MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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June 2020  July 2020 August 2020
Wed
1

Canada Day

Thunder Bay, ON

On Canada Day at Fort William Historical Park, the continent's largest reconstructed fur post, admission is free to the first 500 visitors. There's also free corn on the cob, an inflatable obstacle course, axe-throwing, paintball, canoe rides, dance performances and bannock-making, log-sawing and lacrosse contests.

Sat
4
-
Wed
1

Riverfest

La Crosse, WI

This riverfront festival includes music, magicians, a hypnotist, a pole-vaulting competition, kids' races, a water-ski show and fireworks by the La Crosse Skyrockers.

Sat
4
-
Thu
2

Eyes to the Skies Festival

Lisle, IL

This large festival on the west edge of Chicago features daily hot-air balloon launches, glows and fireworks shows, plus children's activities and a craft fair.

Sun
5
-
Thu
2

National Women's Music Festival

Middleton, WI

In addition to concerts, this musical and cultural festival at the Marriott Madison West features comedy, theater, film and writers' workshops.

Ribfest

Romeoville, IL

Headliners in this southwest Chicago suburb include REO Speedwagon and Styx in Knoch Park, where there's also magic shows, kids' games, food and fireworks on the last evening.

Sun
5
-
Fri
3

Iowa City Jazz Festival

Iowa City, IA

This downtown festival features a Culinary Row, Fun Zone for kids and Sunday fireworks in addition to music.

Riverfront Rendezvous

Stevens Point, WI

There's a noon parade on the Fourth plus lumberjack and magic shows, bands and, on Saturday, kids' games, a lighted boat parade and fireworks.

Sat
4

Red White and Boom

Minneapolis, MN

There's a half-marathon, relay and 5K in the morning, and music and family activities from 6 to 10 p.m., followed by fireworks.

Festivities are along the riverfront across from downtown.

In 2020, the fireworks and music are canceled.

 

Sub Fest

Manitowoc, WI

The fest at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, home of the USS Cobia, is combined with Fourth on the Shore this year and features music, a parade and fireworks.

Fire Over the Fox

Green Bay, WI

Green Bay hosts the largest fireworks show north of Milwaukee, plus a water-ski show, carnival rides and music and family entertainment on five stages plus the Neville Public Museum. It's in Leicht Memorial Park.

Sat
11
-
Sat
4

National Cherry Festival

Traverse City, MI

This town on Lake Michigan attracts half a million people to events that include air shows, an arts fair, music, races, the big Cherry Royale Parade and many contests, including pie-eating and pit-spitting.

Sun
12
-
Wed
8

Taste of Chicago

Chicago, IL

The big free festival in Grant Park offers lots of food and music.

Karl Oskar Days

Lindstrom, MN

The festival in this Swedish town just north of the Twin Cities features fireworks, a car show and a parade.

Sat
11
-
Thu
9

Heart of the North Rodeo

Spooner, WI

Look for the four R's in this western Wisconsin town: roping, bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. A parade is on Saturday.

Iola Old Car Show

Iola, WI

This show and swap meet brings up to 130,000 people to this village east of Stevens Point.

Sun
12
-
Thu
9

Winnipeg Folk Festival

Winnipeg, MB

This easy-going, family-friendly festival features more than 70 performers from eight countries, food and hand-made art from around the world plus a fun play area for children. 

Many people camp on-site at Birds Hill Provincial Park. Tickets are cheapest when bought in advance.

Bastille Days

Milwaukee, WI

Look for minstrels, cancan dancers, French lessons, a Mardi Gras parade and a 43-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower in Cathedral Square Park.

Hodag Country Festival

Rhinelander, WI

This year, performers at this big fest include Neal McCoy and Darius Rucker. There's a band contest, too.

Balloon Rally/Ribfest/Chalkfest

Wausau, WI

At the airport, the Balloon and Rib Fest features hot-air balloons, kite-flying, a petting zoo, music and fireworks. 

On Saturday and Sunday, artists decorate downtown during Chalkfest. There's a shuttle bus from downtown.

Riverfest

Monticello, MN

This Mississippi River town, known for its trumpeter swans in winter, celebrates summer with a car show, pie-eating contest, Friday fireworks and noon parade on Sunday.

Sun
19
-
Thu
9

Fiesta Days

McHenry, IL

There's a Music Fest, carnival and car and motorcycle show in Petersen Park the first weekend and a children's ice cream social, arts and crafts fair and Sunday parade the second weekend in Veteran's Memorial Park.

Sat
11
-
Fri
10

Basilica Block Party

Minneapolis, MN

Praise the Loud at this ticketed rock-music fest at the Basilica of St. Mary on the edge of downtown. 

Bigfoot Days

Remer, MN

This town in Chippewa National Forest, between Walker and Grand Rapids, calls itself the Home of Bigfoot. There will be a Bigfoot Olympics, a Bigfoot-calling contest, Bigfoot storytelling, a scavenger hunt and a petting zoo.

Sun
12
-
Fri
10

Blissfest

Cross Village, MI

This family-friendly folk and roots festival on a farm includes reggae, country, zydeco, jazz and Celtic music on three stages and four workshop areas. There's also a juried arts and crafts fair. Rustic camping is available.

Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival

Clear Lake, IA

There are professional races plus a tour, blues music and craft beer at this festival based in City Park.

Square Roots Festival

Chicago, IL

The Old Town School of Folk Music presents this Lincoln Square festival, which includes more than 60 acts on four stages plus 30 local and regional craft beers and food from neighborhood restaurants.

Sun
19
-
Fri
10

Northwest Water Carnival

Detroit Lakes, MN

This big festival celebrates its 85th year with a sand-castle contest, water fights, ship-building (in less than 30 minutes), beer tasting, watermelon feed, bike tour and more. On the last day, there's a big parade at 1 p.m.

Sat
11

Driftless Music Festival

Viroqua, WI

This free folk and roots festival is in Viroqua's Eckhart Park.

Sun
12
-
Sat
11

Phelps Mill Festival

Phelps, MN

There's a juried arts and crafts fair, children's activities and music in this bucolic, tucked-away park along the Otter Tail River, next to an 1889 brick and clapboard mill that's open for tours.

The hamlet of Phelps is just west of Otter Tail Lake and north of Underwood.

Art Fair On/Off the Square

Madison, WI

Nearly 500 artists from around the nation will be selling on Capitol Square and 140 Wisconsin artists around Monona Terrace, attracting more than 200,000 people.

Grand Marais Arts Festival

Grand Marais, MN

This juried art show along the Lake Superior harbor includes children's activities, art demonstrations, a pie social and live music.

Sat
18
-
Thu
16

Rock Fest

Cadott, WI

This year's outdoor festival near Chippewa Falls features Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and Disturbed.

Rock USA

Oshkosh, WI

This rock festival is held in Ford Festival Park.

Country Jam

Eau Claire, WI

Luke Combs, Chris Young and Locash are  among the headliners of this fest. There's camping on-site.

Sun
19
-
Thu
16

Bavarian Blast

New Ulm, MN

In addition to German music, food and beer, this festival at the Brown County Fair Grounds features stein-holding, barrel-rolling and sauerkraut-eating contests, plus a Sunday parade.

Paperfest

Kimberly, WI

This Fox Cities town celebrates its heritage with toilet-paper tosses, lawn games, concerts, human foosball and a firefighter tug of war.

Sat
18
-
Fri
17

RiverSong Music Festival

Hutchinson, MN

This family-friendly festival on the Crow River, west of the Twin Cities, features folk, blues, jazz and other grassroots music on three stages, including one for children. There's onsite camping and food.

Lowertown Blues & Funk Festival

St. Paul, MN

This free, all-ages festival is in Mears Park.

Sun
19
-
Fri
17

Highland Fest

St. Paul, MN

This street fair in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood includes an arts fair, music, carnival rides, wiener-dog races and an all-Ford car and truck show.

Festa Italiana

Milwaukee, WI

At the lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park, there's cannoli-eating and pizza-making contests, celebrity chefs, a bocce ball tournament, parades at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, nightly fireworks and music and dance on five stages and an opera tent.

Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival

Marquette, MI

This folk-music festival in Tourist Park also features a juried arts and crafts show and camping on-site.

Honor the Earth Pow-wow

Hayward, WI

The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa hold one of the largest powwows in North America, with dancing, singing and crafts plus a cooking contest, run/walk and softball tournament.

Lumberjack Days

Stillwater, MN

This music festival along the St. Croix River also features lumberjack shows and such attractions as a downhill derby, hammerschlagen, helicopter rides and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. 

It's canceled in 2020.

Wannigan Days

St. Croix Falls, WI

St. Croix Falls and its cross-river neighbor, Taylors Falls, pay tribute to lumberjacks and river pigs with rock and country music, an arts and crafts fair, a Saturday parade and fireworks.

Sat
18

Stockholm Art Fair

Stockholm, WI

This hamlet on Lake Pepin, a favorite day trip destination for Twin Citians, becomes a shopping mecca during this big fair.

Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival

Duluth, MN

Listen to island music on the shore of Lake Superior.

Big Top Parade & Circus Celebration

Baraboo, WI

In the downtown square, there will be circus-themed performances, walking tours, music, children's activities and a Big Top parade at 11 a.m.

Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games

Eagan, MN

This fest south of St. Paul features Celtic music, a British car show, a harp competition and heavy games, such as hammer throwing, sheaf tossing, caber turning and the stone put.

Port Fish Day

Port Washington, WI

The world's largest one-day outdoor fish fry also includes classic car and arts and crafts shows, soccer water fights, a smoked-fish eating contest, music on three stages, a parade and fireworks.

Sun
19
-
Sat
18

Agate Days

Moose Lake, MN

See the beautiful stones on display, then dig for them at 3 p.m. Saturday during the Agate Stampede, when a load of rocks seeded with 400 pounds agates, $400 in quarters and $100 in 50-cent pieces is dumped downtown.

There's also music and an art fair.

Chinatown Summer Fair

Chicago, IL

There's a Lion Dance, Chinese classical dance and music, demonstrations of martial arts and displays of ancient art forms and disciplines plus a petting zoo, pony rides and cutest baby and a "hot legs" contest for men.

Civil War Encampment and Battle

Menomonee Falls, WI

This event at Old Falls Village features Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, storytelling and a soldier encampment with medical and cooking demonstration. General Grant narrates the Battle of Cedar Run, 2 p.m. both days.

Sat
25
-
Sat
18

Charlevoix Venetian Festival

Charlevoix, MI

A week of music and games winds up with an 11 a.m. street parade and, at dusk, a lighted boat parade followed by fireworks.

Sun
19

Woodstock Folk Festival

Woodstock, IL

Listen to music on the square in this town just over the Wisconsin border from Lake Geneva.

Sun
26
-
Mon
20

EAA AirVenture

Oshkosh, WI

This huge Experimental Aircraft Association festival includes air shows, fireworks, big-name concerts, children's activities, workshops, exhibits and rides in historic aircraft.

Reserve lodgings early; it fills rooms within a 60-mile radius.

Sat
25
-
Wed
22

Aquatennial

Minneapolis, MN

The City of Lakes holds a Torchlight Parade, water-ski shows and Saturday fireworks.

Sat
25
-
Thu
23

Nordic Fest

Decorah, IA

It's the 54th year of this friendly, authentic and very large festival of Scandinavian culture. It features a Viking encampment, kids' games, artisan demonstrations, lutefisk-eating and Nordic rock-throwing contests and a big parade at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Sun
26
-
Thu
23

Great Folle Avoine Fur Trade Rendezvous

Danbury, WI

At this rendezvous at a rebuilt post on the banks of the Yellow River, visit with costumed traders and voyageurs from the fur-trade era and see demonstrations of tomahawk-throwing, black-powder shooting, candlemaking and other skills. There will also be a candy cannon, bead pile and ladies' and kids' games. 

The village occupies the site of an Ojibwe village where the North West and XY Company posts operated between 1802 and 1804.

The event is still on in 2020.

Sat
25
-
Fri
24

Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant

Walnut Grove, MN

The festival in this western Minnesota town revolves around the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek.'' 

Prairie Dog Blues Festival

Prairie du Chien, WI

This Mississippi River festival on historic St. Feriole Island features 12 bands on two stages, with onsite camping.

Riverboat Days

Wabasha, MN

This Mississippi River town celebrates with a pedal tractor pull, duck derby, firemen's water fight and parade.

La Crosse Storytelling Festival

La Crosse, WI

Listen to local, regional and national storytellers spin tales at the Pump House. There will also be music and arts and crafts.

Muskie Days

Nevis, MN

The festival in this lake town on the Heartland State Trail features an inflatable obstacle course, hula-hoop instruction, a casting contest, music on three stages, kids' games, an ice cream-eating contest and a parade  Saturday.

Sun
26
-
Fri
24

Pierogi Fest

Whiting, IN

This suburb of Chicago exalts the plump Eastern European dumplings, filled with cheese, mashed potatoes or sauerkraut, with pierogi-eating and -tossing contests, a Mr. Pierogi songfest and a Polka Parade.

Canceled in 2020.

German Fest

Milwaukee, WI

Look for dachshunds, dirndls and lots of oompah music at this big party at Henry Maier Festival Park on Lake Michigan.

Canceled in 2020.

Taste of Wisconsin

Kenosha, WI

This free harborfront festival features locally produced specialties as well as cooking demonstrations, gardening workshops and music on three stages.

Sat
1
-
Fri
24

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
2
-
Fri
24

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.

Canceled in 2020.

Sat
25

ArtBike + ArtCar Parade

Minneapolis, MN

Decorated bikes, cars and one Couchmobile will circle Lake Harriet at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to bring a decorated conveyance and join the parade; meet at 5 p.m. at the Rose Garden.

Sun
26
-
Sat
25

Air and Water Show

Milwaukee, WI

This show, between Bradford and McKinley beaches on the lakefront, features many aerobatics and features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and, on the water, the Badgerland Ski Team.

Rendezvous in the Sault

Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Reenactors, musicians and artisans bring back the fur-trade era with cannon-firing, puppet shows, storytelling and games.

Midwest Fire Fest

Cambridge, WI

This pottery town east of Madison celebrates the arts fueled by fire, including clay, glass and metal. It includes fire dancing, music from seven bands, demonstrations and food, including wood-fired pizza. Fest-goers can design their own tiles to be created during a hot-iron pour Saturday.

Sat
1
-
Wed
29

Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival

Bemidji, MN

In addition to boat races, there will be kids' activities, cultural performances, music and a parade of teams.

Sat
1
-
Thu
30

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.

Sun
2
-
Thu
30

Buffalo Bill Days

Lanesboro, MN

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

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.

The main event is canceled in 2020, but locals are working to organize some music, food stands and fireworks.

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.

Mile of Music

Appleton, WI

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

Fri
31

Blueberry Festival

Marquette, MI

Eat blueberry pizza and drink blueberry beer while listening to live music and watching dancers and medieval armored combat. There are also pony rides and games for kids.

Sat
1
-
Fri
31

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.

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.

Soul & Blues Festival

Iowa City, IA

This is the second year of this downtown music festival. 

Sun
2
-
Fri
31

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.

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.

Festa Italiana

Naperville, IL

This festival at the Naper Settlement is a showcase for Italian culture, food, music and artisans and has two entertainment stages.