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Hundreds brave rain for Downtown Employee Appreciation Week kick-off

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday marked the beginning of the 18th Annual Downtown Employee Appreciation Week
Posted at 8:03 PM, Aug 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-14 21:03:51-04

MILWAUKEE — Downtown Employee Appreciation Week kicked off Monday at Red Arrow Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and plenty of free food to go around.

Even with heavy rain, hundreds of employees came out to see the kick-off and get free pizza. Kristen Day recently started working at the Wisconsin Center District and came with her coworkers.

“A few of us wanted to brave the rain, get some free pizza, and meet some of the other cool workers in downtown Milwaukee,” Day smiled. “I feel really appreciated.”

Hosted by the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District #21(BID), the 18th annual Downtown Employee Appreciation Week is like a spirit week, showing appreciation for the nearly 67,000 employees working downtown.

While some of the opening day activities were rained out, employees across the downtown area were still offered free coffee at the U.S. Bank building and a special happy hour at PufferFish at Hotel Metro.

The appreciation week will have giveaways, events, and even Office Challenge Games through Aug. 18.

Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 started the appreciation week in 2006 as a business retention and recruitment initiative. The goal is to rally and show some love to downtown Milwaukee’s workforce.

Brian Johnson is the BID’s Public Service Ambassador for Homeless Outreach. He’s been participating and organizing the event for over 10 years.

“It’s good to come in once a year and say ‘thank you for all the work you do downtown. It feels like love. It feels cool to know someone else cares about you,” Johnson said.

In 2007, the week received an international award inspiring other downtowns to do something similar.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson was also at the ceremony Monday.

“I have opportunities to speak with mayors across the states and they're envious about what’s happening in Milwaukee and what’s happening in downtown. There’s energy, excitement, and investment, and we want to keep that up,” Johnson explained.

For more information and a schedule of events, you can visit their website.

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