MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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April 2020  May 2020 June 2020
Sun
3
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Thu
30

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
2
-
Fri
1

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
3
-
Fri
1

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
2

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.

The festival is virtual this year -- watch it online.

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
10
-
Sat
2

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.

It's canceled in 2020.

Sun
14
-
Tue
5

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.

Sat
9
-
Thu
7

Pella Tulip Time

Pella, IA

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

Mon
11
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Thu
7

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.

Sun
10
-
Fri
8

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.

Sat
9

Cinco de Mayo

Darlington, WI

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

Wordplay Book Festival

Minneapolis, MN

The Loft Literary Center hosts this family-friendly festival, featuring dozens of authors.

Sat
16
-
Thu
14

Tulip Festival

Orange City, IA

The popular festival in this Dutch town in northwest Iowa celebrates its 80th anniversary with dance, music, street scrubbing and parades at 2:15 and 6 p.m. daily.

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.

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.

Canceled in 2020.

Sun
17
-
Thu
14

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.

Sun
17
-
Fri
15

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.

In 2020, the festival is online.

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
16

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
17
-
Sat
16

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.

Sun
24
-
Sat
16

Duluth Dylan Festival

Duluth, MN

The town in which Bob Dylan was born celebrates the singer's 79th birthday with a Blood on the Tracks train ride, a singer-songwriter contest, a bus tour, films, music and a trivia contest.

The festival is exclusively online in 2020.

Sun
17

Ride the Drive

Madison, WI

Ride, walk or skate a car-free, four-mile route along Lake Monona to stops in three parks, with activities, food and music.

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.

Mon
25
-
Thu
21

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
23
-
Fri
22

CelebrAsian Asian Heritage Festival

Des Moines, IA

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

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.

Sun
24
-
Fri
22

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
25
-
Fri
22

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.

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, Night Ranger, Skid Row and Great White perform.

Mon
25
-
Sat
23

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
24

BobFest

Spring Green, WI

The Spring Green General Store in this artistic town on the Wisconsin River celebrates Bob Dylan's 79th birthday with free outdoor music.

Sat
30
-
Tue
26

Gospel Festival

Chicago, IL

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

Sat
30
-
Fri
29

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.

Sun
31
-
Fri
29

Festa Italia

Fitchburg, WI

The heritage festival at McKee Farms Park in this Madison suburb features such things as folk dancing, a puppet show, a pasta-eating contest and vintage baseball as well as bocce ball.

Sun
31

Ride for the Arts

Milwaukee, WI

This bicycle ride along the Lake Michigan lakefront includes routes of 5, 12, 25, 40 and 66 miles. The longest route goes as far north as Port Washington.

The rides start and end at the Summerfest grounds, and there's a party afterward.