MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Heritage festivals 2021

March

  • (Mar. 18 – 21)St. Patrick's Day Festival

    Emmetsburg, IA

    In northwest Iowa, this is the state's Irish capital, and it celebrates with many festivities, including a parade at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.


May

  • (May 1 – 9)Tulip Time

    Holland, MI

    More than 6 million tulips bloom during this festival, which this year features a Dutch market, walking tours, tall-ship tours and a carnival.


  • (May 1 – 2)Maifest

    Amana, IA

    There's a lot going on in this former communal society in eastern Iowa — a 10 a.m. Saturday parade, polka music, keg-tapping, food-sampling, artisan demonstrations and pony rides.


  • (May 6 – 8)Pella Tulip Time

    Pella, IA

    This big Dutch heritage fest features daily historical tours, a craft market and afternoon and evening parades.


  • (May 13 – 15)Tulip Festival

    Orange City, IA

    The popular festival in this Dutch town in northwest Iowa celebrates its 81st anniversary with dance, music, street scrubbing and parades at 2:15 and 6 p.m. daily.


  • (May 14 – 16)Syttende Mai

    Stoughton, WI

    The festival in this town south of Madison, which celebrates Norwegian constitution day, is the largest in North America and probably the world. It features Norwegian dancing, Viking games, fjord horses, a canoe race, an arts fair and a big parade at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.


  • (May 14 – 16)Syttende Mai

    Spring Grove, MN

    In Minnesota, Norwegians settled first in this town in bluff country. There's Norwegian food, music and dance, and a big parade at noon Saturday.


  • (May 15)Syttende Mai

    Westby, WI

    This Norwegian town, southeast of La Crosse, holds a bicycle tour, troll hunt, rommegrot-eating contest, old-time music, children's tractor pull and a big parade.


  • (May 29 – 31)Fort Michilimackinac Pageant

    Mackinaw City, MI

    This free pageant at Colonial Michilimackinac features a cast of more than 400, re-enacting events that took place between the French, British and Indian tribes on June 2, 1763.

    There are also 18th-century fashion shows, voyageur contests, kids' games, a Saturday parade and fireworks.


June

  • (Jun 19)Midsummer Fest

    Coon Valley, WI

    This family festival at Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center, in the coulees near La Crosse, features the best of Scandinavian culture: food, music and crafts. For children, there will be a visit from the trolls by the bridge, fjord horses and a scavenger hunt.


  • (Jun 22 – 27)Swedish Days Festival

    Geneva, IL

    This Fox River town on the western edge of Chicago offers music and a carnival, car show, chocolate craw and Swedish cottage walk. 


July

  • (Jul 15 – 18)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.


  • (Jul 17 – 18)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 and pony rides.


  • (Jul 22 – 24)Nordic Fest

    Decorah, IA

    This friendly, authentic and very large festival of Scandinavian culture 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.


  • (Jul 23 – 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.'' 


  • (Jul 24)Native American Festival

    St. Ignace, MI

    This family-friendly festival at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture features drumming, dancing, singing, Ojibwa games, artisan workshops and Sunday mass in Ojibwa.

    It's rescheduled from Memorial Day weekend.


  • (Jul 29 – 31)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.


  • (Jul 30 – Aug 1)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.


  • (Jul 30 – Aug 1)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.


August

  • (Aug. 13 – 15)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.

     


  • (Aug. 20 – 22)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.


  • (Aug. 27 – 29)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.


September

  • (Sep. 12)Scandinavian Day

    South Elgin, IL

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


  • (Sep. 18)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.


  • (Sep. 24 – 26)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.


  • (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. 25 – 26)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.


October

  • (Oct. 9)Civil War Immersion Weekend at Norskedalen

    Coon Valley, WI

    This pioneer farmstead in the coulees southeast of La Crosse is wonderfully atmospheric, and the crackerjack re-enactors of the Second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry's Company B give the region's most affecting portrayal of war.


  • (Oct. 10)Harvest Fest

    New Glarus, WI

    See old-time artisanry at the Swiss Historical Village, including sausage-stuffing and cheese-making in the 1890s cheese factory.


November

  • (Nov. 19 – 21)Virtual Holiday Folk Fair International

    West Allis, WI

    More than 50 ethnic groups present music, dance, food and crafts from around the world. At the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center.

    This year, it will be online again.


December

  • (Dec. 4)Norwegian Christmas Weekend

    Decorah, IA

    In the northeast Iowa bluffs, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum will have Scandinavian food, theater, music, folk-art demonstrations, singing around the Jule tree and appearances by Julenisse and Julebukker.