Krazy Daze - A Manitowoc Tradition
Newspaper photocopy & article by Christine Vander Bloomen
Krazy Daze has been a Manitowoc tradition for 57 years! It was originally started by the retail division of the Manitowoc Chamber of Commerce. When Krazy Daze first appeared on Wednesday July 15th 1959 it was the largest sale event in all of North Eastern Wisconsin. The original event was meant to be a huge city wide sale.
The sale had been in planning for two years and was kicked off with a bus trip to Green Bay to appear on the “Marianne Show” on WFRV. Over a dozen representatives from local businesses boarded a bus from Safeway Motor Coaches to help promote the show. Represented businesses included Schuette Bros, BF Goodrich, Hessel Music House, Culligan Softwater, Sigman’s Apparel & Curtain Shop, Rahr’s, Boston Store, JC Penney’s, Otto Kueche Co, JJ Stangel Hardware, Huchthausen Hardware Co, WT Grant Co, Johnson Electric Shop, Napp Office & School Supply, and Sears Roebuck Co.
All the participating stores changed their store hours from 9am to 9pm for the special one day sale which was originally called “Krazy Sal Daz.” Store clerks dressed in humorous costumes to add color to the event. The retail division of the Chamber of Commerce encouraged store owners to decorate their windows just for the special one day event. Mechanical kiddy rides were set up on York and Jay Streets between 8th and 9th streets. Pony rides were offered in the parking lot of Park Plaza and the day was concluded with a street dance in the Park Plaza parking lot. The Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile made a showing at the event as well.
For a number of years Krazy Daze had a parade and contest for those who were dressed in costume. Trips to Mackinac Island and the World’s Fair were also given away as part of the celebration in the first few years of Krazy Daze.
In the early years of Krazy Daze, there was a no parking ban in effect on Washinton St from S. 8th to 11th Streets and on 8th St from Washington to Chicago Streets.
Restaurants and taverns were encouraged to set up sidewalk cafes for shoppers.
The first event was a huge success and merchants were already planning the next year’s event before the day was through, as reported the next day in the Herald Times Reporter. Sidewalks were over-flowing with shoppers carrying packages.
It was reported that many of the advertised specials sold out quickly, but that deals were still to be found until the end of the sale.
In 2008, it was decided to modernize Krazy Daze by moving it from Wednesday to Saturday and the event was renamed Krazy 'Satur'daze, so more working people could attend. Pre-Sales on Friday and Sunday Sales (at select locations) were added in 2015 when SubFest was introduced and continue this year.