MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Summer festivals 2019

May

  • (May 24 – 27)Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival

    Oak Forest, IL

    In this south Chicago suburb, there's music on five stages, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests.


June

  • (Jun 2)Ride the Drive

    Madison, WI

    Ride, walk or skate a car-free, four-mile route along Lake Monona to stops in three parks, with activities, food and music.


  • (Jun 7 – 9)2 Rivers Wine & Jazz Festival

    Ottawa, IL

    The festival in this town on the Fox and Illinois rivers features wine from 25 Illinois vineyards and jazz and blues in Washington Park.


  • (Jun 13 – 16)Rose Festival

    State Center, IA

    This town east of Ames calls itself Iowa's rose capital, and it celebrates with garden tours, children's games, a truck and tractor pull, music, fireworks and a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.


  • (Jun 15 – 16)Custer Fair

    Evanston, IL

    This big fair in the Custer Avenue-Main Street shopping district features 250 artists, 50 variety performers, a medicine show, powwow dancing, children's activities and music on two stages.


  • (Jun 22)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 – 23)Spring Iowa Barn Tour

    Western, IA

    This tour of historic barns concentrates on barns in western Iowa, each with a story.

    There's also a picnic on Saturday.


  • (Jun 29)Shake the Lake

    Madison, WI

    This pre-Fourth festival on the shores of Lake Monona includes live bands, a human cannonball, a roller-derby exhibition, kids' activities and fireworks.


July

  • (Jul 3 – 7)Petunia Festival

    Dixon, IL

    This festival in the Hometown of Ronald Reagan features music, a carnival, fireworks and a parade.


  • (Jul 4)Red White and Boom

    Minneapolis, MN

    There's a half-marathon, relay and 5K in the morning, and music and family activities from 6 to 10 p.m., followed by fireworks.

    Festivities are along the riverfront across from downtown.

     


  • (Jul 5 – 7)Blues Festival

    Thunder Bay, ON

    This festival has a scenic location in Marina Park, on the Lake Superior waterfront.


  • (Jul 5 – 6)Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

    Davenport, IA

    In LeClaire Park on the river, blues musicians celebrate the music that traveled up the Mississippi. 


  • (Jul 12 – 14)Wild Rice Festival

    Deer River, MN

    This northern town near Grand Rapids offers a powwow Friday, wild-rice lunch, bike rodeo, sawdust scramble, singing competition and fireworks Saturday and a parade Sunday.


  • (Jul 12 – 14)Windmill City Festival

    Batavia, IL

    There's a carnival, pet parade, ice-cream eating contest and live bands in the town on the Fox River.


  • (Jul 16 – 21)St. Croix RiverFest

    Hudson, WI

    This town on the St. Croix River celebrates with a concert, hike, cruise, kids' fishing derby, Native American celebration and Civil War encampment and ice cream social at the Octagon House.


  • (Jul 17 – 21)Water Days

    New London, MN

    In this lakes town near Sibley State Park, there's a water-ski show, parade, kids' fishing derby and fireworks.


  • (Jul 18 – 21)Sinclair Lewis Days

    Sauk Centre, MN

    The hometown of the Nobel Prize-winning author celebrates with turtle races, bicycle stunts, Friday fireworks, a craft fair, music and a parade Saturday.


  • (Jul 25 – 28)Sweet Corn Days

    Elkader, IA

    In addition to free sweet corn, there will be Friday fireworks, a doughnut-hole eating contest, a kiddie tractor pull, carnival rides and a parade Saturday.


  • (Jul 26 – 28)Waterama

    Glenwood, MN

    This festival on the shores of Lake Minnewaska is famous for its lighted pontoon parade on Saturday, followed by fireworks. On Sunday, there's a parade on land, followed by a water-ski show.


  • (Jul 27)Cardboard Cup Regatta

    Crystal Lake, IL

    Watch or enter the cardboard-boat races on Main Beach, where prizes are awarded in many categories.


  • (Jul 27 – 28)Wenonga Days

    Battle Lake, MN

    The festival in this lake-resort town near Glendalough State Park features walking tours, human foosball, turtle races, Civil War reenactors, a water-ski show and a parade at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by a street dance and fireworks.

     

     


August

  • (Aug. 1 – 4)Riverfest

    Ottawa, IL

    At the confluence of the Fox River with the Illinois, there's a carnival, paddleboat races, Art in the Park, Taste of Ottawa, live bands and a parade on the last day.


  • (Aug. 10)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.


  • (Aug. 16 – 18)Festival on the Bay

    Petoskey, MI

    In this Lake Michigan town, there will be kayak and canoe rides, a petting zoo, art fair, live music, cardboard-boat race, cornhole tournament and firefighter water-ball competition.


September

  • (Sep. 1 – 2)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.


  • (Sep. 1)Team of Dreams

    Dyersville, IA

    At the "Field of Dreams'' movie site, Ghost Players emerge from the corn to entertain and play in a celebrity softball game. Afterward, the movie is shown in the outfield where it was filmed.