MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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May 2020  June 2020 July 2020
Sun
14
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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
6
-
Fri
5

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
7
-
Fri
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.

 

Blues Festival

Chicago, IL

The largest of Chicago's free music festivals draws 750,000 people to Millennium Park. 

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.

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.

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
14
-
Fri
5

Lilac Festival

Mackinac Island, MI

There are concerts, lilac walking tours, a dog and pony show, a family fun area and, on the last day, a big parade.

Sat
6

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. 

Milwaukee Highland Games

Wauwatosa, WI

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

Blessing of the Fleet Festival

Baileys Harbor, WI

Tour fishing boats, meet local fishing legends and watch a boat parade. There will also be a Scottish-terrier rally, music and arts and crafts.

Reggae Fest

Trempealeau, WI

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

Sun
7
-
Sat
6

Wisconsin state-parks open house

All state parks, WI

Visit a Wisconsin state park without paying the daily vehicle fee, $8-$13 for residents and $11-$16 for non-residents.

 

Outta Sight Kite Flight

Kenosha, WI

Fly kites along Lake Michigan in Kennedy Park.

Sun
7

Grand Old Day

St. Paul, MN

This popular Grand Avenue street party has four zones: entertainment, family fun, local artisans and sports and wellness. A parade starts at 9:30 a.m. at Dale Street.

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.

Wed
10

Grant Park Music Festival

Chicago, IL

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

The festival is virtual this year.

Sun
14
-
Thu
11

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.

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. 

 

Sat
13
-
Fri
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.

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.

Winstock Country Festival

Winsted, MN

Luke Combs and Darius Rucker headline this festival just west of Minneapolis.

Sun
14
-
Fri
12

Polish Fest

Milwaukee, WI

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

Spring 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 March 23; some tours sell out quickly.

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.

Windsurfing Regatta & Music Festival

Worthington, MN

This breezy town in southwest Minnesota hosts windsurfing races on Lake Okabena and a free music festival. There will also be children's activities, a bike ride and a fun run.

Canceled in 2020.

Walleye Weekend

Fond du Lac, WI

In addition to a fishing tournament, this free family fest features live music on four stages, a Friday parade and strongman, volleyball and cornhole competitions, plus a Familyland for small children and a Teen Village with a climbing wall, giant obstacle course and henna tattoo parlor.

Country Thunder Iowa Music Festival

Forest City, IA

The country-music festival in this town near Clear Lake features Lynyrd Skynrd, Riley Green and Old Dominion. There's camping (and glamping) onsite.

Sat
13

Wine & Food Festival

Leland, MI

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

PorchFest

Mount Morris, IL

During this afternoon music festival, 19 bands perform for 45 minutes each on porches around town. There will be food vendors, too.

Free Entrance Day to all Minnesota state parks

All state parks, MN

Entrance to all 75 Minnesota state parks is free today and also Nov. 27.

Sun
14
-
Sat
13

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.

Waterfront Festival

Madison, WI

This festival in Yahara Place Park on Lake Monona features music on two stages, children's games and the popular Fools Flotilla canoe tour.

Sun
21
-
Wed
17

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.

Perham Turtle Fest

Perham, MN

This town in the northwest Minnesota lakes region features turtle races, a rodeo, music, trolley rides, inflatable games and a parade Friday.

It's still on in 2020.

Ice Cream Days

Le Mars, IA

The festival in this northwest Iowa town, home of Blue Bunny ice cream, includes an art fair, old-fashioned children's games, architectural tours, a polo match, airplane and helicopter stunts and a parade at 9 a.m. Saturday. And the ice cream is free.

Sun
21
-
Thu
18

Bridgefest

Houghton/Hancock, MI

There will be helicopter rides, a water-ski show, a Friday parade and Saturday fireworks. The two towns are linked by the Keweenaw Peninsula's massive Portage Lift Bridge.

Jaycee Water Carnival

Hutchinson, MN

This town just west of Minneapolis, on the Crow River, celebrates with a boat parade, fireworks, human foosball tournament, canoe races, duck races, a car show and parade Sunday.

Sat
20
-
Fri
19

More on 34

Aurora to Galesburg, IL

A 131-mile yard sale along U.S. 34 from Aurora to Galesburg, with events in many towns.

It's canceled in 2020.

Harborfest

South Haven, MI

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

Northwoods Blues Festival

Chippewa Falls, WI

The blues festival is at Chippewa Riverfront Park. 

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.

Sun
21
-
Fri
19

Great Galena Balloon Race

Galena, IL

Eagle Ridge Resort hosts two balloon races, two night glows and rides for the public. 

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.

In 2020, the event is online.

Sat
20

Fyr Bal Festival

Ephraim, WI

It's the 56th 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.

Great Lakes Pirate Festival

Mackinaw City, MI

This city on the Mackinac Straits marks the launch of the pirate ship Good Fortune with music, pirate trivia, costume and "talk like a pirate'' contests and an evening cruise under the Mackinac Bridge (tickets are 2-for-1 if you're dressed like a pirate).

Sun
28
-
Tue
23

Swedish Days Festival

Geneva, IL

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

Sat
27
-
Thu
25

Twin Cities Jazz Festival

St. Paul, MN

Listen to jazz in Mears Park, in St. Paul's Lowertown.

Country Fest

Cadott, WI

This year's big outdoor festival near Chippewa Falls features Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley and Kane Brown.

Country USA

Oshkosh, WI

Toby Keith, Little Big Town and Thomas Rhett are among the headliners of this year's big festival at Ford Festival Park.

Lakes Jam

Brainerd, MN

Brothers Osborne, Jon Pardi and Ratt are among the headliners at this music-and-camping festival at Brainerd International Raceway.

Fri
26

Soo Locks Engineers Day

Sault Ste. Marie, MI

It's the biggest day of the year for boat nerds at the Soo Locks. People can walk across the locks, and there's also an arts, crafts and family fun fair.

Canceled in 2020.

Sat
27
-
Fri
26

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.

Sun
28
-
Fri
26

Musky Fest

Hayward, WI

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

Water Ski Days

Lake City, MN

There's music, an arts and crafts fair and, on Sunday, a parade followed by a water-ski show on Lake Pepin, where water-skiing was invented.

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.

Cedar Basin Jazz Festival

Cedar Falls, IA

There will be 42 hours of free entertainment in Sturgis Park, including a Sunday morning gospel set and a jazz brunch.

Sat
27

International Bridge Walk

Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Walk across the St. Mary's River to Canada at 9:30 a.m. or ride a bike there and back between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.

Walkers can take a bus back from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., for $5 and must bring a passport. Otherwise, the event is free.

Sun
28
-
Sat
27

Strawberry Festival

Cedarburg, WI

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

Afton Strawberry Festival

Afton, MN

This village on the St. Croix River offers an art fair, music, games, raptor demos and a strawberry shortcake-eating contest.