MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

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  • Wisconsin State Fair

    West Allis, WI

    The fair in this Milwaukee suburb features big-name musicians, a sea-lion show, a daily parade and lots of contests, including hog-calling, cookie-stacking and cream puff-eating.

     


  • Iowa State Fair

    Des Moines, IA

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


  • 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. Score so far: Illinois 22, Iowa 11.


  • 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.


  • Sweet Corn Festival

    Mendota, IL

    The festival in this town between Rochelle and La Salle features nearly 50 tons of free buttered corn, live music, a flea market, a carnival and a parade.


  • 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 Jefferson Starship, Foreigner, Toby Keith, Switchfood and Little Big Town. Thursday admission is free, and Friday-Saturday tickets are $20-$30. In addition to music, there will be an arts fair, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.


  • Bayfront Blues Festival

    Duluth, MN

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


  • 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.

     


  • 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.


  • Cache Ba$h

    West Bend, WI

    This town north of Milwaukee calls itself the Geocache Capital of the Midwest. For the festival, it hides 50 new caches and gives away $1,000 in cash prizes.


  • 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.


  • Art & Big Fork Festival

    Evanston, IL

    This downtown festival features live music and local food, beer, wine and fine art.


  • Grant Park Music Festival

    Chicago, IL

    Professional musicians, many of them world-famous, offer free classical concerts in Millennium Park's beautiful Pritzker Pavilion.

    This year, seating is at 25 percent capacity and still is free but must be reserved. Tickets will be available at 10 a.m. Mondays before the event.


  • Burger Fest

    Seymour, WI

    This town west of Green Bay calls itself Home of the Hamburger, based on a local 15-year-old who put ground-beef patties in a bun, called them hamburgers and sold them at the Seymour Fair in 1885.

    The festival features a ketchup slide, burger-eating contest and parade, plus music, a car show and a hot-air balloon rally.


  • Quad Cities Balloon Festival

    East Moline, IL

    This festival at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds includes balloon glows, launches, tethered rides and a play area for children.


  • Tall Tales Music Festival

    Burlington, WI

    This free festival celebrates storytelling through music, with performances by national as well as regional musicians. In addition, workshops are offered for people of all ages.