MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
ornament
Calendar view | List view
ornament
August 2021  September 2021 October 2021
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.

 

Mon
6
-
Thu
2

Midwest Old Threshers Reunion

Mount Pleasant, IA

This gathering of steam engines and antique cars, trucks and tractors also features a horse pull, concerts, square dancing and a parade.

Sun
5
-
Fri
3

Marquette Area Blues Fest

Marquette, MI

Enjoy a weekend of music in Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior.

Mon
6
-
Fri
3

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion

Rollag, MN

Revel in the past during this show of antique machinery, which includes rides on trains and a carousel, square dancing, roving musicians and nightly jamborees.

 

Sat
4

Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw

Prairie du Sac, WI

There's chip-chucking contests in this Wisconsin River town, but also music, kids' games and an arts and crafts fair. 

Kites Over Lake Michigan

Two Rivers, WI

On Neshotah Beach, watch giant kites, precision stunt teams, a release of sky lanterns and fireworks. There will be live music Saturday night and free kite-making for kids on Saturday.

Sun
5
-
Sat
4

Taste of Madison

Madison, WI

This free benefit festival on Capitol Square includes 200 menu items from more than 80 restaurants, all priced at $1-$4. There's also music on three stages.

 

Fox Jazz Festival

Menasha, WI

This free Fox Cities jazz festival is in Jefferson Park, on the shores of Lake Winnebago.

Mon
6
-
Sat
4

Frankfort Fall Festival

Frankfort, IL

The festival in this southern suburb of Chicago features more than 300 artisans, music, a carnival and a parade Sunday.

Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival

Geneva, IL

Musicians and storytellers perform on eight stages at this festival in Island Park on the Fox River.

Marina Fest

Sister Bay, WI

In this Door County village, there will be a vintage boat show, craft fair,  kids' carnival, music and Saturday fireworks.

Sun
5

Bike the Drive

Chicago, IL

Along a 30-mile loop, ride car-free on Lake Shore Drive, with a post-ride festival in Grant Park.

Mon
6

Mackinac Bridge Walk

Mackinaw City, MI

Once a year, on Labor Day, people can walk across the five-mile span, the third-longest suspension bridge in the world.

 

Sun
12
-
Wed
8

Defeat of Jesse James Days

Northfield, MN

In this college town south of the Twin Cities, there's a fine-arts festival, tractor pulls, a bike tour, reenactments of the famous bank raid and a Sunday parade.

Sandwich Fair

Sandwich, IL

This northeast Illinois fair, held since 1888, features exhibits, entertainment and music plus harness racing, tractor pulls and demolition derbies.

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. 

Grand Rapids Riverfest

Grand Rapids, MN

This inaugural music festival downtown features Trampled by Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Brothers Burn Mountain and Charlie Parr.

Sun
12
-
Fri
10

James J. Hill Days

Wayzata, MN

This Minneapolis suburb features a street market and carnival; dachshund races, a craft-beer fest, logrolling and fireworks on Saturday; and a parade on Sunday.

Villa Louis Carriage Classic

Prairie du Chien, WI

The Victorian estate on the Mississippi River hosts horses, restored carriages and drivers in period dress for competitive arena and cross-country sport driving, a passion of the frontier aristocrats who built it.

Festival of the Vine

Geneva, IL

There's an arts and crafts show, flower market, music, wine tasting and sampling of food from local restaurants.

Paw Paw Wine & Harvest Festival

Paw Paw, MI

This big festival in southwest Michigan wine country features music on three stages, Friday fireworks, an art fair, motorcycle and bicycle tours, grape stomps and a Sunday parade.

Harvest Moon Festival

Ely, MN

In Whiteside Park, there's an arts fair plus music, an old-time medicine show and pony rides and a petting zoo for kids.

Classic Boat & Schooner Rendezvous

Bayfield, WI

Schooners and sloops will gather in this Lake Superior town. There will be activities for children, an open house at the Coast Guard station and a Saturday boat parade.

Sat
11

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days

Pepin, WI

The famous author's birthplace celebrates this year with a scaled-down festival this year at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, including traditional music and crafts, pie-eating and fiddling. 

Ethnic Fest

Walker, MN

Alphornists, Scandinavian dancers and Anishinaabe drum and dance corps perform in this town on the shores of Leech Lake. There's also a parade.

Washington County Bluegrass Festival

Lake Elmo, MN

Bluegrass bands will play at this family festival at Lake Elmo Park Reserve at the eastern edge of the Twin Cities, free with $7 vehicle permit. There also will be camping and food vendors.

Taste of the Trail

Lanesboro, MN

In Lanesboro, Whalan and Peterson on the Root River State Trail, enjoy music, wagon rides and free samples from local restaurants and growers. 

Events are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mural Fest

Ashland, WI

Go on guided tours of Ashland's famous murals, meet the artists and go on a mural scavenger hunt. There's also food, music, crafts and a car show.

Sputnikfest

Manitowoc, WI

Help celebrate the 1962 crash landing of a 20-pound piece of Russia's Sputnik on a street in Manitowoc. There's a wacky costume contest, a Miss Space Debris pageant, a pet costume contest, a space-themed movie and music.

Whooping Crane Festival

Princeton, WI

Celebrate the whooping-crane migration with voyageur canoe trips, a marketplace, crane trivia, children's activities and bird walks.

Radio Waves Music Festival

Grand Marais, MN

WTIP, North Shore Community Radio, hosts this outdoor fest of more than 25 local and regional music acts next to the municipal campground.

Monarch Festival

Minneapolis, MN

This festival at Lake Nokomis celebrates the monarch migration from Minnesota to Mexico and includes a costume parade, music, dance, art activities and monarch games.

Sun
12
-
Sat
11

Rock Bend Folk Festival

St. Peter, MN

This free, easygoing festival is in this Minnesota River town's Minnesota Square Park.

Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair

Little Falls, MN

This large fair, with nearly 600 artists, includes a car show and an antiques and collectibles section as well as a Man Cave.

Sun
12

St. Paul Classic Bike Tour

St. Paul, MN

Ride a 15-, 30- or 45-mile route along the Mississippi, lakes Como and Phalen and St. Paul parkways, starting and ending at the University of St. Thomas and punctuated by food and live music.

Scandinavian Day

South Elgin, IL

This festival in Vasa Park, along the Fox River, features music, dancing, food and crafts from the Nordic countries.

Sat
18
-
Wed
15

Pumpkin Festival

Morton, IL

This town near Peoria, home of the Libby's pumpkin-packing plant, calls itself the Pumpkin Capital of the World. The festival features pumpkin-boat races, pumpkin decorating, pie-eating contests, a craft fair, a pumpkin-pancake breakfast and a 10:30 a.m. Saturday parade.

Sat
18
-
Thu
16

Summerfest

Milwaukee, WI

They call this the world's largest music festival. More than 1,000 acts perform on 12 stages along Lake Michigan. 

Sat
18
-
Fri
17

Oktoberfest

Chippewa Falls, WI

Meet the Narren, enter a sauerkraut-eating contest, listen to polka and zydeco and watch the daily parade.

Unplugged music festival

Grand Marais, MN

The harbor-side North House Folk School celebrates with storytelling, traditional workshops, a fish boil and concerts by songwriter/musicians.

Twin Cities Jazz Festival

St. Paul, MN

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

Sun
19
-
Fri
17

Wo-Zha-Wa Days

Wisconsin Dells, WI

There's a juried arts and crafts show, a flea maraket, a street carnival and a parade Sunday.

World Food & Music Festival

Des Moines, IA

In downtown's East Village, eat at more than 50 cultural cafes for $5 or less (or taste for $1), shop at the world marketplace or listen to musicians strolling the streets or on stage.

This year, the festival has been altered; check for events.

Grape Stomp

Alexandria, MN

Carlos Creek Winery hosts this festival, which features music on two stages, an art fair, grape stomps and "I Love Lucy'' look-alike contests.

 

Riot Fest

Chicago, IL

This Douglas Park music festival also features a circus sideshow revue and carnival.

Wauktoberfest

Waunakee, WI

This town just north of Madison celebrates with a craft-beer tasting, bike tour, music and lots of contests: frau carrying, yodeling, beer keg race, dachshund dash and Limburger cheese and sauerkraut eating.

Gemuetlichkeit Days

Jefferson, WI

This festival between Madison and Milwaukee is named for the German word for a cozy and congenial atmosphere. It includes sauerkraut-eating, nail-driving, facial hair and costume contests, a vintage car show, music and a parade at noon Sunday.

Hot Air Balloon Days

Creston, IA

In this town southwest of Des Moines, there are balloon races and night glows, a parade with marching-band contest, an arts and crafts fair and a flea market.

Oktoberfestival

Duluth, MN

This festival on the bayfront features stein-holding, barrel-rolling and pretzel-tossing contests, a kids' zone and a dachshund derby on Sunday, plus German food and music. Admission is $20, $10 up to week of event, free for youths 15 and under.

Sat
18

Audubon Days

Mayville, WI

The festival in this town next to big Horicon Marsh features bed races, a car show, craft fair, bag tournament and music.

Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival

Hancock/Houghton, MI

The parade begins in Hancock and ends in Houghton at Dee Stadium, where there's a festival with music, dancing and food from around the world.

Taste of the Trail

Fountain/Preston/Harmony, MN

On the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail, sample local treats, listen to music, visit the National Trout Center, take wagon rides and play games.

 

Scarecrow Fest

Phelps, WI

See early fall color around this town in Nicolet National Forest. There's pumpkin-chucking, pumpkin and scarecrow contests, a craft fair, car show, hay rides and free chili and deep-fried pickles.

Party on the Pavement

Racine, WI

Racine's biggest street festival features stages of entertainment and a car show, art walk, carnival rides and zones for kids and sports.

Harvest Fest & Street Art Auction

Sturgeon Bay, WI

This street party includes a car show, cornhole and chalk-art contests, music and artisans and winds up with the auction of 25 artist-created cherries.

Museum Day

Every state

Smithsonian magazine and participating museums in every state offer free admission for two people. Tickets are available for download on the website.

Greenway Glow

Minneapolis, MN

Along the Midtown Greenway bike route in south Minneapolis, enjoy live music, art installations and theatrical performances from 4 to 10 p.m.

Squidfest

Granite Falls, MN

The inaugural festival in this Minnesota River Valley town features a 10:30 a.m. parade, a disc golf tournament, street performance, kids' activities, art and live music all day. There's also a Ribfest.

Sun
19
-
Sat
18

Wine & Harvest Festival

Cedarburg, WI

There's a pumpkin regatta — yes, people paddling hollowed-out pumpkins across Cedar Creek — at the fest in this historic mill town just north of Milwaukee. There's also a scarecrow contest, grape stomp, hay rides, juried arts fair and lots of food.

Vintage Illinois Wine Festival

Utica, IL

This festival in northwest Illinois features live music and wine-tasting from 25 Illinois vineyards.

 

World War II Days

Rockford, IL

Midway Village Museum hosts one of the largest World War II battle re-enactments in the nation, with more than 1,200 uniformed re-enactors and more than 60 vintage tanks and other armored vehicles.

Bacon Bash

River Falls, WI

There will be pig races, a pig-calling contest, pig crafts, an amateur bacon cook-off and many bacon dishes, including ice cream.

Art and Apples on the Lake

Excelsior, MN

On the shore of Lake Minnetonka, Art on the Lake combines with Apple Day, with an art fair, apple pie-eating contest, music and a street dance.

Sat
25
-
Thu
23

Boats and Bluegrass

Winona, MN

This family-oriented festival in Prairie Island Park, on the Mississippi River, features disc golf and paddling as well as music. A weekend pass includes camping and canoeing, and kids under 16 are free with an adult ticket. Buy tickets early to save money.

Sun
26
-
Thu
23

Oktoberfest

New Glarus, WI

There will be music, wagon rides, chainsaw carving, children's activities and, of course, beer from New Glarus Brewing.

Oktoberfest of Greater Racine

Franksville, WI

Lakefront Brewery hosts this free, family-friendly festival at Franksville Craft Beer Garden, featuring stein-hoisting and nail-driving contests, yard games, a pig roast, live music, bounce houses for the kids and two dozen craft beers on tap.

Sat
25
-
Fri
24

German Fest

Guttenberg, IA

There will be music, dancing, children's games and lock and dam tours in this antebellum town on the Mississippi River.

Fall Fest

Cable, WI

In the colorful northwest Wisconsin woods, there'll be hay rides, corn maze, a chili cook-off, fish boil, arts and crafts and fireworks.

Kalona Fall Festival

Kalona, IA

This Mennonite community just southwest of Iowa City, famous for its quilts, offers pony rides, a pumpkin-carving contest, demonstrations of Old World artisanry, music and homemade potato chips, apple fritters, ice cream and chicken, biscuits and gravy.

Oktoberfest

Des Moines, IA

Take polka-dancing lessons, enter the Bier Maiden or stein-holding contests and win costume prizes at this outdoor fest under tents downtown.

Octoberfest

Appleton, WI

This large downtown festival is more general civic celebration than German festival, with an arts and crafts show, car show and music on five stages.

Chicago Live Again!

Chicago, IL

More than 40 of Chicago's marquee attractions, including the Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera and Second City will provide free, outdoors non-stop entertainment at Navy Pier to celebrate the return of live performance to Chicago. 

On Saturday night, there will be a fireworks display to end the festival. 

Sun
26
-
Fri
24

Cornish Festival

Mineral Point, WI

In the old lead-mining district in southwest Wisconsin, play shove ha'penny in the Kiddleywink Pub, eat figgyhobbin and pasties, listen to tommyknocker tales and tour Cornish miners' cottages.

Apple Festival

Gays Mills, WI

There'll be arts and crafts and music in this southwest Wisconsin village. The big parade is Sunday.

Cranberry Festival

Warrens, WI

At this huge festival in west-central Wisconsin, there'll be marsh tours, pie-eating contests and more than 1,000 booths selling antiques, produce and arts and crafts. 

Milwaukee Oktoberfest

Milwaukee, WI

There will be dachshund racing, stein-hoisting and brat-eating competitions as well as music and dancing at the War Memorial on the lakefront.

Red Cliff Cultural Days

Bayfield, WI

At this Ojibwe community just north of Bayfield, there will be a mini-powwow, sailboat rides, canoe races, traditional games, music, fireworks and sky lanterns.

Harvest Fair

West Allis, WI

This free festival at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds features lumberjack shows, pumpkin bowling, scarecrow-making, kids' rides and entertainment on three stages.

Sat
25

Fall Festival

Hayward, WI

There's an arts and crafts fair, children's games, contests and live music downtown.

Taste of the Trail

Rushford/Houston, MN

On the Root River State Trail, sample local food, listen to music, tour a museum and visit the International Owl Center.

Beef-A-Rama

Minocqua, WI

In this northern Wisconsin lake-resort town, there's a Rump Roast Run, beef-eating contest and Parade of Beef.

Johnny Appleseed Festival

Crystal Lake, IL

In this northwest suburb of Chicago, there's pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin train and petting zoo, apple contests, music and a craft fair.

Sun
26
-
Sat
25

All-State Barn Tour in Iowa

Across the state, IA

It's the Iowa Barn Foundation's annual free, self-guided tour of restored historic barns.

Art Fair On 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.

Spirit of the St. Croix Art Festival

Hudson, WI

Music, food and a juried art show along the St. Croix River, in Lakefront Park.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Chicago, IL

Listen to non-stop music during this free festival at venues in and around Midway Plaisance, near the Museum of Science and Industry and Lake Michigan.

This year, the festival is virtual on Saturday, but on Sunday there will be live music on mobile stages in Hyde Park.

Fermentation Fest

Sauk City, WI

This fest in the scenic hills of southwest Wisconsin is not only about pickles and sourdough bread but also cheese, chocolate, beer and wine. There will be demos, tastings, music, art, dance and Scandinavian cow calling.

It's at Witwen Park & Campground, between Plain and Prairie du Sac.

Doors Open Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI

More than 150 historic buildings — theaters, breweries, mansions, cathedrals, hotels, museums — are open to the public, and many offer free guided tours.

More than three dozen in-depth walking tours also are offered but sell out quickly.

 

Latino Heritage Festival

Des Moines, IA

This festival at Western Gateway Park features Latino music, dancing, arts, cultural booths, children's activities and a corn-eating contest.

Sun
3
-
Thu
30

Oktoberfest

La Crosse, WI

At this big riverfront festival, there's food, music and carnival rides, plus the opening Torchlight Parade and the Maple Leaf Parade on Saturday morning.