Street Festival is especially exciting this year after the nine months of roadwork on Monroe Street in 2018.

“The street was one lane and one direction, and that was really a challenge for lots of our businesses, so we’re really celebrating this year,” said Carol “Orange” Schroeder, the chair of the Monroe Merchant Street Association. “You won’t find the same mix of businesses anywhere else.”

She said everything that makes Monroe Street special is celebrated at the festival.

Even Henry the lion from the Henry Vilas Zoo made an appearance on the street, along with live entertainment and cultural dance groups.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.