MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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April 2019  May 2019 June 2019
Sun
5
-
Sun
28

Homegrown Music Festival

Duluth, MN

More than 100 musical acts will perform in venues around the Twin Ports, and there also will be film, visual arts and craft beer.

Sat
4
-
Thu
2

Pella Tulip Time

Pella, IA

This big Dutch heritage fest features daily historical tours, a craft market and afternoon and evening parades.

Sun
5
-
Thu
2

Festival of Nations

St. Paul, MN

Enjoy food, music, crafts and dance from 90 different ethnic groups at the downtown RiverCentre.

100-Mile Garage Sale

Lake Pepin

This big garage sale is a good excuse to make the scenic, 70-mile drive around this wide spot in the Mississippi, in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Sat
4
-
Fri
3

Midwest Music Fest

Winona, MN

Dozens of musical groups in all genres play in museums, galleries, cafes and arts centers across town. There are arts workshops for children, too.

Sun
5
-
Fri
3

Kettle River Paddle Festival

Sandstone, MN

Watch a kayak whitewater rodeo, take a paddling clinic, make your own paddle or join a group float. There's hiking and rock-climbing, too. In Sandstone's Robinson Park and Banning State Park.

 

Earth Arts Spring Art Tour

Upper St. Croix Valley, WI

Visit artists at 28 studios and sites in and around St. Croix Falls, Osceola and Amery.

Sat
4

Kids & Kites Festival

Chicago, IL

This festival on Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park includes free kite kits for kids, games and a candy drop from kites.

Cinco de Mayo

St. Paul, MN

This fiesta on the West Side (just south of downtown) features a parade, low-rider car show and lots of food, music and dancing.

Sun
5
-
Sat
4

Maifest

Amana, IA

There's a lot going on in this former communal society in eastern Iowa — a 10 a.m. Saturday parade, polka music, keg-tapping, food-sampling, artisan demonstrations and pony rides.

Sun
12
-
Sat
4

Tulip Time

Holland, MI

More than 6 million tulips bloom during this festival, which features a Dutch market, dancers, trolley tours, big-name performers and three parades, ending with the Muziekparade, with 40 bands and 40 floats.

Sun
5

May Day Parade and Festival

Minneapolis, MN

This earthy, lighthearted Sunday-afternoon event in south Minneapolis' Powderhorn Park features the giant puppets of Heart of the Beast Theatre and a people's parade to the park.

 

Sun
12
-
Fri
10

Spring Festival & Folk Fest

Gays Mills, WI

This Kickapoo Valley village in southwest Wisconsin offers a rodeo, tractor pull, Maypole dancing and a Saturday-night folk concert.

Mushroom Festival

Mesick, MI

This northwest Michigan town is morel central in May, celebrating the spring hunt with a carnival, carriage rides, flea market, duck races and a parade at noon Saturday.

Mon
13
-
Fri
10

Horicon Marsh Bird Festival

Horicon, WI

This large festival in east-central Wisconsin is around a large marsh often called the Everglades of the North. There are bird hikes, bird-banding demonstrations, pontoon-boat tours, canoe and kayak tours, bus tours and a round-the-clock Big Sit, in which participants try to identify as many birds as possible. Register early for field trips.

Sat
11

Cinco de Mayo

Darlington, WI

This southwest Wisconsin town celebrates with mariachi music, a salsa contest, a soccer tournament and children's activities.

Reggae Fest

Trempealeau, WI

The Trempealeau Hotel hosts this easygoing festival on the banks of the Mississippi. 

Sun
12
-
Sat
11

Wordplay Book Festival

Minneapolis, MN

The Loft Literary Center hosts this family-friendly festival, featuring Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Jamaica Kincaid, Mitch Albom, Bill McKibben, Pico Iyer and dozens of other authors.

Sat
18
-
Wed
15

Festival of Birds

Detroit Lakes, MN

This festival in northwest Minnesota is near the convergence of prairie with northern pine forest and eastern hardwood forest. Space in field trips to local refuges fills quickly.

Sat
18
-
Thu
16

Tulip Festival

Orange City, IA

The popular festival in this Dutch town in northwest Iowa celebrates its 78th anniversary with dance, music, street scrubbing and parades at 2:15 and 6 p.m. daily.

Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival

Ashland, WI

Based out of the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center, activities include bird-banding, hikes and expeditions, hatchery tours and kayaking tours of estuaries.

Sun
19
-
Thu
16

National Morel Mushroom Festival

Boyne City, MI

This town on the east end of Lake Charlevoix is all about morels in May, with a guided mushroom hunt, a competition with prizes, drawings for free morels and The Taste of Morels, with morsels provided by local restaurants.

Sat
18
-
Fri
17

Midwest Music Fest

La Crosse, WI

Dozens of musical groups in all genres play in museums, galleries, cafes and arts centers across town. There are arts workshops for children, too.

Sun
19
-
Fri
17

Syttende Mai

Stoughton, WI

The festival in this town south of Madison, which celebrates Norwegian constitution day, is the largest in North America and probably the world. It features Norwegian dancing, Viking games, fjord horses, a canoe race, an arts fair and a big parade at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Syttende Mai

Spring Grove, MN

In Minnesota, Norwegians settled first in this town in bluff country. There's Norwegian food, music and dance, and a big parade at noon Saturday.

Art-A-Whirl Studio and Gallery Tour

Minneapolis, MN

More than 500 artists take part in this tour of 60 locations in the northeast Minneapolis arts district.

 

DubuqueFest

Dubuque, IA

This downtown arts festival includes dance, music on two stages, storytelling, food and children's activities.

Trout Days

Preston, MN

This town on the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail celebrates spring with a car show, a petting zoo, bungee run and parade.

Sat
18

Stand Still Parade

Whalan, MN

In this village on the Root River State Trail, just east of Lanesboro, it's the spectators who do the parading. There's music, food and games.

BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass

St. Joseph, MI

This town on Lake Michigan welcomes summer with craft beer, barbecue and five blues bands. In Whirlpool Centennial Park.

Sun
19
-
Sat
18

Morel Mushroom Festival

Muscoda, WI

This town along the Wisconsin River calls itself the Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin. There's a Sunday parade plus a car show, fireworks, helicopter rides, a chainsaw-carving show and microbrew tasting.

Syttende Mai

Westby, WI

This Norwegian town, southeast of La Crosse, holds a bicycle tour, troll hunt, rommegrot-eating contest, old-time music, children's tractor pull and a big parade at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Civil War Living History Festival

Milton, WI

In this town near Janesville, this free festival is at the Milton House Museum, once a stop on the Underground Railroad. It features an encampment of soldiers, military drills, cannon firing and an historic walking tour. Sign up in advance for living-history tours of the hotel, where guests will go back to 1861 and meet a freedom-seeker hidden in the cellar.

Doors Open Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN

Get a free, behind-the-scenes look at 115 historic theaters, hotels, courthouses and mansions as well as new buildings and venues, including Target Field, Surly Brewing, the Prospect Park water tower and the Pillsbury A Mill. On-site docents lead tours or answer questions.

Sun
19

Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon

Libertyville, IL

This 18.5-mile race and tour through forest preserves to Mount Prospect is for families and first-timers as well as competitors. There's also a 5.25-mile Minithon, and boats can be rented.

Sun
26
-
Sun
19

Duluth Dylan Festival

Duluth, MN

The town in which Bob Dylan was born celebrates the singer's 77th birthday with a Blood on the Tracks train ride, a singer-songwriter contest, a bus tour, films, music and a trivia contest.

 

 

 

Sun
26
-
Thu
23

Tree Town Music Festival

Forest City, IA

The country-music festival in this town near Clear Lake features Jake Owens, Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith. There's camping (and glamping) onsite.

Mon
27
-
Thu
23

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.''

Sat
25
-
Fri
24

CelebrAsian Asian Heritage Festival

Des Moines, IA

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

Sun
26
-
Fri
24

World's Largest Brat Fest

Madison, WI

There's music on four stages, plus kids' games, a sports zone, carnival rides and Sunday fireworks. Headliners include Smash Mouth. Admission is free. Outside the Alliant Energy Center.

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.

Mon
27
-
Fri
24

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.

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival

Oak Forest, IL

In this south Chicago suburb, there's music on five stages, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests.

River Valley Festival

Boone, IA

In this town north of Des Moines, there will be walking tours of the Iowa Arboretum, guided hikes, a bags tourney, an art fair with music, a garage-art car show and a family ride on the High Trestle Trail. On Saturday, Grand Funk Railroad and the Blue Oyster Cult perform.

Sun
26
-
Sat
25

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.

Mon
27
-
Sat
25

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.

Sun
26

BobFest

Spring Green, WI

The Spring Green General Store in this artistic town on the Wisconsin River celebrates Bob Dylan's 78th birthday with free outdoor music.

Soundset

St. Paul, MN

This hiphop festival is at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Sat
1
-
Fri
31

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.

Gospel Festival

Chicago, IL

This free music festival is in Millennium Park and across the street at the Cultural Center.

Sun Drop Dayz

Shawano, WI

This northwoods town offers music, kids' activities, a car show, flea market, magic show and craft fair, plus samples of the locally made Sun Drops soda.

Sun
2
-
Fri
31

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.

 

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.

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.

Edina Art Fair

Edina, MN

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

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.

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.

Sun
9
-
Fri
31

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.