MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Spring festivals 2020

March

  • (Mar. 13 – 14)St. Urho Days

    Menagha, MN

    This Finnish town near Park Rapids celebrates its grasshopper-skewering saint with a St. Urho look-alike contest and a parade, followed by barstool races, human foosball and Viking bowling.


  • (Mar. 14)St. Patrick's Day parade

    Milwaukee, WI

    The big parade starts at noon, starting at Third and Wisconsin downtown and followed by music, dancing and pipes and drums at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center.


  • (Mar. 14 – 15)St. Patrick's Day celebrations

    Around the region

    Here's our list of the best St. Pat's parades, pub crawls, dances and inns, with a few St. Urho's Day festivities thrown in for good measure.


  • (Mar. 14)St. Urho's Day

    Finland, MN

    This North Shore village near Tettegouche State Park celebrates the Finnish saint with a tug-of-war over the Baptism River and a parade, craft fair, music and children's games.


  • (Mar. 15)St. Patrick's Day parade

    Madison, WI

    The parade is at 1:30 p.m. and runs from Capitol Square.


  • (Mar. 16 – 21)St. Patrick's Day Parade and Irish Fest

    New London, WI

    This town west of Appleton becomes "New Dublin'' for the week, with festivities that include a big Grand Parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed with Irish music, food and marketplace under a heated big-top tent.


  • (Mar. 17)St. Patrick's Day parade

    St. Paul, MN

    In this traditionally Irish city, the noon parade runs along Fourth Street to Rice Park.


  • (Mar. 21 – 22)Soar With Eagles

    Wabasha, MN

    The National Eagle Center holds live-bird programs and nature presentations weekends in March, when bald eagles migrate northward along the Mississippi.


  • (Mar. 21)Celtic Fest

    Moorhead, MN

    This free festival at the Hjemkomst Center includes two entertainment stages, heritage programs, arts and crafts, interactive booths and Celtic food and treats.


  • (Mar. 28 – 29)Maple-syrup festivals

    Around the region

    At nature centers around the region, tour the sugarbush and learn how to tap trees and boil sap. Then, eat a pancake breakfast with real maple syrup.


April

  • (Apr. 1 – 4)Mission Creek Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    Dozens of musicians, artists and writers perform and read at downtown venues. On Friday evening, there's a literature crawl. 


  • (Apr. 2 – 9)Wisconsin Film Festival

    Madison, WI

    See 150 independent films from Wisconsin and around the world in seven theaters in and around State Street.


  • (Apr. 4)Maple Syrup Festival

    Poynette, WI

    The MacKenzie Environmental Center, between the Wisconsin Dells and Madison, offers a pancake breakfast, guided tours of the sugarbush, demonstrations of tapping and syrup-making, intrepretive talks about how Indians and pioneers made syrup, old-time music and horse-drawn wagon rides.


  • (Apr. 4 – 5)World War I Encampment

    Rockford, IL

    At Midway Village, more than 225 re-enactors portray soldiers and civilians from the United States and Europe and stage narrated battles.


  • (Apr. 9 – 25)Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    More than 350 films from more than 60 countries are shown at St. Anthony Main Theatre on the Minneapolis riverfront and at other venues.

    It's postponed in 2020.


  • (Apr. 11)Egg Day

    Milwaukee, WI

    There will be crafts, face-painting, bubble art and treats at the Hop-to-it Bunny Hunt, plus a parade at the Milwaukee County Zoo.


  • (Apr. 11)Easter Egg Hunt

    St. Paul, MN

    Children ages 2-7 can hunt for eggs on the lawn of the James J. Hill House on Summit Avenue. Visitors can win prizes, get a small snack and look around the first floor of the mansion. Reserve in advance.


  • (Apr. 17 – 19)Roots and Bluegrass Festival

    River Falls, WI

    Hear music at half a dozen venues in the downtown of this western Wisconsin college town.


  • (Apr. 17 – 19)U.S. Grant's Birthday

    Galena, IL

    The former home of the Civil War general and president celebrates his 198th birthday with free admission to the Grant Museum, Main Street walking tours with Gen. Grant, a pie auction, a spy trial and cake.


  • (Apr. 19)Traverse City Chocolate Festival

    Traverse City, MI

    Sample wares of the region's finest chocolatiers, listen to music and shop for sweets.


  • (Apr. 24 – 26)Spring Outdoor Adventure Expo

    Minneapolis, MN

    A spring kickoff for outdoor enthusiasts, with presentations on outdoor adventures and destinations and a gear sale and auction of used canoes and kayaks.

    It's postponed in 2020.


  • (Apr. 24 – 26)Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine and Cheese Festival

    La Crosse, WI

    Sample cheese and more than 200 beers and 45 wines at the Oktoberfest grounds Saturday.

    There's also a Toaster's Eve on Friday and a Bacon Bloody Brunch on Sunday.


  • (Apr. 24 – 26)Behind the Arts Studio Tour

    Racine and Kenosha, WI

    Visit more than 85 artists at 45 studios, in Racine on Saturday and in Kenosha on Sunday. On Friday evening, there's a Preview Party.


  • (Apr. 24 – 26)St. Paul Art Crawl

    St. Paul, MN

    Tour the studios of more than 300 artists in 17 buildings in the Lowertown and downtown neighborhoods.

     


  • (Apr. 25)Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival

    Kenosha, WI

    There's cheese and beer from around the state plus live music at the Brat Stop.


  • (Apr. 25)Taylor County Maple Fest

    Medford, WI

    This festival at the fairgrounds features maple syrup in a breakfast, a baking contest, a cooking demonstration and crafts plus music, children's activities and door prizes.


  • (Apr. 25)Earth Day Birding Festival

    Hastings, MN

    Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this festival at Carpenter Nature Center includes bird-banding demonstrations, a raptor class and guided birding trips. Reservations are required.


  • (Apr. 30 – May 3)Festival of Nations

    St. Paul, MN

    Enjoy food, music, crafts and dance from 90 different ethnic groups at the downtown RiverCentre.


May

  • (May 1 – 3)Kettle River Paddle Festival

    Sandstone, MN

    Watch a kayak whitewater rodeo, take a paddling clinic, make your own paddle or join a group float. There's hiking and rock-climbing, too. In Sandstone's Robinson Park and Banning State Park.

     


  • (May 1 – 2)Midwest Music Fest

    Winona, MN

    Dozens of musical groups in all genres play in museums, galleries, cafes and arts centers across town. There are arts workshops for children, too.


  • (May 2)Kids & Kites Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This festival on Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park includes free kite kits for kids, games and a candy drop from kites.


  • (May 2)Cinco de Mayo

    St. Paul, MN

    This fiesta on the West Side (just south of downtown) features a parade, low-rider car show and lots of food, music and dancing.

    The festival is virtual this year -- watch it online.


  • (May 7 – 11)Horicon Marsh Bird Festival

    Horicon, WI

    This large festival in east-central Wisconsin is around a large marsh often called the Everglades of the North. There are bird hikes, bird-banding demonstrations, pontoon-boat tours, canoe and kayak tours, bus tours and a round-the-clock Big Sit, in which participants try to identify as many birds as possible. Register early for field trips.


  • (May 9)Cinco de Mayo

    Darlington, WI

    This southwest Wisconsin town celebrates with mariachi music, a salsa contest, a soccer tournament and children's activities.


  • (May 9)Wordplay Book Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    The Loft Literary Center hosts this family-friendly festival, featuring dozens of authors.


  • (May 14 – 16)Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival

    Ashland, WI

    Based out of the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center, activities include bird-banding, hikes and expeditions, hatchery tours and kayaking tours of estuaries.

    Canceled in 2020.


  • (May 14 – 17)National Morel Mushroom Festival

    Boyne City, MI

    This town on the east end of Lake Charlevoix is all about morels in May, with a guided mushroom hunt, a competition with prizes, drawings for free morels and The Taste of Morels, with morsels provided by local restaurants.


  • (May 15 – 17)Art-A-Whirl Studio and Gallery Tour

    Minneapolis, MN

    More than 500 artists take part in this tour of 60 locations in the northeast Minneapolis arts district.

    In 2020, the festival is online.


  • (May 16 – 17)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 at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.


  • (May 16 – 17)Civil War Living History Festival

    Milton, WI

    In this town near Janesville, this free festival is at the Milton House Museum, once a stop on the Underground Railroad. It features an encampment of soldiers, military drills, cannon firing and an historic walking tour. Sign up in advance for living-history tours of the hotel, where guests will go back to 1861 and meet a freedom-seeker hidden in the cellar.