Carnival Milwaukee 2023 photo collage

This 15th annual Carnival Milwaukee fundraiser was truly special! On Friday, March 3rd, 270+ guests and friends joined us at the Historic Pritzlaff as we gathered in-person for the first time since 2020.

We celebrated Milwaukee’s diversity through food, music, culture, and fellowship. De La Buena, Salsabrositas, and Samba Da Vida brought the music, dance and vibrant beats, 20 local restaurants and caterers wowed our guests with a diverse menu for our food tasting, and guests enjoyed an interactive photo booth and top-notch raffle. And, this year we invested $6,000+ in local, diverse-owned businesses through this event!

View the 2023 Carnival Milwaukee photo album Read the full recap email here

A Tribute to Bill JohnsonBill Johnson at Carnival Milwaukee 2015

At this year’s event we celebrated the life of Bill Johnson, our Executive Director from 2006-2015, who created this seminal event. He dreamed of creating a space for people from different walks of life to come together and enjoy all the beauty and diversity our community has to offer – in short, a party with a purpose.

We honored him with a a Second Line tribute and other special touches like a “Bill’s Favorites” basket in our raffle, including the creation of a special tribute video featuring live footage and reflections on Bill’s impact. His vision continues to inspire us all!

Special thanks to Vogue Dreams Pro for partnering with us on this video project!

YouTube player

Thank you to our local, live entertainment partners!

Logos for De La Buena, Salsabrositas, Samba Da Vida

Thank you to our 2023 Carnival Milwaukee Food Tasting participants!

Aladdin’s Taste of the East Antigua Latin Restaurant Blue Star Cafe
C. Adams Bakery Casablanca China Gourmet
Funky Fresh Spring Rolls Gray Jett Cafe Immy’s African Cuisine
Kilwin’s – Milwaukee Bayshore Lisa Kaye Catering LLC Lola’s Empanadas
Orenda Cafe Pound 4 Pound Cakes Speed Queen BBQ
Sweet Joy Brazilian Cafe Thai Barbq The Ladle Lady
Tres Hermanos Turning Tables Tavern & Eatery


Check out this flier of all Carnival Milwaukee Food Tasting Participants
Keep it handy and explore all they have to offer throughout the year!

Carnival Milwaukee is a fundraiser for the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA) and celebrates Milwaukee’s diversity through food, music, and dance while supporting the local businesses, individuals and organizations that contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of our city.

Not able to join us this year? Consider making a contribution to support UEDA!

Your support will not only provide direct investment into local businesses, but will also help fund UEDA’s work in sustainable homeownership and affordable housing, financial empowerment, small business growth, workforce mobility, and community investment.

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Congratulations to our 2023 Awardee!

Bill Johnson Bridge Builder Award image, Riverworks Development Corporation logo

Every year we present a Bridge Builder Award to recognize a community member or partner for their efforts to honor diversity and connect people and places through the expression of culture in food, art, music, and space.

On Tuesday, February 21st during our virtual Fat Tuesday event we recognized Riverworks Development Corporation for their commitment to connecting neighborhoods and residents through creative place-making, economic activity with small, diverse businesses, and cultural community events in Harambee and Riverwest.

Their key projects and activities include the development and management of the Beerline Trail, 53212 Marketplace, creative corridor activity, and an array of community events utilizing these newly created spaces. Learn more about them at

We also announced that this award will now be known as the Bill Johnson Bridge Builder Award, in honor of UEDA’s former Executive Director, who created the Carnival Milwaukee event in 2009. Bill was one of the most well-known “bridge builders” in our community and we could think of no better way to celebrate his life.


2023 Carnival Milwaukee Sponsors list