Festivals

  • Big apples

    In Bayfield, Wis., the apple has mushroomed. In 1961, the apple was the object of a small village festival. Today, it draws 60,000 people to a fall blowout featuring all things apple — fritters, sundaes, dumplings, pies and apple-cheeked children. On northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, Apple Festival is nearly as revered as motherhood.

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  • Waking the dragon

    For a long time, the people of Superior, Wis., observed mostly Scandinavian traditions. In China, the works of poet Qu Yuan inspired dragon-boat races, which are held worldwide and have been popular in Canada for many years.

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  • A feast of festivals

    As soon as rhubarb leaves unfurl and morels pop out of the ground, towns across the region begin their salutes to the local specialty.

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  • Floating on air

    If you've ever seen "The Wizard of Oz,'' you probably love hot-air balloons. They're great and powerful and definitely eye-filling. And they're coming to a festival near you.

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  • Great summer festivals

    When summer comes, there's no time to waste. Everyone is throwing a party, and you're invited.  Celebrating roots, a comprehensive list of ethnic festivals.

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  • Nordic nirvana

    First, an elf sashayed down the street. bunads, the traditional Norwegian folk costume, and two shaggy little boys wearing the long noses, beards and tails of trolls.

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  • Throwing a party

    When people in Wisconsin are happy, they throw things — and we’re not just talking confetti. Knickerbocker Ice Festival.

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  • 5 festivals that are out of this world

    We've got plenty of real heroes to celebrate in the Upper Midwest. There are festivals honoring writers Sinclair Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder and musicians Bix Beiderbecke and Bob Dylan. From fiction, we celebrate Heidi, Paul Bunyan and William Tell. But in some towns, an earthbound festival just doesn't cut it.

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  • Great spring festivals

    In the Upper Midwest, it's hard to know when spring starts. On St. Patrick's Day, revelers may parade in sun or sleet; you have to be prepared for both. In the north woods, ski slopes hold spring luaus, carnivals and egg hunts, and skiers had better slather on the sun block or they'll burn. March is the month for expos — antiques, autos, gardens, golf, pets and sports — and for tastings of beer, wine and cheese. Birding festivals start in April, and in May the flowers start popping out and festival season starts in earnest.

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  • Great winter festivals

    True northerners don't let cold weather keep them indoors, not when they could be out on the ice playing broomball and bowling turkeys.  Many festivals in winter are held on frozen lakes, the best place for kite-flying, ice golf and hot-air balloon lift-offs.  In parks, elaborate ice and snow sculptures entertain passersby. On rivers, buses take tourists to see bald eagles. Bonfires and hot chocolate are offered everywhere.

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  • Home of the eelpout

    On lazy summer days, Walker is a classic northwoods Minnesota town. The pace is slow, serene — unless a Crazy Day Sale falls on a cloudy day, in which case the resorts empty and shoppers crowd into the town of 1,100 like sheep to salt.

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