Das Harley-Davidson Homecoming wird ab 2024 jährlich gefeiert

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The magnificent Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival

Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival is the name given to the ultimate Harley-Davidson event in Milwaukee. On the occasion of the 120th anniversary, Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, really went all out. It is unbelievable how many tens of thousands of bikers from all over the world took part in the mega event.

Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival Veterans Park in Milwaukee
Live band Green Day, at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival at Veterans Park in Milwaukee.

The Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival will be celebrated annually starting in 2024

To anticipate, theHarley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz, has already announcedduring the 120 Anniversary Festival in Milwaukee, that from now on every year in Milwaukee the Homecoming Festival will be celebrated. Around the world, Harley-Davidson events are held annually, whether it’s Sturgis, or European Bike Week, tens of thousands of bikers gather here each year to celebrate the Harley-Davidson brand together.

So it would stand to reason to call on the community to come to the Mother City, Milwaukee for the annual Homecoming Festival each year in the future. The date will be from July 25 to 28, 2024, Jochen Zeitz directly indicated in the conversation. The 2024 Homecoming event honors Willie G. Davidson , who celebrated his 90th birthday in 2023.

The Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival 2023

I was in Milwaukee for the first time this year, I don’t really know why I’ve never been here before. In hindsight, though, it’s clear that I must have missed something at the recent H-D Anniversary parties, which are celebrated every five years. The Harley scene in the USA is a lot crazier, they simply have more freedom in some areas in the USA.

Custombike Rider - Harley-Davidson Museum
Custombike Rider – Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee: Volume and helmet requirement?

The volume of the Harley does not really bother anyone, especially in Milwaukee Harley riders are very popular and welcome, as Bill Davidson said recently in the Harley-Davidson Museum. Normally helmets are compulsory in Milwaukee, but at least during the Homecoming Festival this doesn’t seem to bother anyone, because many are out on their Harleys in the city without helmets.

Harley rider without helmet in Milwaukee
Harley rider without helmet in Milwaukee

I have heard that in Illinois it is legal to ride without a helmet. The joke is, if you got your license in the neighboring state of Illinois, you can drive without a helmet in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I guess the police don’t want to control it. You will only have the problems if something happens. There are generally different statements about whether it is allowed or not. The insurance policy will be decisive, who does not want to be on the road at 100% risk, should not do without the helmet.

Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival 2023
Live bands are also something for the very young biker generation

Harley-Davidson enthusiasm meets Green Day’s rock revival in Milwaukee

That sometimes whole families are addicted to the Bar & Shield logo, you can see that very often in our country, at least I know families where all are completely contaminated by the brand Harley-Davidson. Like in the photo, where even the smallest ones are brought to Milwaukee from Brazil. The live concert with Green Day on Friday was a real blast, a great show, that it goes off so, I would not have expected.

The main act was actually the Foo Fighters on Saturday, but I was much more taken by the live performance of Green Days, the rock band is known for its provocative punk revival rock. The frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has delivered a mega show and really mad how the crowd has gone along. We’re talking about about 50,000 people gathered at Veterans Park on Milwaukee Bay. I would like to see such a show at the European Bike Week, the potential would be there at the Faaker See, they would just have to finally release a real budget for Europe.

The event is an experience and the beer prices are an experience

What belongs to the truth, you must not be so in love with your money, because the whole event is not cheap, I mean now not only for Harley-Davidson, but from the point of view of the visitor. It costs not exactly little entrance and for a half liter Bud Light Selzer beer from the can, one must already put down with joy 10 dollars on the event area at the bar. Curious was, more than two beers do not get handed out at once. There’s a law in Wisconsen that says you have to get another one at the next cash register if you want three beers.

Veterans Park is where the real festival takes place

Milwaukee is not around the corner for us, this will always be a very unusual story for most of us. It doesn’t have to be just at the time of the event, but it’s nicer. There is a lot going on in the area, in contrast to the events in our country, there is a lot of space in the middle of the area, but of course, when they flock to the area in the evening to see the bands, the visitors have to go somewhere.

Harley-Davidson Milwaukee at Veterans Park 2023
Harley-Davidson Milwaukee at Veterans Park 2023

Getting a homecoming t-shirt is a real challenge!

On the edges are exhibitors and other attractions, the merchandising tent is quite far on the edge, but the chute to the entrance once cuts through the entire event area, so I experience no different situation than in Budapest. But at least I have a T-shirt from Budapest, from the homecoming event in Milwaukee unfortunately not, I did not have the time to queue there for hours and so it went on for me without the valuable souvenir. By the way, it was no different at the Harley Museum.

merchandise tent at the Homecoming Festival 2023 in Milwaukee
The biker on the left, is the last in the queue, I denle the tent you just recognize.

There are no Harleys to be seen by visitors on the site itself, they are all parked outside the event area. Generally I would say that the party is on the area of Veterans Park and everything that has to do with Harleys and the community is on the area of the Harley-Davidson Museum.

The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

At the Harley-Davidson Museum there are thousands of Harleys

If you want to see Harleys, whether old, very old, or new models, you have to go to the Harley-Davidson Museum. The museum should always be the destination, it is not only a museum, here are two stores, some of which offer exclusive rarities from the MotorClothes Collection. The smaller store features special offers and End of Live items that are no longer in the program.

Then there is the Motor Bar & Restaurant, and the Hall, where almost all the latest models of Harley-Davidson are displayed. The big highlight is of course the museum, there is so much to see here, in the hallowed halls are not only motorcycles, you can even find boats, jet skis, and displays of 4 cylinder engines, these are all things that Harley-Davidson has produced at some point.

A highlight is the Harley-Davidson archive!

Normally you can’t really get into the archive, everything is safely stored behind bars. I was given the honor of taking a look at the archive. It gave me chills down my spine, I still have lots of old US Easy Rider magazines where many of the models exhibited here have appeared from time to time.

The Sturgis FXSTC Softail from 1991 is in front of me!

And suddenly I was standing in front of it, the unique FXSTC Sturgis Softail from 1991, of which there is only one and it is here in the archive. I don’t even know why, but it did it to me, maybe because I have an FXSTC from 88 myself.

Harley-Davidson FXSTC Sturgis Softail from 1991
A Harley-Davidson FXSTC Sturgis Softail from 1991 in the archive

The Harley-Davidson Museum goes over several floors and each floor offers an in-depth look at the rich history and culture of the legendary motorcycle brand. On the first floor is the main entrance with a large entrance hall. Here is a selection of the most famous motorcycles of the brand, showing the evolution of Harley-Davidson from the beginning until today. It would lead too far to tell all the details about the museum now, in any case, the visit is worth it!

There is a difference in time from Homecoming Festival that should be noted. During the party it is crowded here, who wants to shop in peace should go to the museum a few days earlier, that is certainly more relaxed.

The Harley-Davidson archive at the museum in Milwaukee
Here in the Harley-Davidson archive, are absolute rarities.

At the museum is a large tent and a large stage set up

At the museum is really busy, because here is also built a big stage, a large open tent, where several thousand people fit in, if the weather should not be so stable. Harleys are everywhere on the grounds and in front of the museum, the big bridge is specially closed for the bikers, it’s just madness what’s going on here. A group of over twenty Police Harleys, came to visit briefly at the museum, these were real service vehicles and not Police Bike fans. The police showed up here even with two horses, generally they have been really relaxed here and have actually only regulated the traffic and showed themselves. Cool how this all works together.

And what must not be missing at any Harley-Davidson meeting is the Bike Show, which can also be found at the museum, along with several other exhibitors. For catering is not only provided in the restaurant, but there are various stalls for where the bikers get the typical American supply, burgers, steaks, ice cream, so certainly no one will have to starve here.

Pictures from the Harley-Davidson Museum, during the 2023 Homecoming Festival.

Powertrain Operations plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Not to be forgotten would be the Powertrain engine factory. Properly called the “Powertrain Operations plant” in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, it is one of Harley-Davidson’s main production facilities and focuses on manufacturing engine and transmission components for the brand’s motorcycles. Harley-Davidson’s iconic V-twin engines are manufactured here. In addition to the main engine components, the plant also manufactures various engine assemblies and parts needed for the assembly and final installation of the engines.

Powertrain Operations plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Powertrain Operations plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Even the 135ci Stage IV Milwaukee-Eight engine comes off the line here

Here they even assemble the 135ci Stage IV Milwaukee-Eight engine apparently in larger numbers. You can visit the factory, you should do it, it is interesting to see not only the technical, but also the employees, whose work clothes include normal Harley-Davidson T-shirt. Here, a lot still runs without robots, which is all really impressive and worth seeing once. They produce all engines here, the Revolution Max engines as well as all Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engines and the new VVT 121 engine. For this purpose, the gearboxes and many components for engines are also manufactured here. I have even seen that they wind the coils, or copper wires for the alternator themselves here, I would not have expected that at all.

In the entrance of the factory stands the last Evolution engine

Just inside the entrance is the last Evolution engine, a Sportster 883 engine that rolled off the line at the Powertrain engine plant in September 2022, with countless employee signatures immortalized on it. The emotions in the plant are to be grasped, one feels the passion for the brand, with many of the employees. Let’s hope for their sake that the program-controlled automatism will not cause the spirit to disappear from the halls for a long time to come.

What to expect at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival

In a nutshell, the really big party is in the Milwaukee Bay area at Veterans Square and at the Harley-Davidson Museum it’s smaller, but not really small. The Powertrain engine plant is in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, which is about 30 kilometers from the museum, the plant cannot be missed on the list. Go to House of Harley-Davidson dealership I didn’t make it myself, somehow the time flew by. A visit to Milwaukee, is something very special, it is already an experience to have been there at all, whether now with or without Homecoming Festival.

For more information about the Homecoming Event 2024 please visit the Harleysite Event Calendar

Text: Harleysite Photo credits: Harley-Davidson and Harleysite

Pictures from the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee