MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Fall festivals 2021

July

  • (Jul 23 – 24)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.


August

  • (Aug. 13 – 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.


September

  • (Sep. 8 – 12)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.


  • (Sep. 10 – 12)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.


  • (Sep. 10 – 12)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.


  • (Sep. 10 – 12)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.


  • (Sep. 10 – 12)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.


  • (Sep. 11 – 12)Laura Ingalls Wilder Days

    Pepin, WI

    The famous author's birthplace  celebrates with kids' pioneer games, a spelling bee and traditional music and crafts; pie-eating, fiddle and Laura contests; and a Sunday parade.


  • (Sep. 11 – 12)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.


  • (Sep. 17 – 18)Oktoberfest

    Chippewa Falls, WI

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


  • (Sep. 17 – 19)Cheese Days

    Monroe, WI

    This festival is held every other year in the capital of cheese country, the home of Swiss Colony and the last Limburger factory. There's a cow-milking contest, yodeling, dancing, tours and a big parade Sunday.


  • (Sep. 17 – 19)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.


  • (Sep. 17 – 19)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.


  • (Sep. 18 – 19)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.


  • (Sep. 18)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.


  • (Sep. 24 – 26)Apple Festival

    Gays Mills, WI

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


  • (Sep. 24 – 25)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.


  • (Sep. 24 – 26)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. The big parade is at 1 p.m. Sunday.


  • (Sep. 25)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.


  • (Sep. 30 – Oct 3)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.


October

  • (Oct. 2 – 3)Big Island Rendezvous and Festival

    Albert Lea, MN

    This southern Minnesota festival is great for families, with a voyageur encampment of more than 1,000 reenactors dancing, demonstrating, competing and pulling visitors back into the fur-trade era.


  • (Oct. 2 – 3)Oktoberfest

    Cedarburg, WI

    This festival just north of Milwaukee features music and food plus goofy contests: best lederhosen/dirndl, sauerkraut-eating, a German spelling bee and a live Glockenspiel show.


  • (Oct. 2 – 3)Giant Pumpkin Fest

    Nekoosa, WI

    This town near Wisconsin Rapids calls itself the Giant Pumpkin Capital of Wisconsin and features a pumpkin-pie eating contest, pumpkin rolling and carving, a carnival and craft show.


  • (Oct. 2)Oktoberfest

    Galena, IL

    The Lions Club puts on this riverfront festival, which includes wiener-dog races, polka lessons, nail-driving, pumpkin-decorating and a beanbag tournament.


  • (Oct. 2 – 3)Olde English Faire/Autumn on Parade

    Oregon, IL

    This festival at Stronghold Conference Center features swordfighters, minstrels, magicians and the Gremlin's Garden for children.

    In town, more strolling performers appear at the Autumn on Parade Festival, and the Harvest Time Parade is on Sunday.


  • (Oct. 2 – 3)Rivertown Fall Art Festival

    Stillwater, MN

    This juried arts festival along the banks of the St. Croix River includes music and food vendors.


  • (Oct. 2 – 3)Cranberry Fest

    Eagle River, WI

    In this northeast Wisconsin lakes town, there will be marsh tours, music, a cranberry beer and wine garden, an antiques market, fiber-art show and crafts fair.


  • (Oct. 8 – 10)Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour

    Decorah area, IA

    Drive through bluff country to see 56 artists at 43 sites around Decorah, Burr Oak, St. Lucas, Waukon, West Union, Cresco, New Albin, Lansing, Elgin and Clermont.


  • (Oct. 9 – 10)Galena Country Fair

    Galena, IL

    There's a juried fine arts/arts and crafts fair, farmers market, wine garden, bake shop, music and children's games in Grant Park.


  • (Oct. 9 – 10)Burgoo Festival

    Utica, IL

    The street party in this northern Illinois town, gateway to Starved Rock State Park, features vats of "pioneer'' stew, a crafts fair and music.


  • (Oct. 9 – 10)Shadows of the Blue and Gray

    Princeton, IL

    This Civil War festival off I-80, half an hour west of Starved Rock State Park, includes battle re-enactments both days.

    There will also be a Grand Entrance parade with the Lincolns, a Lincoln look-alike contest, medical scenarios and period music and dance.


  • (Oct. 15 – 17)Fall Festival

    Sister Bay, WI

    This Door County festival features pumpkin bowling, chainsaw carving, a pingpong-ball drop and a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday.


  • (Oct. 15 – 17)Southwest Wisconsin Fall Art Tour

    Southwest, WI

    This popular studio tour includes artists at studios between Mineral Point, Spring Green, Dodgeville and Baraboo.


  • (Oct. 16)Family Fall Fest

    Madeline Island, WI

    On the largest of the Apostle Islands, there will be a vintage-car show, cider- and soap-making, pumpkin decorating, a pie-eating contest, street vendors and a kids' costume parade.


  • (Oct. 29 – 31)Jack O'Lantern Days

    Fish Creek, WI

    There will be mask making, pumpkin carving, trick or treating and haunted trolley tours.


November

  • (Nov. 3 – 6)Big Water Film Festival

    Ashland, WI

    See a variety of shorts, full-length films and documentaries at the Bay Theater downtown.


  • (Nov. 12 – 13)Gales of November

    Duluth, MN

    Listen to experts discuss Lake Superior shipwrecks and maritime history and join tours of the aquarium and Coast Guard Center.


  • (Nov. 13 – 14)Winter Art Fair Off the Square

    Madison, WI

    Art Fair Off the Square presents its winter edition in Monona Terrace, with 140 fine artists from around Wisconsin.