You may remember wiffle ball from your childhood. You can play it again — with adults — during a Saturday tournament for charity as part of this weekend’s two-day HartFest activities.
HartFest, which is free, is located at at the Wauwatosa Rotary Performance Pavilion near 72nd and State Street in Wauwatosa. The festival — which features musical acts like Milwaukee-area natives LoveMonkeys, several tournaments and fundraisers, a skateboarding demonstration, food from local vendors, and other activities — will run Friday, June 15 from 5 p.m. to close and Saturday June 16 from noon until close.
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Ryan Melcher, 31, of Wauwatosa, commissioner of the Milwaukee Wiffle Ball league, started that league with friends and moved it from the east side to Wauwatosa when he moved to the latter city four years ago. “It was something we did as kids so when a friend of mine approached me about starting the league, I said, ‘Why not?’” he recalls, of the nostalgia-based league.
“Pretty much it’s simple,” Melcher said in an interview with Patch. “I set up two fields, a map, and we play six innings, and it’s three strikes you’re out, you get five balls. You can swing away.” The HartFest wiffle ball tournament benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
HartFest will also feature softball and baggo tournaments for charity and a corn roast to benefit the Wauwatosa Fire Department. Go to the festival website for the lineup and details.
Leff’s Lucky Town, the Chancery and Highlands Café are among those providing food and beverages. According to the festival website, the festival this year will support the following charities, in addition to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:
The Hart Fest musical lineup includes the following acts:
- Andrew Gelles, Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.
- King Solomon, Friday, 8 to 11 p.m.
- The Lonely Hearts, Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.
- Spoiled Rotten, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
- The LoveMonkeys 8-11 p.m.
The wiffle ball tournament will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fee of $100 per team (each with 5 to 9 players) goes to the charity. For more information, those interested can contact Melcher at 262-745-2597 or go to the league's website.
In addition to a Wauwatosa-based summer league, Melcher said he holds tournaments around the Milwaukee area, including at Bradford Beach.
The wiffle ball regular summer league starts July 9 and runs for 10 weeks on Monday nights at 6 p.m. People can reserve a spot at $150 a team. Teams need at most 7 people, and players should be 21 and older as it’s a beer league. Twenty teams participated last year, and Melcher said the same number have already signed up this year. The regular summer wiffle ball leagues are run across the street from Hart Park.
“The best part is the camaraderie we have,” Melcher said.