MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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July 2021  August 2021 September 2021
Sun
1
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Mon
26

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.

Sun
1
-
Thu
29

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.

Sun
1
-
Fri
30

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.

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.

Sat
7
-
Fri
30

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
8
-
Fri
30

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.

 

Sun
8
-
Tue
3

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
7
-
Wed
4

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
7
-
Thu
5

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.

WE Fest

Detroit Lakes, MN

Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line are among the headliners at this big country festival in west-central Minnesota.

Sun
8
-
Thu
5

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

Richmond, MN

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

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.

 

Mile of Music

Appleton, WI

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

Sun
15
-
Thu
5

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.

 

Fri
6

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
7
-
Fri
6

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.

Sun
8
-
Fri
6

Pufferbilly Days

Boone, IA

This festival in central Iowa, just west of Ames, is named for a steam engine and features a spike-driving contest, mud volleyball and rides on the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. A parade is Saturday.

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.

Tall Timber Days

Grand Rapids, MN

In this longtime logging town, there will be lumberjack shows, chainsaw carving, music and a parade Sunday.

Sun
8
-
Sat
7

DubuqueFest

Dubuque, IA

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

Thu
12

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
14
-
Thu
12

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.

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 Jefferson Starship, Foreigner, Toby Keith, Switchfood and Little Big Town. Thursday admission is free, and Friday-Saturday tickets are $20-$30. In addition to music, there will be an arts fair, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.

Sun
15
-
Thu
12

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
22
-
Thu
12

Iowa State Fair

Des Moines, IA

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

Sat
14
-
Fri
13

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tall Tales Music Festival

Burlington, WI

This free festival celebrates storytelling through music, with performances by national as well as regional musicians. In addition, workshops are offered for people of all ages.

Sun
15
-
Fri
13

Bayfront Blues Festival

Duluth, MN

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

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.

 

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.

Art & Big Fork Festival

Evanston, IL

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

Sat
14

Pure Water Days

Chippewa Falls, WI

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

Shawano Folk Music Festival

Shawano, WI

The free, family-friendly festival in this northwoods town includes dance, crafts, children's activities and instruction in Franklin Park.

IndiaFest

St. Paul, MN

On the State Capitol grounds, watch Bollywood dance and a parade of cultures, eat East Indian food, get your hands painted with henna and learn the principles of cricket and yoga.

Sun
22
-
Wed
18

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.

Sat
21
-
Thu
19

Blue Ox Music Festival

Eau Claire, WI

This family-friendly acoustic festival is near Eau Claire and features Charlie Parr, Shakey Graves, Lissie, Molly Tuttle, Sam Bush and others.

There's camping onsite.

Sun
22
-
Thu
19

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
21
-
Fri
20

Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

Wausau, WI

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

Grant Park Music Festival

Chicago, IL

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

This year, seating is at 25 percent capacity and still is free but must be reserved. Tickets will be available at 10 a.m. Mondays before the event.

Lake Geneva Blues Festival

Lake Geneva, WI

This first annual festival features local, regional and national performers on two stages at the House of Music festival grounds east of Lake Como.

Sun
22
-
Fri
20

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.

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.

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.

Michigan Full Moon Fest

Grand Junction, MI

There will be three days of blues music and camping in this village, 10 miles east of South Haven.

Sat
21

HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival

Kenosha, WI

This free festival is in the lakefront Celebration Place.

Soar on the Shore

Algoma, WI

Learn about kite-flying from professionals on Lake Michigan's Crescent Beach. There will be giant-kite and stunt shows and crafts and a candy drop for kids. 

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
29
-
Wed
25

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.

Sun
29
-
Thu
26

Orton-Front Festival

Madison, WI

The Marquette Waterfront and Orton Park festivals combine this year, with aerial dance and family entertainment in Orton Park and, in Yahara Place Park on Lake Monona, music on two stages and children's games.

Mon
6
-
Thu
26

Minnesota State Fair

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.

 

Sat
28
-
Fri
27

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.

HarborFest

Marquette, MI

This Lake Superior town celebrates with rock and blues music, a classic car and motorcycle show, a luge run and inflatables for kids.

Sun
29
-
Fri
27

Artstreet

Green Bay, WI

Artists, performers and craft and food stands fill streets downtown near the Fox River.

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.

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
28

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
29
-
Sat
28

Oneida Pow-Wow

Oneida, WI

This free family festival near Green Bay features dancing, singing, drumming, indigenous foods and crafts and lacrosse exhibitions.

In nearby De Pere, learn more about the band at the Oneida Nation Museum.

Grant's Home Front Reenactment

Galena, IL

In Ulysses S. Grant's hometown, living-history reenacters hold an encampment along the river and stage Civil War battle reenactments at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.