MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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July 2020  August 2020 September 2020
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
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.

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.

Sun
2
-
Sat
1

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
15
-
Sun
2

Folklorama

Winnipeg, MB

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

Sun
9
-
Tue
4

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 Locash, Keith Urban, Old Dominion and Pitbull.

Sat
8
-
Thu
6

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 Sawyer Brown, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Switchfoot. Tickets for all three days are $15 when bought online. In addition to music, there will be a hot-air balloon launch, circus acts, car show, arts, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.

Sun
9
-
Thu
6

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

Richmond, MN

This 41st annual family-friendly festival includes music on five stages and workshops at El Rancho Mañana Campground, 20 miles west of St. Cloud. 

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
16
-
Thu
6

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.

It's canceled in 2020, but a Fair Food Drive-Thru will be held July 30-Aug. 2, with 40 foods from 12 State Fair vendors.

Fri
7

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
8
-
Fri
7

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.

Sun
9
-
Fri
7

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.

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.

Canceled in 2020.

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.

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.

Sat
8

Pure Water Days

Chippewa Falls, WI

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

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.

Thu
13

White Sox vs. Yankees at the Field of Dreams

Dyersville, IA

The Yankees will play the White Sox at the Field of Dreams movie site in a cornfield near Dubuque.

Sat
15
-
Thu
13

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 22, Iowa 11.

Sun
16
-
Thu
13

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.

Sun
23
-
Thu
13

Iowa State Fair

Des Moines, IA

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

Sat
15
-
Fri
14

Quad Cities Balloon Festival

East Moline, IL

This festival at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds includes balloon glows, launches, tethered rides and a play area for children.

Sun
16
-
Fri
14

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.

Bayfront Blues Festival

Duluth, MN

The 32nd annual music fest on the Lake Superior harbor showcases national and regional acts on three stages.

Blues, Brews & BBQ

McHenry, IL

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

Winnie The Pooh Festival

White River, ON

The hometown of the famous children's-book bear celebrates with a block party, bounce houses, parades and fireworks.

White River is on the east side of Lake Superior, on the Trans-Canada Highway between Marathon and Wawa.

Sat
15

HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival

Kenosha, WI

This free festival is in the lakefront Celebration Place.

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. There's also a PastyParade.

Porchfest

Superior, WI

Forty musical acts will play on 10 historic porches, including Fairlawn, from noon to 6 p.m. There will also be storytellers, dance, theater, an art fair and food trucks.

Sun
16
-
Sat
15

Air & Water Show

Chicago, IL

The 61st annual free show features aerobatics, extreme flying and parachuting off North Avenue Beach.

Sun
23
-
Wed
19

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
23
-
Thu
20

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.

Sweet Corn Festival

Sun Prairie, WI

A Thursday-night parade kicks off this festival just north of Madison, and there's also a craft fair, car show, tractor pull, music, carnival rides and, on Saturday and Sunday, literally tons of steamed sweet corn.

Sat
22
-
Fri
21

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.

Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

Wausau, WI

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

Sun
23
-
Fri
21

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.

Edina Art Fair

Edina, MN

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

Art & Big Fork Festival

Evanston, IL

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

Sat
22

Soar on the Shore

Algoma, WI

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

Sun
30
-
Thu
27

Lakes Bluegrass Festival

Pine River, MN

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

Mon
7
-
Thu
27

Minnesota State Fair/Food Parade

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.

It's canceled in 2020, but a Food Parade will be held Aug. 20-23 and 27-30 and Sept. 3-7, $20 per vehicle.

Sat
29
-
Fri
28

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.

Sun
30
-
Fri
28

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.

It's canceled in 2020.

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.

Sat
29

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.

Sun
6
-
Sat
29

Chicago Jazz Festival

Chicago, IL

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