MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Summer festivals 2016

May

  • (May 22 – 29)Duluth Dylan Festival

    Duluth, MN

    The town in which Bob Dylan was born its native son with pub trivia, a poetry showcase, a Blood on the Tracks Express rolling musical revue on Thursday, a singer-songwriter contest Friday and, on Saturday, a bus tour to Hibbing and back and an evening acoustic salute to Dylan.

     

     

     


  • (May 26 – 30)North Iowa Band Festival

    Mason City, IA

    There's a carnival, craft show and car cruise, but don't miss the 10 a.m. Saturday band parade in this northern Iowa town, which Meredith Willson made famous in "The Music Man.''


  • (May 26 – 29)Festival of Nature

    Baileys Harbor, WI

    Ridges Sanctuary hosts this annual festival, with programs and field trips on wildflowers, birds, trees and insects held around Door County.


  • (May 27 – 30)ChocolateFest

    Burlington, WI

    This big festival in southeast Wisconsin features a battle of the chefs, the Project Yum-way candy-wrapper design contest and chocolate-eating contests, plus a crafts fair and carnival.


  • (May 27 – 30)World's Largest Brat Fest

    Madison, WI

    There's music on four stages, with headliners including the Charlie Daniels Band, plus the world's largest touring grill (a Johnsonville semi that can cook 750 brats at a time), the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile,  carnival rides and Sunday fireworks. Admission is free. Outside the Alliant Energy Center.


  • (May 27 – 28)CelebrAsian Asian Heritage Festival

    Des Moines, IA

    This festival at Western Gateway Park features martial arts, lion dancers, chopstick races and a fashion show.


  • (May 27 – 30)Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival

    Oak Forest, IL

    In this west Chicago suburb, there's lots of music, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests.


  • (May 28 – 30)Fort Michilimackinac Pageant

    Mackinaw City, MI

    This free pageant at Colonial Michilimackinac features a cast of more than 400, re-enacting events that took place between the French, British and Indian tribes on June 2, 1763.

    There are also 18th-century fashion shows, voyageur contests, kids' games, a Saturday parade and fireworks.


  • (May 28 – 29)Native American Festival

    St. Ignace, MI

    This family-friendly festival at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture features drumming, dancing, singing, Ojibwa games, artisan workshops and Sunday mass in Ojibwa.


  • (May 29)BobFest

    Spring Green, WI

    The Spring Green General Store in this artistic town on the Wisconsin River celebrates Bob Dylan's 75th birthday with free outdoor music.


June

  • (Jun 2 – 5)Milk Days

    Harvard, IL

    The festival in this small town just south of Lake Geneva, Wis., is the longest running in the state. There are milk-drinking contests, milking demonstrations, cow-chip lotto, bed races and a parade Saturday.


  • (Jun 3 – 5)Buffalo Days

    Luverne, MN

    This festival in the southwest corner of Minnesota features a cow-chip throwing contest, fire-truck ladder rides, duck races, an arts show and a big parade on Saturday.

     


  • (Jun 3 – 12)Lilac Festival

    Mackinac Island, MI

    Most of the events of this festival charge a fee, except for the closing-day grand parade, but the island really is gorgeous when its lilacs are blooming.


  • (Jun 3 – 4)Street Faire at the Lakes

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    This western-Minnesota lake town hosts a juried arts show with music, fair food and a beer garden.


  • (Jun 3 – 5)Fresh Art Spring Tour

    Lake Pepin, WI

    Artists' studios and gardens will be open along the Mississippi and in the bluffs between Maiden Rock and Pepin in western Wisconsin.


  • (Jun 3 – 5)Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival

    Little Chute, WI

    This Fox Cities festival includes cheese-curd eating, cheese-carving and cheesecake contests and a 10:30 a.m. Saturday cheese parade.


  • (Jun 3 – 5)Edina Art Fair

    Edina, MN

    The juried show in this posh southern Minneapolis suburb draws 375 exhibitors and 60,000 people.


  • (Jun 3 – 5)Spring Art Tour

    Mount Horeb, WI

    Artists open their studios in Mount Horeb and other towns in the Wisconsin River valley: Mazomanie, Black Earth, Cross Plains, Blue Mounds and Verona.


  • (Jun 3 – 5)Iowa Arts Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    This free downtown festival features an art show, a Global Village, a Culinary Row and music and dance. Sunday is Children's Day, with 10 booths of hands-on activities.


  • (Jun 3 – 4)Gospel Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This free music festival Millennium Park also includes an art fair and a kids' activity zone.


  • (Jun 3 – 12)Aquafest

    Rice Lake, WI

    The festival in this northwest Wisconsin lakes town includes a carnival, art fair, kids' fishing derby, car show, live bands and, on the last day, a parade followed by a water-ski show.


  • (Jun 4)Rhubarb Festival

    Lanesboro, MN

    There’s a Rhubarb Olympics, featuring the Rhubarb Stalk Throw and Green Eggs and Rhubarb, and a Rhubarb Rant Speakers Corner for opinionated folks. The Rhubarb Sisters entertain. It's 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Sylvan Park.


  • (Jun 4)Milwaukee Highland Games

    Wauwatosa, WI

    Listen to bagpipe bands, eat Scottish food and watch sheepdogs, Highland dancers and athletes.


  • (Jun 4 – 5)Wisconsin state-parks open house

    All state parks, WI

    Visit a state park without paying the daily vehicle fee, $7 for residents and $10 for non-residents.


  • (Jun 4)Chocolate Fest

    Hortonville, WI

    The festival in this small town just west of Appleton features a chocolate-eating contest, a Tour de Chocolate bike ride, a bicycle rodeo, an Artisan Village and fireworks.


  • (Jun 4 – 5)Outta Sight Kite Flight

    Kenosha, WI

    Fly kites along Lake Michigan in Kennedy Park.


  • (Jun 4 – 5)Rivertown Art Festival

    Stillwater, MN

    More than 100 artists set up along the St. Croix River for the valley's largest art fair.


  • (Jun 5)Grand Old Day

    St. Paul, MN

    When the weather's nice, more than a quarter million people turn out for this street fair, during which Grand Avenue is divided into "districts'': entertainment, arts, family fun and sports. A parade starts at 9:30 a.m. from Grand and Dale.


  • (Jun 5)Model A Day

    Sharon, WI

    In this hamlet near Lake Geneva, on the Illinois border, Model A's from the 1920s and '30s line main street, and people dressed as gangsters and flappers promenade in front of historic buildings.


  • (Jun 9 – 12)Steel Bridge SongFest

    Sturgeon Bay, WI

    More than 150 musicians and songwriters perform in more than 15 venues around town to benefit the historic Michigan Avenue canal bridge.


  • (Jun 9 – 12)Butterfest

    Sparta, WI

    There's an arts and crafts show, flea market and carnival but also a milking contest, firemen's water fight and a parade Sunday.


  • (Jun 9 – 11)Wizard of Oz Festival

    Grand Rapids, MN

    Judy Garland's hometown will offer such events as a trivia game, costume and singing contests, a petting zoo, a picnic, talks and a free showing of the famous movie under the stars.


  • (Jun 9 – 12)Mount Horeb Summer Frolic

    Mount Horeb, WI

    Just west of Madison, this town celebrates with a bean-bag toss, dog show, volleyball, craft-beer tent, Saturday fireworks and Sunday parade. It also features the Midwest qualifier for the national Stihl lumberjack competition.

     


  • (Jun 10 – 12)Blues Festival

    Chicago, IL

    The largest of Chicago's free music festivals draws 750,000 people to Grant Park. Headliners include Shemekia Copeland with guest Curtis Salgado, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials with guest Corky Siegel and Irma Thomas.


  • (Jun 10 – 11)Stamman Scandinavian Folk Festival

    Nisswa, MN

    This festival in the Brainerd Lakes area features visiting musicians from Denmark, Sweden and Norway as well as many North American folk musicians.


  • (Jun 10 – 12)Lighthouse Festival

    Door County, WI

    The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay offers tours of the peninsula's 10 lighthouses by foot, boat, trolley and minibus. Tickets go on sale to the public April 4; some tours sell out quickly.


  • (Jun 10 – 12)Ribfest Chicago

    Chicago, IL

    This street festival in the Northcenter neighborhood, on Lincoln Avenue between Irving Park Road and Warner Avenue, features barbecue plus indie, roots, rock and alt country music.

    There's a Kids Square with games and a rib-eating contest Friday with professional eaters.


  • (Jun 10 – 12)2 Rivers Wine & Jazz Festival

    Ottawa, IL

    The festival in this town on the Fox and Illinois rivers features wine from 25 Illinois vineyards and jazz and blues in Washington Park.


  • (Jun 10 – 12)Wannigan Days

    St. Croix Falls, WI

    St. Croix Falls and its cross-river neighbor, Taylors Falls, offer rock-music tributes, an arts and crafts fair, bed races and piggy-back races, a parade and fireworks.


  • (Jun 11 – 12)Irish Festival

    Oshkosh, WI

    This festival in Riverside Park on the Fox River includes Irish music, food and dancing.


  • (Jun 11 – 12)Wells Street/Old Town art fairs

    Chicago, IL

    Together, the Wells Street Art Festival and nearby Old Town Art Fair two fairs have more than 500 exhibitors and draw 110,000 visitors.


  • (Jun 11)Northern Spark

    Minneapolis, MN

    From sunset to sunrise, artists perform a variety of projects at museums and outdoor venues along the riverfront and around Minneapolis, under the theme Climate Chaos-Climate Rising.


  • (Jun 11)Wine & Food Festival

    Leland, MI

    Sample local wines and listen to music at this festival on the Leelanau Peninsula.


  • (Jun 15 – 19)Steamboat Days

    Winona, MN

    The main event is the 12:31 p.m. Sunday parade, one of the region's largest. There's also a carnival, craft show, power-boat races and car show.


  • (Jun 16 – 19)Musky Fest

    Hayward, WI

    There will be a carnival, crafts, ice cream-eating contest and lots of festivities downtown, capped by the 1:30 p.m. Sunday parade.


  • (Jun 16 – 19)Steamboat Days

    Burlington, IA

    There's a carnival, music on two stages, a parade Saturday and a Sunday art fair on Snake Alley.


  • (Jun 16 – 19)Harborfest

    South Haven, MI

    There will be a wooden boat show, dragon-boat racing, kids' activities, music and a craft fair.


  • (Jun 16 – 19)Rose Festival

    State Center, IA

    This town east of Ames calls itself Iowa's rose capital, and celebrates with garden tours, children's games, a truck and tractor pull, music, fireworks and a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.


  • (Jun 17 – 19)Polish Fest

    Milwaukee, WI

    This big festival on the lakefront features lots of hearty food, a piano contest, storytelling, vodka-tasting, folks arts and polka dancing.


  • (Jun 17 – 19)Great Galena Balloon Race

    Galena, IL

    Eagle Ridge Resort hosts two balloon races, two night glows and rides for the public. An Alefest Friday includes tastings of more than 100 beers, and there are Wine Flights on Saturday.


  • (Jun 17 – 19)Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival

    Grand Marais, MN

    The harbor-side North House Folk School on Lake Superior kicks off summer with a boat parade, dancing, craft demonstrations, mini-courses and a solstice parade.


  • (Jun 17 – 19)Stone Arch Bridge Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    On the banks of the Mississippi, 250 artists show their wares around St. Anthony Main. There are also three stages, art for kids and a car show.


  • (Jun 17 – 19)GermanFest

    St. Paul, MN

    This free festival at the Historic Schmidt Brewery features German folklore, storytelling, games and history as well as food, beer and music.


  • (Jun 17 – 18)Monroe Balloon Rally

    Monroe, WI

    There will be balloon glows and flights, weather permitting, as well as blues bands, a car show and an arts and crafts fair.


  • (Jun 18)Fyr Bal Festival

    Ephraim, WI

    It's the 52nd annual Scandinavian midsummer festival in this Door County village. There's a regatta, historic walking tours, artisan market, trolley rides, Fur Ball pet parade, cake walk and ice-cream and cherry-pie eating contests.


  • (Jun 18 – 19)Midsummer Fest

    Coon Valley, WI

    This family festival at Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center, in the coulees near La Crosse, features the best of Scandinavian culture: food, music and crafts. For children, there will be a visit from the trolls by the bridge, fjord horses and a scavenger hunt.


  • (Jun 18 – 19)Custer Fair

    Evanston, IL

    This big fair in the Custer Avenue-Main Street shopping district features 250 artists, 50 variety performers, a medicine show, powwow dancing, children's activities and music on two stages.


  • (Jun 18)Cardboard Cup Regatta

    Crystal Lake, IL

    Watch or enter the cardboard-boat races on Main Beach, where prizes are awarded in many categories.


  • (Jun 21 – 26)Swedish Days Festival

    Geneva, IL

    This Fox River town on the western edge of Chicago offers music, a zipline, a carnival,  a Swedish cottage walk and a big parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. 


  • (Jun 23 – 25)Twin Cities Jazz Festival

    St. Paul, MN

    Listen to jazz in Mears Park, in St. Paul's Lowertown. Headliners include Michael Franti, pianist Ellis Marsalis, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and guitarists Russell Malone and John Pizzarelli.


  • (Jun 24 – 26)Des Moines Arts Festival

    Des Moines, IA

    This big, juried arts fair at Western Gateway Park downtown includes street theater, live music and a film festival.


  • (Jun 24 – 25)Midwest Viking/Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival

    Moorhead, MN

    This festival at the Hjemkomst Center includes demonstrations, performances and goods that tell about society and culture in Viking-age Scandinavia and beyond.


  • (Jun 24 – 25)Engineers Day/Bridge Walk

    Sault Ste. Marie, MI

    It's the biggest week of the year for boat nerds at the Soo Locks. Friday is the Engineers Day open house (people can walk across the locks). Saturday is the 2.8-mile International Bridge Walk (people can walk to Canada).

     


  • (Jun 24 – 26)Summer Feast

    Sun Prairie, WI

    This festival in Angell Park has three parts: the Fiery Foods Festival on Friday; the all-you-can-eat Bacon, Brew & BBQ Fest on Saturday; and the World Food Fest on Sunday.

    Admission is free on Friday and Sunday, when there will be family activities, live music, cooking classes and Junior Chef competitions.


  • (Jun 25 – 26)Strawberry Festival

    Cedarburg, WI

    During this popular event in an old mill town north of Milwaukee, there's music, kids' games, shortcake-eating and bubblegum-blowing contests and strawberries in everything — brats, wine, slush. 


  • (Jun 25 – 26)Afton Strawberry Festival

    Afton, MN

    This village on the St. Croix River revives an old tradition with a European-style flea market, art fair, music, games, raptor demos and a strawberry shortcake-eating contest.

     


  • (Jun 25 – 26)Spring Iowa Barn Tour

    Northeast, IA

    This year's tour of historic barns is in Dubuque County.


  • (Jun 29 – Jul 3)Summerfest

    Milwaukee, WI

    They call this the world's largest music festival. More than 800 acts perform on 11 stages along Lake Michigan, including Sting, Peter Gabriel, Weezer, Selena Gomez, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tesla, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan.


  • (Jun 30 – Jul 4)Petunia Festival

    Dixon, IL

    This festival in the Hometown of Ronald Reagan features music, a carnival, fireworks and a Sunday parade.


  • (Jun 30 – Jul 4)Sawdust Days

    Oshkosh, WI

    This festival in Menominee Park, next to Lake Winnebago, celebrates the logging era, when Oshkosh was known as Sawdust City. It includes a historic village, flea market, carnival, Fourth of July fireworks and music on four stages, including Sabor-a-Mexico.


July

  • (Jul 1 – 2)Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

    Davenport, IA

    In LeClaire Park on the river, blues musicians celebrate the music that traveled up the Mississippi.


  • (Jul 1 – 3)Iowa City Jazz Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    This downtown festival features a Culinary Row, Fun Zone for kids and Sunday fireworks in addition to music.


  • (Jul 1 – 4)Riverfest

    La Crosse, WI

    This big riverfront festival includes water-ski and air shows, an arts and crafts fair, a lip-sync contest, a dragon-boat race, Venetian and family parades and music on four stages.


  • (Jul 1 – 3)Ribfest

    Naperville, IL

    Headliners include 3 Doors Down in Knoch Park, where there's also magic shows, kids' games, food and fireworks on the last evening.


  • (Jul 2 – 9)National Cherry Festival

    Traverse City, MI

    This town on Lake Michigan attracts half a million people to events that include air shows, an arts fair, music, races, the big Cherry Royale Parade and many contests, including pie-eating and pit-spitting.


  • (Jul 4)Red White and Boom

    Minneapolis, MN

    There's a half-marathon, relay and 5K in the morning, and music and family activities from 6 to 10 p.m., followed by fireworks.

    Festivities are along the riverfront downtown.

     


  • (Jul 6 – 10)Taste of Chicago

    Chicago, IL

    The big free festival in Grant Park offers lots of food and music. Headliners include the Decemberists, Billy Idol and the Isley Brothers.


  • (Jul 6 – 10)Karl Oskar Days

    Lindstrom, MN

    The festival in this Swedish town just north of the Twin Cities features fireworks, a car show and a parade.


  • (Jul 7 – 10)Winnipeg Folk Festival

    Winnipeg, MB

    This easy-going, family-friendly festival features 70 performers, food and hand-made art from around the world plus a fun play area for children.

    Many people camp on-site at Birds Hill Provincial Park. Tickets are cheapest when bought in advance.


  • (Jul 7 – 9)Heart of the North Rodeo

    Spooner, WI

    Look for the four R's in this western Wisconsin town: roping, bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. A parade is on Saturday.


  • (Jul 7 – 9)Iola Old Car Show

    Iola, WI

    This show and swap meet brings up to 130,000 people to this village east of Stevens Point.


  • (Jul 7 – 10)Balloon Rally/Ribfest/Chalkfest

    Wausau, WI

    At the airport, Balloon Rally & Glow features barnstormer plane rides, kite-flying, pig-racing, music and fireworks. Also at the airport, the Big Bull Falls BBQ Ribfest is Thursday through Saturday.

    On Saturday and Sunday, artists decorate downtown during Chalkfest.


  • (Jul 7 – 10)Windmill City Festival

    Batavia, IL

    There's a carnival, pet parade, ice-cream eating contest and live bands in the town on the Fox River.


  • (Jul 8 – 9)Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant

    Walnut Grove, MN

    The festival in this western Minnesota town revolves around the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek.'' Family Festivals are held each Saturday.


  • (Jul 8 – 10)Blues Festival

    Thunder Bay, ON

    This festival has a scenic location in Marina Park, on the Lake Superior waterfront.


  • (Jul 8 – 17)Northwest Water Carnival

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    This big festival celebrates its 81st year with a sand-castle contest, water fights, ship-building (in less than 30 minutes), beer tasting, watermelon feed, bike tour and more. On the last day, there's a big parade at 1 p.m.


  • (Jul 8 – 10)Blissfest

    Cross Village, MI

    This family-friendly folk and roots festival on a farm includes reggae, country, zydeco, jazz and Celtic music on three stages and four workshop areas. There's also a juried arts and crafts fair. Rustic camping is available.


  • (Jul 8 – 10)Wild Rice Festival

    Deer River, MN

    This northern town near Grand Rapids offers a powwow Friday, wild-rice lunch, bike rodeo, sawdust scramble, singing competition and fireworks Saturday and a parade Sunday.


  • (Jul 8 – 10)Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival

    Clear Lake, IA

    There are professional races plus a tour and family fun rides at this festival based in City Park.


  • (Jul 8 – 10)Sub Fest

    Manitowoc, WI

    The second annual fest at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, home of the USS Cobia, features a sub-eating contest, music, movies, a parade of boats and fireworks on Saturday and a water-ski show on Sunday.


  • (Jul 9 – 10)Phelps Mill Festival

    Phelps, MN

    There's a juried arts and crafts fair, children's activities and music in this bucolic, tucked-away park along the Otter Tail River, next to an 1889 brick and clapboard mill that's open for tours.

    The hamlet of Phelps is just west of Otter Tail Lake and north of Underwood.


  • (Jul 9 – 10)Art Fair On/Off the Square

    Madison, WI

    Nearly 500 artists from around the nation will be selling on Capitol Square and 140 Wisconsin artists around Monona Terrace, attracting more than 200,000 people.


  • (Jul 9 – 10)Grand Marais Arts Festival

    Grand Marais, MN

    This juried art show along the Lake Superior harbor includes children's activities, art demonstrations, a pie social and live music.


  • (Jul 9)Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games

    Eagan, MN

    This fest south of St. Paul features Celtic music, a British car show, a harp competition and heavy games -- hammer throwing, sheaf tossing, caber turning and the stone put.


  • (Jul 13 – 17)Sinclair Lewis Days

    Sauk Centre, MN

    The hometown of the Nobel Prize-winning author celebrates with turtle races, bicycle stunts, a hot dog-eating contest, a craft fair, music and a parade at 7 p.m. Saturday.


  • (Jul 14 – 17)Bastille Days

    Milwaukee, WI

    Look for minstrels, beignets, French lessons, a Mardi Gras celebration and a 43-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower in Cathedral Square Park.


  • (Jul 14 – 17)Tall Ships

    Bay City, MI

    The tall ships return to Lake Huron, with cruises, deck tours, music and family activities. Reserve early. Festivities start with a Parade of Sail.


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Bavarian Blast

    New Ulm, MN

    "Das Fest Mit Fun'' features German music, food and beer at the Brown County Fair Grounds in this Minnesota River Valley town. The big parade is Sunday.


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Highland Fest

    St. Paul, MN

    This street fair in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood includes an arts fair, music, carnival rides, wiener-dog races and an all-Ford car and truck show.


  • (Jul 15 – 24)Fiesta Days

    McHenry, IL

    There's a Music Fest, carnival and car and motorcycle show in Petersen Park the first weekend and a children's ice cream social, arts and crafts fair and a 1:30 p.m. Sunday parade the second weekend in Veteran's Memorial Park.


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Honor the Earth Pow-wow

    Hayward, WI

    The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa hold one of the largest powwows in North America, with dancing, singing and crafts plus a cooking contest, run/walk and softball tournament.


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Waterford Balloonfest

    Waterford, WI

    The festival in this town between Milwaukee and Lake Geneva includes evening glows, a flight competition, helicopter rides, a craft fair and kids' activities.


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Lumberjack Days

    Stillwater, MN

    This music festival along the St. Croix River also features lumberjack shows, a downhill derby, hammerschlagen and rides on gondolas, pontoon boats and tethered hot-air balloons. A parade is Sunday.


  • (Jul 16)Stockholm Art Fair

    Stockholm, WI

    This hamlet on Lake Pepin, a favorite day trip destination for Twin Citians, becomes a shopping mecca during this big fair.


  • (Jul 16 – 17)Agate Days

    Moose Lake, MN

    See the beautiful stones on display, then dig for them at 2 p.m. Saturday during the Agate Stampede, when a load of rocks seeded with 400 pounds agates and $400 in quarters is dumped downtown.

    There's also music and an art fair.


  • (Jul 16)Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

    Hear island music on Lake Superior, from Bayfront Festival Park.


  • (Jul 16 – 23)Charlevoix Venetian Festival

    Charlevoix, MI

    A week of music and games winds up with an 11 a.m. street parade and, at dusk, a lighted boat parade followed by fireworks.


  • (Jul 16 – 17)Ethnic Arts Festival

    Evanston, IL

    Dawes Park on Lake Michigan turns into a global village for this celebration of music, dance, arts and food.


  • (Jul 16)Port Fish Day

    Port Washington, WI

    The world's largest one-day outdoor fish fry also includes classic car and arts and crafts shows, soccer water fights, a smoked-fish eating contest, music on three stages, a parade and fireworks.


  • (Jul 17)Woodstock Folk Festival

    Woodstock, IL

    Listen to music on the square in this town just over the Wisconsin border from Lake Geneva.


  • (Jul 20 – 23)Aquatennial

    Minneapolis, MN

    The City of Lakes holds a Torchlight Parade, water-ski shows and Saturday fireworks.


  • (Jul 21 – 24)Sweet Corn Days

    Elkader, IA

    In addition to free sweet corn, there will be Friday fireworks, a doughnut-hole eating contest, a kiddie tractor pull, carnival rides and a parade at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.


  • (Jul 22 – 24)Festa Italiana

    Milwaukee, WI

    At the lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park, there's cannoli-eating and pizza-making contests, celebrity chefs, a bocce ball tournament, parades at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, nightly fireworks and music and dance on five stages and an opera tent.


  • (Jul 23)ArtBike + ArtCar Parade

    Minneapolis, MN

    Decorated bikes, cars and one Couchmobile will circle Lake Harriet at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to bring a decorated conveyance and join the parade; meet at 5 p.m. at the Rose Garden.


  • (Jul 23)Circus Celebration Day

    Baraboo, WI

    In the downtown square, there will be circus-themed performances, walking tours, music, children's activities and a Big Top parade.


  • (Jul 25 – 31)EAA AirVenture

    Oshkosh, WI

    This huge Experimental Aircraft Association festival includes air shows, fireworks, big-name concerts, children's activities, workshops, exhibits and rides in historic aircraft.

    Reserve lodgings early; it fills rooms within a 60-mile radius.


  • (Jul 26 – 31)Waterama

    Glenwood, MN

    This festival on the shores of Lake Minnewaska is famous for its lighted pontoon parade, followed by fireworks. On Sunday, there's a parade on land, followed by a water-ski show.


  • (Jul 27 – 30)Great River Days

    Muscatine, IA

    This festival in Riverfront Park includes paddlewheeler rides, a carnival, battle of the bands, wiener-dog dash, main-stage evening concerts and a parade the last day.


  • (Jul 27 – 31)Tall Ships Chicago

    Chicago, IL

    More than 15 tall ships return to Navy Pier, with cruises, deck tours, music and family activities. Reserve early. The festival starts Wednesday with a Parade of Sail.


  • (Jul 28 – 30)Lumberjack World Championships

    Hayward, WI

    You can't see this kind of thing just anywhere: cut-throat log rolling, boom running, springboard chopping and speed climbing.


  • (Jul 28 – 30)Nordic Fest

    Decorah, IA

    It's the 50th year of this friendly, authentic, very fun and very large festival of Scandinavian culture. The parade, one of the region's best, is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.


  • (Jul 29 – 31)North Star Stampede

    Effie, MN

    The rodeo in this town of 90 is a good excuse to explore the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway, which winds through Chippewa National Forest north of Grand Rapids.


  • (Jul 29 – 31)Pierogi Fest

    Whiting, IN

    This suburb of Chicago exalts the plump Eastern European dumplings, filled with cheese, mashed potatoes or sauerkraut, with pierogi eating and tossing contests, a Mr. Pierogi songfest and a Polka Parade.


  • (Jul 29 – Aug 6)National Balloon Classic

    Indianola, IA

    This giant hot-air balloon festival includes daily flights, rides for the public, music, night glows, fireworks and a parade.


  • (Jul 29 – 31)German Fest

    Milwaukee, WI

    Look for dachshunds, dirndls and lots of oompah music at this big party at Henry Maier Festival Park on Lake Michigan.


  • (Jul 29 – 31)Taste of Wisconsin

    Kenosha, WI

    This free harborfront festival features locally produced specialties as well as cooking demonstrations, gardening workshops and music on three stages.


  • (Jul 29 – Aug 7)Coast Guard Festival

    Grand Haven, MI

    There's nightly entertainment on the waterfront, a downtown carnival, tours of Coast Guard cutters, a Grand Parade and fireworks.


  • (Jul 29 – 30)Riverboat Days

    Wabasha, MN

    There's a lighted boat parade Friday, and on Saturday an arts fair, duck derby, skateboard tournament and Grande Parade.


  • (Jul 29)Blueberry Festival

    Marquette, MI

    Eat blueberry pizza and drink blueberry beer while listening to live music and watching dancers and medieval armored combat. There are also pony rides and games for kids.


  • (Jul 30 – 31)Rendezvous at the Sault

    Sault Ste. Marie, MI

    Reenactors, musicians and artisans bring back the fur-trade era with cannon-firing, puppet shows, storytelling and games.


  • (Jul 31)Ride the Drive

    Madison, WI

    Ride, walk or skate a car-free five-mile loop along Lake Monona, around the State Capitol and through downtown. There are also activity villages, food and music.


August

  • (Aug. 2 – 7)Mississippi Valley Fair

    Davenport, IA

    There are chainsaw artists and alligator shows as well as a carnival and grandstand acts that include national country musicians.


  • (Aug. 4 – 14)Wisconsin State Fair

    West Allis, WI

    The fair in this Milwaukee suburb features lots of contests, including hog-calling, cookie-stacking and cream puff-eating.


  • (Aug. 4 – 7)Brat Days

    Sheboygan, WI

    This town on Lake Michigan is sausage central. There's music, a carnival, beer and, of course, a brat-eating contest. The parade is Saturday.


  • (Aug. 4 – 6)Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival

    Davenport, IA

    Since 1972, fans of this Jazz Age cornetist and composer have held this festival in his hometown on the Mississippi.


  • (Aug. 4 – 6)WE Fest

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    Eric Church, Tim McGraw, Kid Rock and Lee Brice are among the headliners at this big country festival in west-central Minnesota.


  • (Aug. 4 – 7)Riverfest

    Ottawa, IL

    At the confluence of the Fox River with the Illinois, there's a carnival, paddleboat races, Art in the Park, Taste of Ottawa, live bands and a parade on the last day.


  • (Aug. 4 – 7)Mile of Music

    Appleton, WI

    More than 180 singer-songwriters perform at more than 40 venues along College Avenue downtown.


  • (Aug. 5)Pie Day

    Braham, MN

    Minnesota's official Pie Capital near Cambridge holds pie-eating contests, a pie trivia contest and performances of the Pie-Alleuia Chorus.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)River City Days

    Red Wing, MN

    In this Mississippi River town, there's music, food and games in Bay Point Park and an arts show in Levee Park. There's a Venetian boat parade at dusk Saturday and the grand parade Sunday.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)Buffalo Bill Days

    Lanesboro, MN

    Ride the Root River State Trail, then enjoy music, kids' games, sports tournaments, fireworks and a parade on Sunday.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)Fisherman's Picnic

    Grand Marais, MN

    There's a lot going on at the North Shore's biggest festival, including loon-calling, log-rolling, herring-eating and rock-skipping contests; Saturday fireworks; and the grand parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)Uptown Art Fair

    Minneapolis, MN

    This large juried art fair in the Uptown neighborhood draws crowds. Use a Nice Ride bike or download a free bus/train pass to avoid congestion and to get to the two other art fairs in south Minneapolis.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)Tall Ships Festival

    Green Bay, WI

    The tall ships return to the western Great Lakes, with cruises, deck tours, music and family activities. Reserve early.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)Lakeshore Weekend

    Manitowoc, WI

    This Lake Michigan town offers dragon-boat racing Saturday, plus children's games and music.


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)Tall Timber Days

    Grand Rapids, MN

    In this longtime logging town, there will be lumberjack shows, chainsaw carving, music and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.


  • (Aug. 6 – 7)Powderhorn Art Fair

    Minneapolis, MN

    This smaller festival in Powderhorn Park, in south Minneapolis, is not far from the big Uptown Art Fair.


  • (Aug. 11 – 21)Iowa State Fair

    Des Moines, IA

    See a diaper derby, outhouse races and mullet contest, and don't miss the butter sculptures.


  • (Aug. 11 – 14)Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

    Richmond, MN

    This 37th annual family-friendly festival includes music on five stages and workshops at El Rancho Mañana Campground, 20 miles west of St. Cloud.


  • (Aug. 11 – 13)Tug Fest

    LeClaire and Port Byron, IAIL

    The two towns stretch a 680-pound, 2,400-foot rope across the Mississippi River for the ultimate tug of war. There's also a parade, fireworks, children's games, concerts and carnival rides.


  • (Aug. 11 – 14)National Blueberry Festival

    South Haven, MI

    Eat until you're blue in the face during the festival in this Lake Michigan beach town. There's a pie-eating contest, riverfront concerts, an arts fair and a big parade on Saturday.


  • (Aug. 11 – 13)Ashley for the Arts music festival

    Arcadia, WI

    This nonprofit festival is in the southwest Wisconsin bluffs, half an hour north of Winona, Minn.

    Headliners include Chicago and Kellie Pickler. Tickets for all three days are $10. In addition to music, there will be a hot-air balloon launch, car show, arts, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.


  • (Aug. 12 – 14)Grand Portage Powwow & Rendezvous

    Grand Portage, MN

    Re-enactors from across the continent gather at Grand Portage National Monument for the annual fur-trade rendezvous; next door, the  Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa holds a powwow. Reserve lodgings far in advance.


  • (Aug. 12 – 14)Bayfront Blues Festival

    Duluth, MN

    The 28th annual music fest on the Lake Superior harbor showcases national and regional acts on three stages.


  • (Aug. 12 – 14)Irish Fair

    St. Paul, MN

    This big heritage fest on the banks of the Mississippi includes Irish Got Talent and best legs in a kilt contests, hurling demonstrations, dancing and lots of music.


  • (Aug. 12 – 14)Twin Cities Polish Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    This celebration of Polish culture is on the St. Anthony Main riverfront across from downtown, with music, art, food and free polka lessons.


  • (Aug. 12 – 14)Ship & Shore Festival

    New Buffalo, MI

    In this Lake Michigan beach town, there's live music, children's activities, arts and crafts, a lighted boat parade and fireworks.


  • (Aug. 13 – 14)Civil War Days

    Pipestone, MN

    In the southwest corner of Minnesota, this festival includes quilting bees, etiquette and ballroom dance lessons, camp tours, children's games, band concerts and a grand ball. Battle re-enactments are held both days.


  • (Aug. 13)Pure Water Days

    Chippewa Falls, WI

    There's a big parade downtown, followed by the Duck Splash Festival in Allen Park, then fireworks.


  • (Aug. 17 – 21)Venetian Festival

    Lake Geneva, WI

    In this southeast Wisconsin vacation area, the festival includes a carnival, arts and crafts fair, firefighter water fight and, on Sunday, a water-ski show followed by a lighted boat parade and fireworks.


  • (Aug. 18 – 21)Irish Fest

    Milwaukee, WI

    The nation's largest Irish festival features 100 acts on 16 stages, plus children's activities, red hair and freckle contests and demonstrations by Irish dog breeds. In Henry Maier Festival Park.


  • (Aug. 18 – 21)Tall Ships

    Duluth, MN

    The tall ships return to Lake Superior, with cruises, deck tours, music and family activities. Reserve early. Festivities start with a Parade of Sail.


  • (Aug. 19 – 21)Oronoco Gold Rush

    Oronoco, MN

    The antiques show and flea market in this friendly little village just north of Rochester off U.S. 52 includes more than 400 vendors and 1,200 booths. There's also pancakes for breakfast, homemade pie and music.


  • (Aug. 19 – 20)Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

    Wausau, WI

    Enjoy national and local blues musicians in Fern Island Park. There's a beer garden, of course.


  • (Aug. 20 – 21)Air & Water Show

    Chicago, IL

    The 58th annual free show features aerobatics, extreme flying and parachuting off North Avenue Beach.


  • (Aug. 20)Soar on the Shore

    Algoma, WI

    Learn about kite-flying from professionals on Lake Michigan's Crescent Beach.


  • (Aug. 20 – 21)World War I Weekend

    Fort Snelling, MN

    At this historic fort in the Twin Cities, watch military demonstrations, learn about women during wartime and stand in a recreated WWI-style trench.


  • (Aug. 25 – Sep 5)Minnesota State Fair

    St. Paul, MN

    Try flights at the Craft Beer Hall, eat food on a stick, listen to free concerts and watch the 2 p.m. daily parade.


  • (Aug. 26 – 28)Artstreet

    Green Bay, WI

    Artists, performers and craft and food stands fill streets downtown near the Fox River.


  • (Aug. 26 – 27)Potato Days

    Barnesville, MN

    This goofy central-Minnesota festival features mashed-potato wrestling, a golden potato hunt, potato car races, peeling and eating contests and a Saturday parade.


  • (Aug. 26 – 28)Porcupine Mountains Music Festival

    Silver City, MI

    Few settings are more beautiful than Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on Lake Superior; 25 national and regional blues, folk and bluegrass acts perform.


  • (Aug. 26 – 28)Mexican Fiesta

    Milwaukee, WI

    Enjoy the best of Mexican culture at the Henry Maier Festival Park: mariachi, arts and crafts, spicy foods and contests: dance, costume, jalapeno-eating and el grito, or shouting.


  • (Aug. 26 – 27)Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival

    Superior, WI

    The festival on Barker's Island begins Friday with a parade of teams, fireworks and a concert and continues Saturday with races in the harbor and family entertainment.


  • (Aug. 26 – 27)Vinton Boomtown

    Vinton, IA

    Fireworks provided by the Iowa Pyrotechnic Association are the centerpiece for this fest, which includes arts & crafts, food and kids' activities.


  • (Aug. 26 – 27)River Roots Live

    Davenport, IA

    This music festival in LeClaire Park, on the banks of the Mississippi, also features Rib Festival.

     


  • (Aug. 26 – 28)Great River Folk Festival

    La Crosse, WI

    This festival in Riverside Park includes children's activities, a traditional arts and crafts fair and music performances and workshops.


  • (Aug. 27 – 28)Festival in the Pines

    Eau Claire, WI

    There's music on two stages, children's games, a petting zoo and an arts fair in Carson Park. Entry to Paul Bunyan Logging Camp and Chippewa Valley Museum is included.


  • (Aug. 29 – Sep 4)National Old Time Country Bluegrass Festival

    LeMars, IA

    More than 600 musicians perform on 10 stages in this town in northwest Iowa.


  • (Aug. 31 – 13)Folklorama

    Winnipeg, MB

    This Manitoba prairie town celebrates its heritage with pavilions representing 44 nationalities, offering music, dance and food at many venues.


September

  • (Sep. 1 – 4)Chicago Jazz Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This free festival features music at the Chicago Cultural Center and  Millennium Park.


  • (Sep. 2 – 5)Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion

    Rollag, MN

    Revel in the past during this show of antique machinery, which includes rides on trains and a carousel, square dancing, roving musicians and nightly jamborees.

    In 2016, the show will feature the Great Minneapolis Line.


  • (Sep. 2 – 4)Wilhelm Tell Festival

    New Glarus, WI

    This Swiss town near Madison has been putting on an outdoor William Tell pageant since 1938. Festivities include a children's lantern parade, yodeling, an arts show and ethnic fashions.


  • (Sep. 2 – 3)Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw

    Prairie du Sac, WI

    There's chip-chucking contests in this Wisconsin River town, but also music, kids' games and an arts and crafts fair. The Tournament of Chips parade is at noon Saturday.


  • (Sep. 2 – 4)Wisconsin Highland Games

    Waukesha, WI

    In addition to heavy athletics — throwing weights, hammers, logs and sacks of hay — there will be piping, drumming, dancing, longbow competitions, dog demonstrations and traditional Scottish food.


  • (Sep. 3 – 4)Taste of Madison

    Madison, WI

    This free benefit festival on Capitol Square includes 200 menu items from more than 80 restaurants, all priced at $1-$4. There's also music on three stages.

     


  • (Sep. 3 – 5)Frankfort Fall Festival

    Frankfort, IL

    The festival in this southern suburb of Chicago features more than 300 artisans, entertainment, a carnival and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.


  • (Sep. 3 – 4)Kites Over Lake Michigan

    Two Rivers, WI

    On Neshotah Beach, watch giant kites, precision stunt teams, a release of sky lanterns and fireworks. There will be live music Saturday night and free kite-making for kids on Saturday.


  • (Sep. 4 – 5)Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival

    Geneva, IL

    Musicians and storytellers perform on eight stages at this festival in Island Park on the Fox River.


  • (Sep. 5)Mackinac Bridge Walk

    Mackinaw City, MI

    Once a year, on Labor Day, people can walk across the five-mile span, the third-longest suspension bridge in the world.