August 1, 2017 – West Bend, WI – In its heyday, Maxwell Street Day in West Bend had a festival-like atmosphere, included live music, shuttle buses and barricades to close off downtown Main Street to traffic.
The buses ran from Westfair Mall to the Regal Ware parking lot.
Deals included books sold by the pound at Fireside Books & Gifts. Families would circle Maxwell Street Day on their calendar, bargain school supplies were popular and in the early years skinny dudes in bell-bottom jeans would pour over boxes of record albums placed on tables in the street in front of the Exclusive Company.
Neighbors also remember, more often than not, it would rain; hard. Rivers of water would flow down the street but eventually the sun would emerge and neighbors would celebrate sales at Maxwell Street Day.
“I remember when it was a city-wide thing and you could take the shuttles from one end of town to the other,” said Kellie Boone, former event manager with Downtown West Bend Association.
Pat Fehring with Laurel’s Camera & Gifts remembered shopping up and down the street. “Winklers would set up their school supplies,” he said. “That was a big deal and we’d go down to the Candy Man and then there would be all the vendors in the street who came in from out of town.
Sometimes people frowned on out of towners but it was good to have other things in the city.” Fehring said they are looking forward to this year’s Maxwell Street Day. “We’ll have our table in the street and ready to go.”
Over the last few years, since 2008 when the Downtown Association last hosted Maxwell Street Day, the event was scaled back to sidewalk sales. Carrie Schaub, owner of Serendipity Gifts, was the self-appointed organizer of the event. She said they tried to stay in step with tradition and held the sidewalk sale on the first Wednesday in August.
This year’s event August 2 will run 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Photos courtesy the Downtown West Bend Association.