Lakefront Fireworks | Photo by Geri Laehn
Elkhorn Antique Flea Market
May 16, June 27, Aug. 8, Sept. 26
Walworth County Fair Grounds, Highway 11, Elkhorn, www.nlpromotionsllc.com, 525-0820
throngs of Sunday treasure hunters as they sift through the wares of
more than 500 indoor and outdoor vendors at the 29th annual Elkhorn
Antique Flea Market.
Jazz in the Park
June 3-Sept. 23
Thursdays, 6:30-9 p.m.
Cathedral Square Park, 271-1416, www.easttown.com
weekly summer mainstay draws the Midwest’s finest jazz players. Bring
your own picnic treats, or sample food and wine from local vendors, and
enjoy cool jazz in the summer heat.
Verge Music Festival
Henry Maier Festival Park, www.vergemusicfestival.com.
inaugural Verge Music Festival kicks off summer with a lineup of
national and local acts. Brought to you by the same folks who put on
Summerfest, the new mini-fest offers advance two-day passes for $40.
Miller Lite Ride for the Arts
Downtown Milwaukee, 276-RIDE, www.millerliteride.com
on your bike helmet and support the United Performing Arts Fund at the
30th annual Ride for the Arts. Choose from a 5-, 12-, 25-, 65- or
75-mile-long ride that begins and ends at the Summerfest grounds.
Participants can enjoy food and entertainment at the finish line.
Scottish Fest / Milwaukee Highland Games
Hart Park, 422-9235, www.milwaukeescottishfest.com
Fest features a host of authentic entertainment from the Highlands,
including bagpipe, drum and dance performances. Grab a meat pie, don
your favorite kilt, and join the festivities in the Parade of Tartans.
Bead & Button Show
Midwest Airlines Center, 800-554-0197, www.beadandbuttonshow.com
At the “biggest bead show in the country,” patrons can choose from a menu of more than 480 classes at all skill levels.
Westown’s River Rhythms
June 9-Aug. 25
Wednesdays, 6:30-9 p.m.
Pere Marquette Park, 276-6696, www.westown.org
miss Milwaukee’s “fastest growing music festival” every Wednesday. This
year’s lineup promises a host of local acts guaranteed to make the rest
of your workweek a little easier to stomach.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 272-3378, www.pridefest.com
the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture and
community, this three-day event features local LGBT-friendly merchants
and food vendors, engaging performers and a pageant. Headlining a
stellar lineup of entertainment this year are Joan Rivers, Kathy
Griffin and Patti LaBelle.
Locust Street Festival
of Milwaukee’s long-running street parties kicks off with a Beer Run
past stages of live music, crafts, food and beer in Milwaukee’s hip
Riverwest neighborhood (from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.).
Lakefront Festival of Arts
Milwaukee Art Museum grounds, 224-3854, lfoa.mam.org
tents full of work from the area’s most talented artists in a variety
of media while sampling food from local vendors. Stick around for live
music performances before circling back to purchase that perfect piece
to complete your living space.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 273-3378, www.polishfest.org
three days of authentic food, folk art, traditional dance and music
performances. Dine on top-notch Polish sausages and other cultural
fare, then kick up your heels to a rousing rendition of “Roll Out the
Martin Luther King Drive between Burleigh and Center streets, 372-3770
in the festivities to commemorate the end of slavery at the annual
Juneteenth Day celebration on Martin Luther King Drive. This year’s
activities start off with a parade and end with a street fair complete
with food and live entertainment.
the longest day of the year with great bands on multiple stages from
noon-11 p.m. Past years have included BMX demonstrations, dodgeball and
other family activities on Milwaukee’s East Side.
June 24-July 4
Henry Maier Festival Park, 273-2680, www.summerfest.com
“world’s largest music festival” celebrates its 43rd anniversary in
2010 with local and national acts, as well as an overwhelming variety
of Milwaukee’s best food vendors.
Wisconsin State Fair Park, 800-884-FAIR, www.wistatefair.com
to this Greek extravaganza can expect cultural performances and top
traditional fare, including baklava and all the spicy lamb chops you
Historic Downer Avenue plays host to a Pro Criterium urban bike race. A
full day of activities includes a kids’ race and a Belgian Beer
Festival, plus live music and family entertainment.
Cedarburg Strawberry Festival
Downtown Historic Cedarburg, 888-894-4001, www.cedarburgfestivals.org
to live rock and bluegrass bands while you sample all things
strawberry, from schaum tortes to wine, and then stroll down Washington
Avenue for the art fair. Join in the Berry Big 5K run/walk on Saturday
morning, and on Sunday grab a seat for the annual outdoor Strawberry
Kletzsch Park, 228-1700, www.glendale-wi.org
community celebration packs three days with traditional street festival
fun, including live music, food and parades. Don’t miss the two nights
US Bank Fireworks
Veterans Park, 765-6500
City natives have made the US Bank Fireworks a must-see Independence
Day celebration. This year’s 60-minute pyrotechnic display promises a
colorful show to rival past years.
Wauwatosa Independence Day Parade
Downtown Wauwatosa, 479-8900
Fourth of July celebration would be complete without a parade?
Beginning at 9 a.m., Wauwatosa’s annual Independence Day celebration
showcases parade-and-fireworks festivities that have become a
East Town (Jefferson Street Cathedral Square), 271-1416, www.easttown.com
sure to mark Bastille Days on your summer schedule. Start things off
right by putting on your running shoes and storming the Bastille on
Thursday night at the 5K run/2K walk. Then relax and enjoy a weekend of
live Cajun, zydeco, jazz, blues, reggae, folk and rock performances.
Gathering on the Green
July 8 & 10
Mequon’s Rotary Park, 4000 W. Highland Road, 262-242-6187, www.gatheringonthegreen.org
year’s Gathering on the Green features two evenings of memorable
performances: Grammy-nominated jazz artist Tierney Sutton on Thursday,
and the Milwaukee Ballet and the Florentine Opera on Saturday.
South Shore Frolics
South Shore Park, 2900 S. Shore Drive, www.south-shore-frolics.com
View’s annual South Shore Frolics festival draws crowds from across
Milwaukee for nightly fireworks, a classic small-town parade on
Saturday morning and the South Shore Frolics Festival of the Arts on
Sunday, along with kid-friendly games and activities and, of course,
good food and live music.
Wheels & Heels
Rush on Festa
Henry Maier Festival Park, 384-4022, www.nsciasew.org
the National Spinal Cord Injury Association by joining the Wheels &
Heels Rush on Festa this year. The 5K run is followed by a walk and a
corporate chariot race.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 223-2808, www.festaitaliana.com
you’re Italian or you just wish you were, Festa Italiana will make you
gesture wildly and crave marinara. Check out nightly fireworks, rousing
games of bocce, cultural exhibits and authentic Italian cuisine.
Garfield Avenue Blues, Gospel & Arts Festival
Garfield Avenue, between Fourth and Seventh streets, 223-4444
lively street festival boasts tasty Southern fare, live entertainment
with blues and gospel performances by local and national acts, an
eclectic market and a host of kid-friendly street performers, including
face painting and magic acts.
Port Fish Day
Port Washington, www.portfishday.com
than 60,000 people are expected to flock to Port Washington for Fish
Day, the “World’s Largest One Day Outdoor Fish Fry.” Listen to live
music on a handful of stages, and don’t miss other Port Fish Day
activities such as the parade, craft fair and fireworks.
Historic Cedarburg’s German Festival
Cedar Creek Park, Cedarburg, www.cedarburgfestivals.org
free family event features traditional German food and drink, polka
dancing and kids’ activities in picturesque downtown Cedarburg, a
20-minute drive north of Milwaukee.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 464-9444, www.germanfest.com
largest German celebration in North America, Milwaukee’s German Fest
sports an array of entertainment and activities for the whole family.
Brady Street Festival
with a variety of local music and a fashion show featuring the wares of
Brady Street vendors, this annual festival includes delicious food from
award-winning Wisconsin cheese makers. Be sure to check out the art and
jewelry vendors as well.
St. John the Baptist Armenian Orthodox Church, 7825 W. Layton Ave., 282-1670, www.stjohnarmenianchurch.org
noon to 6 p.m., patrons can enjoy homemade Mediterranean dishes such as
shish-kabob and baklava. After treating yourself to some live music
from Near Eastern bands, head over to the culture booth to find out
more about one of human history’s longest surviving civilizations.
July 26-Aug. 1
Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, (920) 426-4800, www.airventure.org
to Oshkosh for an international gathering of 800,000-plus aviation
enthusiasts. Attend a workshop or catch a lecture from a notable flight
pro, then take a seat and look up at the daily Afternoon Air Show,
where top-flight performers dazzle onlookers with aerial acrobatics.
Wisconsin State Fair
Wisconsin State Fair Park, 1-(800) 884-FAIR, www.wistatefair.com
in its 159th year, the State Fair boasts 30 free stages featuring local
and national acts, a host of exhibits, and enough food and shopping to
keep you busy for days—11, to be exact. Did we mention there will be
Summer Sizzle: Historic Third Ward Jazz Festival
Historic Third Ward, 100 & 200 blocks of North Broadway, 273-1173, www.historicthirdward.org
by Milwaukee’s bustling Third Ward for its annual jazz festival. Visit
two stages boasting top jazz artists while you snack on food from local
vendors. Enjoy a marketplace loaded with arts, jewelry and other gifts
from area artists.
Westown’s River Flicks
Fridays, 7-11 p.m. Pere Marquette Park, 276-6696, www.westown.org
wants to spend a summer evening elbow to elbow in a dark theater,
shivering from the A/C, just to see the latest blockbuster? Every
Friday in August, ditch your planned trip to the local Cineplex and
grab your picnic blanket for an outdoor movie at Pere Marquette Park.
Morning Glory Fine Craft Fair
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 273-7206, www.wdcc.org
year’s craft fair features the work of more than 140 artists in
ceramics, glass, leather, wood, photography, jewelry, fiber, enamel,
handmade paper, metal and mixed media. Come to shop for handmade goods
or gather ideas to challenge your own crafting abilities.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 476-3378, www.irishfest.com
a pint and shop the marketplace featuring one of the largest gatherings
of Irish vendors in the world, check out the Celtic canine center
showcasing popular dog breeds in Ireland, join in a game of hurling or
a tug-of-war match, or listen to traditional Irish tunes and
contemporary music by Irish performers on more than a dozen stages.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a la Carte
Milwaukee County Zoo, 771-5500, www.milwaukeezoo.org
no better way to spend a summer day than working up an appetite while
watching animals from around the world and then participating in the
“Feast With the Beasts!” Check out the polar bear exhibit, then sample
the flavors of more than 25 area restaurants before strolling over to
one of six stages to catch live music performances by local favorites
and national acts.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 383-7066, www.mexicanfiesta.org
that we need an excuse to sip on margaritas and munch on Mexican food,
but Mexican Fiesta promises more than just three days of blissful
eating and drinking. From traditional dancing to live salsa, mariachi
and merengue music to interactive exhibits, this fiesta is a “must” on
any summer schedule.
Walk & Run for Wishes
Henry Maier Festival Park, (262) 781-4445, www.wisconsin.wish.org
summer long, you kept saying, “Today is the day I’m going to start
running.” Summer is almost over, but it’s not too late! Proceeds
benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin.
Henry Maier Festival Park, 771-7070
brave busy highways congested with weekend warriors scrambling to get
out of town? This Labor Day, ditch your plans for a road trip and stick
around for a free festival complete with a parade, great food from
local vendors, fun performances and music for all ages.
76th and State streets, Wauwatosa, www.tosafest.org
three-decade tradition is a community festival that draws crowds eager
for two stages of music, great food, lively performances and fun
activities for the whole family.
Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival
Riverside Park, Highway 33 and Indiana Avenue, West Bend, 1-(877) 271-6903, www.kmjazz.com
to the rolling hills of West Bend for an outdoor jazz festival. Enjoy
food with a Southern and international flair from area restaurants
while you browse handmade works from local artists in a variety of
Indian Summer Festival
Henry Maier Festival Park, 604-1000, www.indiansummer.org
to a traditional storyteller, watch a dance performance or game of
lacrosse, and sample authentic foods at this celebration of
American-Indian culture, past and present.
Sept. 10-12, 17-19, 24-26
Old Heidelberg Park, 462-9147, www.bavarianinnmilw.com
up your September by participating in a traditional Bavarian
Oktoberfest, complete with Schuhplattler dancers, German food and beer,
and live music each weekend after Labor Day.
Hidden River Art Festival
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, (262) 781-9470 www.hiddenriverartfestival.com
the fine talent of more than 80 Wisconsin artists at this three-day
juried art festival featuring painting, sculpture, photography,
jewelry, ceramics and fiber art. Enjoy interactive art activities and
delicious food and beverages.
Milwaukee River Challenge
Pere Marquette Park, 223-6901, www.milwaukeeriverchallenge.com
your back isn’t up to the challenge of rowing the 2.2-mile course, then
join the throngs of spectators along the RiverWalk and watch crew teams
race to the finish.
Cedarburg Wine & Harvest Festival
Historic Downtown Cedarburg, (262) 377-9620, www.cedarburgfestivals.org
the Wine & Harvest Festival, the streets of historic Cedarburg come
alive with crowds sampling food and wine as they enjoy family
activities and live music. Attendees can join the scarecrow-building
contest and listen to live rock, bluegrass and folk music.
AIDS Walk Wisconsin
Henry Maier Festival Park, 1-(800) 348-WALK, www.arcw.org
research to end AIDS by participating in this year’s AIDS Walk
Wisconsin. Walkers can choose between a 5- or 10-kilometer course, each
extending along Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront. Supporting people who
live with AIDS and enjoying the brisk fall air along Lake Michigan? Not
a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Wisconsin State Fair Park, 266-7000, www.wistatefair.com
autumn would be complete without a family hayride? Stop at State Fair
Park for a weekend of live music, fresh harvest food and
family-friendly entertainment. Don’t miss the World Beef Expo, held the
same weekend on park grounds, where you can learn about the differences
between different breeds of cattle and the science behind good beef.
Fine Furnishings& Fine Craft Shows
Harley-Davidson Museum, 908-6001, www.finefurnishingsshows.com
you are a homeowner looking to spruce up your drab living room, an art
collector, an interior designer or an architect, don’t miss this
fifth-annual event at the Garage in the Harley-Davidson Museum. Browse
handcrafted furniture, accessories and art made by North America’s
finest artists and craftsmen and craftswomen.
Milwaukee’s Lakefront Marathon
Veterans Park, 291-2647, www.milwaukeelakefrontmarathon.org
your motivation, running a marathon takes more than a little
preparation, so if you’re thinking of joining in the 30th annual
Lakefront Marathon… start stretching. The run starts at Grafton High
School and ends in Veterans Park.
Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital
Downtown Milwaukee / Henry Maier Festival Park, 266-1520, www.alsrun.com
Children’s Hospital while testing your endurance with the 8-kilometer
run, or enjoy a pleasant 5- or 3-mile walk. The event begins at 12th
and Wisconsin on Marquette University’s campus, and concludes at the
Henry Maier Festival Park. The finish-line celebration includes live
entertainment and relief for weary walkers and runners.
Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Nov. 18-Jan. 2
Downtown Milwaukee, 220-4700, www.milwaukeedowntown.com
your family or loved one for a stroll through Milwaukee’s Downtown area
this holiday season to enjoy roofline lighting, street-level
decorations and parks with animated light displays.
Holiday Folk Fair International
Wisconsin State Fair Park, 225-6225, www.folkfair.org
fair features the arts and crafts, music, performances and traditions
of more than 60 cultures from around the world. Stop by the World Café
to sample flavors from a multitude of different countries and regions,
peruse the International Bazaar for handmade gifts, and grab a seat at
the Music Pavilion or All Nations Theater for an eye-opening
Milwaukee Holiday Parade
Downtown Milwaukee, (262) 377-5935
more than 80 years, Milwaukeeans and families from surrounding
communities have packed thermoses of hot chocolate and put on hats and
mittens to watch the floats, bands, live animals and the man of the
hour—Santa himself—at the annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade.
Christmas in the Ward
Historic Third Ward, 273-1173, www.historicthirdward.org
Celebrate the holiday season in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Enjoy seeing live reindeer, shaking hands with Santa, watching the tree-lighting ceremony and, of course, shopping.
They used to call Milwaukee the “City of Festivals.” The tag line has changed, but the idea remains true. Milwaukee hosts Summerfest, billed as the world’s largest music festival, and a series of extravaganzas on the lakefront. Neighboring West Allis is home to the Wisconsin State Fair. Beyond that tier of events lies a rich eco-system of church fairs, summer concert series and ethnic festivals—more than enough events to keep everyone busy during the warm months of the year and well into winter.