MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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July 2019  August 2019 September 2019
Sat
3
-
Fri
26

National Balloon Classic

Indianola, IA

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

Sun
4
-
Fri
26

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.

Sun
4
-
Tue
30

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. Headliners include Brooks & Dunn, Jake Owen, Nickelback and Brad Paisley.

Sun
4
-
Wed
31

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 on Sunday.

Sat
3
-
Thu
1

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.

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.

WE Fest

Detroit Lakes, MN

Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and Brooks & Dunn are among the headliners at this big country festival in west-central Minnesota.

Sun
4
-
Thu
1

Lollapalooza

Chicago, IL

This big music festival features dozens of bands and, unlike other Grant Park festivals, is not free. Reserve rooms far in advance.

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.

Mile of Music

Appleton, WI

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

Tall Ships Kenosha

Kenosha, WI

Seven schooners, barques and brigs will arrive Thursday as part of the Tall Ships Challenge and gather outside the harbor for a Parade of Sail, led by Kenosha's own Red Witch.

From Friday to Sunday, a festival includes on-board tours, day sail excursions, maritime entertainment, kids' activities and music.

The ships will leave Monday morning. They include the Picton Castle, the Pride of Baltimore II, the U.S. Brig Niagara and Bluenose II.


Sun
11
-
Thu
1

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.

Fri
2

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.

Sat
3
-
Fri
2

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.

Soul & Blues Festival

Iowa City, IA

Summer of the Arts adds this new festival to its offerings.

Sun
4
-
Fri
2

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. The parade is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Buffalo Bill Days

Lanesboro, MN

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

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.

Blues on the Chippewa

Durand, WI

Just up the Chippewa River from Lake Pepin, this free blues festival in Memorial Park features 16 bands.

Tall Timber Days

Grand Rapids, MN

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

Sun
4
-
Sat
3

Powderhorn Art Fair

Minneapolis, MN

This juried art festival in Powderhorn Park, in south Minneapolis, attracts more than 200 artists and is not far from the big Uptown Art Fair, on the same weekend.

Sat
17
-
Sun
4

Folklorama

Winnipeg, MB

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

Sat
10
-
Thu
8

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 21, Iowa 11.

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 Billy Ray Cyrus, Mat Kearney, 3 Doors Down and Lady Antebellum. Tickets for all three days are $15. In addition to music, there will be a hot-air balloon launch, circus acts, car show, arts, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.

Sun
11
-
Thu
8

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

Richmond, MN

This 39th annual family-friendly festival includes music on five stages and workshops at El Rancho Mañana Campground, 20 miles west of St. Cloud. Headliners include Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.

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.

Sun
18
-
Thu
8

Iowa State Fair

Des Moines, IA

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

Sat
10
-
Fri
9

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.

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.

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.

Sun
11
-
Fri
9

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.

Bayfront Blues Festival

Duluth, MN

The 31st 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.

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.

Live From the Rock

Red Rock, ON

This folk festival is on the shores of Lake Superior, east of Thunder Bay near Nipigon. Camping is on-site.

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.

Shawano Folk Music Festival

Shawano, WI

The family-friendly festival in this northwoods town includes dance, crafts, children's activities and instruction on four stages in Mielke Park, plus indoor evening concerts.

Sat
10

Square Lake Film & Music Festival

Stillwater, MN

This festival near Square Lake County Park, north of Stillwater, alternates short independent films with live music. Festgoers arriving by bicycle get half-price tickets, which sell out in advance.

Pure Water Days

Chippewa Falls, WI

There's a big parade downtown, followed by Riverfest in Allen Park.

IndiaFest

St. Paul, MN

On the State Capitol grounds, watch Bollywood dance and a parade of cultures, eat East Indian food, get your hands painted with henna and learn the principles of cricket and yoga.

Tue
13
-
Sun
11

Festival of Sail

Duluth, MN

This port city is holding its own tall-ship festival, apart from the non-profit Tall Ships Challenge being held on the other Great Lakes, with entertainment, tours and day sails.

Featured ships include the U.S. Brig Niagara from Erie, Pa., the Appledore V from Bay City, Mich., and the Denis Sullivan from Milwaukee.

The Parade of Sail will be Sunday morning, and ships will be open for on-board tours after that.

Sun
18
-
Wed
14

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.

Sun
18
-
Thu
15

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.

Ki-Chi-Saga Days

Chisago City, MN

The fest in this town just north of St. Paul features an Old World market, sandcastle and skateboard contests, Swedish dancers, a horn hunt, fireworks Saturday and a parade on Sunday.

Sat
17
-
Fri
16

Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

Wausau, WI

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

Grant Park Music Festival

Chicago, IL

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

Sun
18
-
Fri
16

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.

Art & Big Fork Festival

Evanston, IL

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

Blues, Brews & BBQ

McHenry, IL

Listen to the blues and eat barbecued foods in Petersen Park on McCollum Lake.

Festival on the Bay

Petoskey, MI

In this Lake Michigan town, there will be kayak and canoe rides, a petting zoo, art fair, live music, cardboard-boat race, cornhole tournament and firefighter water-ball competition.

Sat
17

HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival

Kenosha, WI

This free festival is in the lakefront Celebration Place.

Soar on the Shore

Algoma, WI

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

PastyFest

Calumet, MI

The humble miner's lunch — meat and rutabagas in a pocket of pie crust — has inspired this Keweenaw Peninsula festival, which includes such events as a PastyWalk, PastyPoetry contest and, of course, a PastyCook-Off.

Toivo the walking and talking pasty will appear, and there will be games, such as a PastyPull, Rutabaga Shotput, Onion Pass and Egg Toss. The PastyParade is at 2 p.m.

Sun
18
-
Sat
17

Air & Water Show

Chicago, IL

The 60th annual free show features aerobatics, extreme flying and parachuting off North Avenue Beach.

Sun
25
-
Wed
21

Lakes Bluegrass Festival

Pine River, MN

This family-friendly festival at the Cass County Fairgrounds, just off the Paul Bunyan State Trail, features more than 40 bluegrass shows and free workshops.

Mon
2
-
Thu
22

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.

Sat
24
-
Fri
23

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.

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.

Sun
25
-
Fri
23

Artstreet

Green Bay, WI

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

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.

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.

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.

Sun
1
-
Fri
23

Chicago Jazz Festival

Chicago, IL

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

Sat
24

Crossroads Blues Festival

Rockford, IL

Enjoy a day of blues in Lyran Park, with food from local restaurants.

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.

Mon
2
-
Thu
29

Midwest Old Threshers Reunion

Mount Pleasant, IA

This gathering of steam engines and antique cars, trucks and tractors also features a horse pull, concerts, square dancing and a parade.

Sat
31
-
Fri
30

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.

Sun
1
-
Fri
30

Marquette Area Blues Fest

Marquette, MI

Enjoy a weekend of music in Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior.

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.

Boundary Waters Blues Festival

Ely, MN

Ten bands play Friday and Saturday on Fall Lake, five miles east of Ely. There's camping on-site.

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.

Mon
2
-
Fri
30

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.

 

Sun
1
-
Sat
31

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.

 

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.

Fox Jazz Festival

Menasha, WI

This free Fox Cities jazz festival is in Jefferson Park, on the shores of Lake Winnebago.

Los Dells

Mauston, WI

This Latin-music festival features on-site tent camping and shuttles from hotels in the Wisconsin Dells.

Mon
2
-
Sat
31

Frankfort Fall Festival

Frankfort, IL

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

Marina Fest

Sister Bay, WI

In this Door County village, there will be a vintage boat show, craft fair,  kids' carnival, music and Saturday fireworks.