Spectrum perspective: Celebrations of a season

Spectrum perspective: Celebrations of a season
Lupita Montoto is cofounder of La Movida Radio and Voz Latina Spanish-language newspaper. 

Aa small cosmopolitan city sitting in between two lakes, Madison is inevitably the go-to spot for activities year-round. Luckily, Madison takes in culture from throughout the United States and its surrounding countries.

While there’s a lot to do any time of year, during the summertime, the mix of visiting prospective university students combined with the diverse community living in and around the city creates a large melting pot for culture. And in Madison, there’s no better time to celebrate this diversity than in the summertime, when the skies are blue and the sun doesn’t set until late in the evening. This past summer was no exception for showcasing all the city has to offer.

For starters, many Madison residents know about the glory of boating on Lake Monona, shopping the Dane County Farmers’ Market, heading to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square and kicking back at Picnic Point for a late-night bonfire. But small festivals throughout the city are the hidden treasures of summertime worth exploring.

To start off summer with a bang, the World’s Largest Brat Fest brings bratwurst enthusiasts and prideful Wisconsinites from all over the state. The Memorial Day weekend festival celebrates the beginning of warm weather with classic Wisconsin food and local favorite beers.

Later on in the summer, Art Fair on the Square brings together thousands of artists to showcase their work. Pieces vary from wood carvings to canvas paintings and even sculptures made from recycled goods. Hosted by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the fair boasts a mix of art and creative interpretation from a variety of cultures.

La Fête de Marquette is a local French-themed festival on the near-east side of Madison that celebrates culture of the French-speaking world with Cajun-style music and food, Canadian music and traditional French goods. South of Madison, Festa Italia surrounds its guests in traditional food and live music as well, yet manages to deliver a unique experience.

Summer is also a time when Latino cultures come together to celebrate festivities that commemorate history, values and culture. Festival Viva México exposes Mexican Independence Day celebrations to communities with vast amounts of folklore, music and traditional food.

In addition to celebrating different cultures in Madison, residents enjoy celebrating a variety of lifestyles. During the summer, such festivals as the Mad City Vegan Fest and the LGBT-celebrating Fruit Fest, which bring together people and families from many Madison communities with shared interests and visions.

The warmth and sun that come along with the summer months are meant to be enjoyed, and these yearly activities are favorites that will live on for many more years as they continue to bring cultures and lifestyles of all types to the Madison community. There’s nothing more wonderful than knowing that our good times help celebrate everyone who calls Madison home. 

Find more Spectrum 2016 article here.